Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Ernie Sabella, Nathan Lane, Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Directed by: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Written By: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
Rating: G (US) Running Time: 1 hr 27 min
The Lion King skillfully tells the story of a young, foolish cub called Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick), who is tricked into fleeing the kingdom after being falsely accusing of causing the death of his father. At times there’s certainly some well animated high drama at play here, but it has a lighter touch too. For every scene telling Simba’s story of regret, redemption and ultimately revenge. There are hilarious moments with Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella). Scar (Jeremy Irons) makes for memorably cunning, yet cowardly Disney villain, and he gets great support from Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings as the three Hyena stooges Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
The animation is bright and lively when called for, and dark and murky when the tone of the film gets more serious. There’s some decent songs from Elton John and Tim Rice , the most memorable for me being Hakuna Matata. The score by Hans Zimmer also does a great job of amping up the drama and excitement, especially during the final moments of the film. I’m not sure if I’d say it’s the greatest drawn Disney film. But it’s certainly near the top with other favorites of mine, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
If you like Disney animated films then as Timon and Pumbaa would say – Hakuna Matata (no worries!) You’ll love this. There’s plenty for adults and kids to enjoy here. The scene when Scar tricks Simba into leaving his home may actually be a little to tense for really young kids.
Best viewing format:
A regular dvd would be fine. But to get the most out of this, and HD viewing is recommended over a nice surround sound system.
Best moment for me: << mild spoiler >>
When Scar slowly emerges after the death of Mufasa to lay the blame for the tragedy squarely on young Simba’s shoulders. Scar shows us clearly the depths he’s prepared to go to get what he wants, and arguably becomes the most sinister Disney villain ever drawn.