Anthony's Film Review
The Lion King (1994)
The memorable story, characters, and music make this animated feature one of Disney's best...
There is no doubt in my mind that The Lion King deserves to be in any list of high-quality, classic Disney animated films. It's fun, humorous, and exciting, not to mention somewhat dark at times. It's what you look for in a great animated feature from Disney (or any other movie for that matter). My one regret is that I didn't see this in theaters back in 1994. Instead, I saw it on home video years later. That's not to say the small-screen experience wasn't great. On the contrary, it was fantastic.
The easiest way for me to describe the greatness of The Lion King is to focus on one element at a time. For example, let's begin with the characters and their setting. This is another one of those movies featuring talking animals. The animals here are the various inhabitants of the African wilderness. They include the lion Mustafa (James Earl Jones), his son Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas as young Simba and Matthew Broderick as grown-up Simba), an evil lion named Scar (Jeremy Irons), a monkey named Rafiki, a meerkat named Timon, and a warthog named Pumbaa. All of these characters, part of what is called the Circle of Life, are all memorable on the screen.
Now here's the story. Mustafa is the current lion king and Simba is to be his successor. However, Mustafa falls to his death as Simba watches. This actually occurs because of Scar, the evil lion who wants to be king himself. But Scar makes Simba feel guilty as if it's his fault and Scar had nothing to do with it. Over the years, Simba spends time in exile. That is when he is called back and reminded of his destiny.
As for the music, The Lion King is definitely an animated musical. The one musician who deserves first mention is Elton John, whose songs titled "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" are perfect additions to the movie's soundtrack. There are plenty of other great songs, including "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" when Simba dreams about taking his father's place and "Be Prepared" when Scar thinks about his desire for power.
When you put all of these elements together, the result is a movie that truly appeals to emotion. It's equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, which is something adults would like, and it's cute and fun for everyone, especially the kids. The first time I saw it, I was engrossed in every single second of it, and I applauded when it was all over. That should be enough to tell you that The Lion King is a worthwhile film and a true Disney classic.
For more information about The Lion King, visit the Internet Movie Database.