The Lion King (1994)
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The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. It was released on June 15, 1994 for limited theatres before giving to wide release on June 24, 1994.
This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba, the heir of his father, Mufasa. Simba's wicked uncle, Scar, plots to usurp Mufasa's throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon and Pumbaa.
Why It Rocks
- Beautiful visuals and animation. Arguably the #1 best-looking traditionally animated movie of ALL TIME.
- The movie features talented voice actors, and they all put in a great performance. Even the usually unemotive Matthew Broderick puts in a great performance as Simba.
- Catchy songs that stay true to the African culture such as "Circle of Life", "Be Prepared", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", and especially "Hakuna Matata".
- The film intelligently uses pathos and never gets corny.
- Interesting and well-developed characters the likes of Mufasa and the comic relievers Timon and Pumbaa. Also, Rafiki, Zazu, and especially Scar that is a convincing villain.
- Mufasa's death is a very emotional scene, despite the film was rated G.
- A simple and well-executed story with pretty decent humor makes this movie enjoyable by adults and children alike.
- The film is often stated to be one of Disney's most realistic stories put on film (minus the talking animals), and with its strong life messages about facing your troubled past and responsibility, it's hard to dispute that claim.
- Critics have often stated that the movie's Disney's take on Shakespeare's Hamlet but with animals, but yet Disney's able to pull a unique take on the story so it unique in a way.
- Amazing musical score by Hans Zimmer.
- Timon and Pumbaa are the most favorite by fans, especially in their spin-off series and 2004 movie and other Disney franchise.
- Amazing final battle involving Simba being battle against Scar.
- Simba is always a likable protagonist.
- Scar's delivery of his line "Long live the king!" is menancing and scary.
- Rowan Atkinson's voice for Zazu is spot-on and makes him sound very British.
Warning: Do not put any points among the lines of having any similarities to Kimba the White Lion as a bad quality in this section, it was debunked.
- The hyenas can be somewhat annoying, while Zazu can be a bit snooty and annoyingly strict at times. Also, the film features some gross-out humor, particularly in some scenes where Pumbaa has gas.
- Plot hole: How does Scar becoming king somehow affect the weather? Throughout Scar’s multi-year reign over the Pride Lands there still should have been some rain going on keep the crops healthy, and rain suddenly poured on the land after Simba defeats Scar and he becomes king. This doesn't make much sense.
- While Matthew Broderick's performance as Simba is great, a few of his deliveries sound off.
- The plot can be a bit predictable.
- This may have been unintentional, but parts of the story may be interpreted as xenophobic with a "make the pride land great again" message and "people beyond your borders will destroy your homeland".
The Lion King received universal acclaim by critics and audiences who praised the film for its music, story, themes, and animation and is considered to be one of the most successful full-length animated movies in the world. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 93%, based on 128 reviews, with an average rating of 8.39/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King stands tall within Disney's pantheon of classic family films.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 88 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare "A+" grade on an A+ to F scale.
- The Lion King was animated by newly hired animators, and had a high belief among a majority of Disney's top animators (who opted to animate Pocahontas) that the movie would fail at the box office.
- Ironically, the movie would be Disney's top animated hit and the biggest animated movie of all time.
- Development of The Lion King began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider while promoting Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas M. Disch wrote a film treatment, and Woolverton developed the first scripts, while George Scribner was signed on as director, being later joined by Allers.
- Computer animation was also used in several scenes, most notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.