📽️ Disney Time – The Lion King

List Item:  Watch The Disney Animated Canon
Progress: 32/58Title: The Lion King
Year: 1994

It’s weirdly fitting that today I would be posting the latest entry in my Disney challenge on the same day as the list gains a new entry: Frozen 2. It would have probably been more fitting if I had posted this around the time the CGI-remake of The Lion King was released… but I’ve been trying to forget that’s even a thing.

Now, going into this list – I was so adamant that Beauty and The Beast was my favourite Disney movie hands down and The Lion King placed second, but there was an almost clear division between the two. Now that I have re-watched both in quick succession, I must say that whilst this ranking remains intact, it’s a lot closer than I realised.

To be fair though, this is probably the first time that I have seen The Lion King in years and years and this might be one of those rare films that gives two completely different views depending on whether you’re an adult or a child. For example, child me would have never gotten the Nazi connotations from the whole ‘Be Prepared’ section or the sex eyes that Nala gives during ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’.

Since I brought up the musical sequence, let’s talk about the music as a whole. Firstly, there are few films out there that have a better opening sequence than the whole ‘Circle of Life’ piece. Maybe the montage in Up, but for drastically different reasons. From then on, the score and the songs are up there with some of the best in the history of cinema. Hans Zimmer’s score gives such emotional weight to the movie as a whole, but gives real goosebump moments to scenes related to the father-son relationship between Mufasa and Simba.

You also have to give huge credit to Elton John and Tim Rice for the sheer variety in the songs that have gone on to become classics. ‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘Circle of Life’ are both extreme high points (and, for me, should have won the Oscar over ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’), which both also help to showcase the results of all the research into different animal movements that the animators made.

It’s hard to believe, when watching this, that initially The Lion King was seen as the B-team movie compared to Pocahontas which received the A-team. I mean, given the two initial outlines it is probably easy to see why they figured the story of Pocahontas would end up doing better at the box office – especially when the last talking animal protagonists are from The Rescuers Down Under and Oliver & CompanyIn the end though they managed to spin cinematic history and as for Pocahontas… I guess that’s for next time.

So that’s it, the end of Disney’s Big Four and the decline towards the tail-end of the Disney Renaissance. There are still some great films on the horizon (like Zootopia and Lilo & Stitch), but it feels like the end of a incredible era of Disney film-making that will never be equalled. I guess I’m feeling a bit off about the whole thing because the next film in the list is Pocahontas, which will be… interesting.


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