Friday, July 29, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: The Lion King (1994)

A young lion prince is born in Africa, thus making his uncle Scar the second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. The King is killed and Simba is led to believe by Scar that it was his fault, and so flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile he is persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own thus completing the "Circle of Life". [imdb]
"Bambi in Africa meets Hamlet." It's hard to believe now that no one really wanted to work on this project when it was first introduced, but it's true. While most of the main Disney animators were working on production of Pocahontas, others were working on the "B Film": a little moive about a lion.

Originally meant to be an animated version of their live-action nature films, The Lion King became one of Disney's biggest hits.  Once they gained a bit of direction and brought on Elton John and Tim Rice to write the music, the story started to fall right into place.  Many of the people working on the film stated that it would either be a giant hit or a giant failure... I'd have to say it was a hit.  A massive hit that led to sequels, spin-offs, merchandise, and a Broadway stage show.

There's a wealth of special features on the 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD set, but I have to admit that I am a bit upset this came on my Disn-A-Thon 2011 a few months before the new blu-ray edition will be released.  I will watch it again once that arrives, and I look forward to any new special features included.  That being said, I really enjoyed the three(3) different ways to go about the immersion of special features.  It got a tad confusing at times, mostly just in wondering if I missed anything, but there was a lot to plow through.

There are also a couple different versions of the movie: one with an added song (which I detest) and the original theatrical cut.  Have I mentioned that I detest the added song.  I was initially planning to state that it was the "low point" of the movie, and then I remembered that it wasn't even in the original version.  Thank heavens for that.  They couldn't even get the singing voice of Simba to remotely match the speaking voice.  I'd have to say that was the worst vocal matching Disney's ever done.

Anyways, there's a commentary track to the original cut, and you all know how much I love commentaries!

Well, I really can't think of anything else to add about this one except that I'd suggest holding off on buying this one until the blu-ray comes out (along with a new DVD edition, I'm sure)... and there's also a huge multi-disc set, which also includes the two(2) sequels (also on both blu-ray and DVD) which I only wish I had the money to spend on.


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