Directed by Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff. Starring Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg.
Seventeen years after the original movie broke box office records and spun a Broadway musical and an award-winning soundtrack, Disney has chosen to re-release the film. The reason: to take advantage of new technologies like the now ubiquitous (and mostly useless) 3-D format. Of course, there are Blu-ray versions of the film too.
But you know, the reason I went to see The Lion King wasn’t because it was in 3-D (apart from an oh-so-niggling itch to rip the format apart) but it was to relive my memories of a favourite movie whose tunes (‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight’ and ‘Can you feel the love tonight’) I used to hum in my younger days (yes, I know I’m not that old).
Even Disney’s newfound love of 3-D (only utilised wonderfully in Tron: Legacy and unreservedly wasted in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) can’t spoil this classic. Sure there’s a little more depth to some of the scenes and the king’s major domo Zazu (the delightful Rowan Atkinson) flies in and out of the screen now and then. But the inherent 2-D cell animation nature of the film was probably not conducive to ‘conversion’. Ah yes, the surreptitious trickery of today’s sneaky director shooting his film in 2-D and then cunningly transmogrifying it into a 3-D format to rake in the filthy lucre. Deee-spicable!
But I’m sure good ol’ ‘family values’ Disney had far more innocent intentions. Kudos to Disney for picking this film firstly. A new generation of children will get to see how story triumphs any technical wizardry. How lyrics are far more important than objects flying out at you or snow falling outside the movie screen. How a good script beats flashy 3-D gimmickry any day.
The story of The Lion King is timeless and a treasure that must be kept, in 2-D, 3-D, for eternity. Long live the king!