THE LION KING


1994

DIRECTOR: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

May Contain Spoilers!

Considered to be one of the greatest of the Disney Classics, The Lion King certainly warrants its reputation. There’s not much to say about this film which most of you will  not already know, so if you haven’t seen it, see it and if you have, then you’ve already got an opinion on it and I’ll bet it’s a pretty positive one at that.

A simple story of the Circle of life, A young lion cub, Simba (Matthew Broderick) is born to the King, Mustafa (James Earl Jones) and as the impetuous youth grows, he learns a hard lesson as his father is betrayed by his weaker and conniving brother, Scar (Jeremy Irons) and is left dead in the now famous and groundbreaking in animation terms, stampede sequence.

Simba is then tricked into running away by Scar who assumes the throne and forges a pact with the Hyenas lead by Whoopi Goldberg, an alliance which leaves the once lush and vital land in ruin, until the return of the righteous king, Simba. Upon his return, Scar is defeated and the circle of life is fulfilled as Simba has his own lion cub, completing the circle.

The Circle Of life is the first song to feature and like all the songs, they are mostly memorable and well-integrated into the plot, but it has become accepted that Elton John and his long time songwriter, Tim Rice scored the film. This is very wrong. Back in 1994, Hans Zimmer was given the gig and composed a beautiful, African inspired score, moving, dramatic and soulful throughout and it is this as much as the songs with drive this beautifully animated and well paced film.

This is one of the best that Disney has to offer, even though it was written by committee, it’s hard to tell, and even though not my all time favourite, it’s still one of note. The colours and defined, the action is clear and the story is well-conceived to allow the short 88 minute screenplay to feel vast and bold, epic in tone whilst simple and easily accessible for all.

I think that I would be right is saying that this was Disney’s last great animated classic before Toy Story (1995) would redefine the animation genre in 1995 and as such, what a high to complete this chapter of film history on. And it stands as a testament that even after 18 years, this is held is in the same esteem as the original classics, such as Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Fantasia (1940).


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