The Lion King
This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) ], the heir of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). Simba's wicked uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), 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 (Matthew Broderick) to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon (Nathan Lane) ]and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) ].
Release Date: June 15, 1994
Writer: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
Director: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Producer: Don Hahn, Alice Dewey, Sarah McArthur, Thomas Schumacher
Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Guillaume, James Jones, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ernie Sabella, Madge Sinclair, Matthew Broderick, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Cheech Marin, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Cummings, Jeremy Irons, Jason Weaver, Niketa Calame, Laura Williams, Cathy Cavadini, Frank Welker, Philip Proctor, Joseph Williams, Judi M. Durand, Daamen J. Krall, Zoe Leader, David McCharen, David J. Randolph
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Still one of my favorite movies to this day. I love the music and the movie and now want to watch it again. The stampede and death may be scary for extremely young kids. Is it worth your time? Absolutely. If you have kids use them as an excuse to watch this movie again and again.February 26th, 2013 · Details2 Thanks ·
Best Disney cartoon ever! But I showed it to my first daughter when she was 2 1/2. Big Mistake! She cried...a lot. On the plus side that day she cuddled me the whole time and ignored my wife. So yeah, show it to em when they're youngJanuary 18th, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
One of the greatest Disney movies ever made. The music is great, the story is great and it teaches good principles.
It's quotable, inspiring, memorable, and fun.
Own it!August 16th, 2012 · Details1 Thank ·
Based on the amount of violence, Simba cuddling up to the dead carcass of his father and adult (Nazi-type) themes, this movie is undeniably a 'PG'. That is the only real down-side to this movie. Everything else is superb. The animation, the plot, pacing, acting, music and messages are all excellent. I can see why they made a Broadway play out of this. Do see, but be cautioned, you'll have to do some explaining to the little ones when they see Mufasa's death and corpse.August 25th, 2011 · Details1 Thank ·
Not one of my favorite Disney animated films, but very well done. Some parts are a bit scary for really young kids, I think.August 9th, 2013 · Details
This film beautifully mixes authentic African scenes, animals, and storyline with the classic Disney talking animals shtick to make not just one of the best Disney animated films, but one of the best animated films by anyone ever. Combat, betrayal, and death in the family might be too much for young children, but it is true masterpiece of the art form and an enjoyable family experience.July 14th, 2013 · Details
Still hands down one of my favorite movies to this day! Brings back so many great memories and a movie I enjoy to this day with my own 7 year old and 3 year old. This movie just never gets old and always entertains.May 2nd, 2013 · Details
Great soundtrack though the content in the movie may be scary for young children especially the stampede and ensuing death. This movie is worth your time!April 14th, 2013 · Details
Not one of my favorite Disney animated films, but very well done. Some parts are a bit too scary for really young kids, I think.August 18th, 2011 · Details
The first thing you will notice in "The Lion King" is its triumphant animation during the opening, pre-title sequence, an extended version of that theatrical preview you've seen over the past few months. Every animal you can think of is racing across the plains to be present as the newborn heir to the throne is anointed by a baboon shaman, many so realistically portrayed that they appear to have been photographed instead of drawn.
But that's only the beginning. The entire film is loaded with eye-popping visuals, which, even on a second viewing, never fail to mesmerize.
The story is also strong, borrowing heavily from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" for plot and bolstered by a string of hilarious supporting characters for plenty of comic relief. And there are some wonderful characters here, including a riotous hornbill bird, whose voice is provided by the rubber-faced British comic Rowan Atkinson (TV's "Mr. Bean" and "Blackadder"); a funny and wise old baboon (energetic Robert Guillaume, best-known as TV's "Benson"); and especially the hilarious warthog and meerkat, voiced, respectively, by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, a pair of very talented stage actors (Lane's brief hula song is especially hysterical).
In short, there is much to recommend "The Lion King," though it still falls short of its three immediate predecessors "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin."
Let's get the complaints out of the way early:
Most of the characters in "The Lion King" are not as warm and fuzzy as other Disney animated features. In fact, they are largely aloof and distant, which makes the film a bit tougher to warm to.
There is also an unexpected gross-out factor at work here, with three characters dining graphically on a bevy of live insects, a trio of hyenas eating a zebra leg and the warthog demonstrating why other animals steer clear of him (he's quite flatulent).
There is violence, with the young lion prince's father dying in a herd of stampeding wildebeests and a climactic battle between Simba and his evil Uncle Scar. Don't suppose that this is out of the realm of the film's G rating, but it is certainly more specific than, say, the death of "Bambi's" mother. (And there is very bad choice near the end, as Simba and Scar battle in slow-motion, a serious moment that seems unintentionally comic.)
And finally, the songs are disappointing and don't hold up very well on repeat listening. The central theme, "The Circle of Life," is closer to the grace and tuneful satisfaction of Alan Menken's work in "Mermaid," "Beast" and "Aladdin," but the others are all novelty tunes. They work in the context of the film and are supported by imaginative artistry, but are not memorable.
Despite these flaws, however, the film is still a fabulous extravaganza proof positive that even a weaker entry in the Disney canon is better than anything the competition churns out.
The first half of the film focuses on Simba's youth (his voice supplied by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, of TV's "Home Improvement"), with a couple of scary scenes the first in an elephant graveyard and the second a wildebeest stampede (destined to be one of the most talked-about animated sequences ever) both engineered by his evil Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons).
After the death of Simba's father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones), Scar convinces the lad that he's to blame. So, an angst-ridden Simba banishes himself from the land of his forefathers, while Scar and his hench-hyenas (led by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and a giggling, babbling Jim Cummings) take over.
Meanwhile, Simba is befriended by the warthog Pumbaa and the meerkat Timon, as he grows to adulthood (with Matthew Brod-erick taking over the voice chores). Pumbaa and Timon introduce Simba to the joys of leisure and a steady diet of bugs, until one day the lioness Nala (Moira Kelly), to whom Simba was betrothed, shows up. She tells Simba of Scar's treachery and pleads with him to return and take his rightful place on the throne.
Aided by the shaman baboon Rafiki, Simba looks within himself, and then gets a piece of ethereal advice from his father (in a scene that seems to come straight out of "Star Wars" movies), ultimately returning home to set his house in order and face the truth about his past.
Bolstered by a bevy of delightful performances and that fabulous animation, "The Lion King" is a winner much of the way. And none of its weaknesses should keep audiences from flocking to the film again and again, making it the one sure bet for a long summer run.
December 17th, 2002 · Details