Let the discussions begin. Should Disney tamper with their own works of art to deliver them to a newer and younger audience? Does the older audience really want to see these stories again in 3D? Does Disney even need to take their timeless masterpieces and convert them to 3D? Does a Camaro need a rear spoiler? Did Coke need to tamper with their formulas? Does my ice cream sundae need a cherry on top? When will this madness stop?
Disney will be releasing their classic 1994 animated tale The Lion King in a few weeks on Blu-Ray. In order to kick off the event, the team at Disney also decided that it is a good idea to release the full length feature in theatres in Digital Disney 3D animation.
Was it a good idea?
The story did not change, thankfully … If you are new to the story of “The Lion King” it is a tale of a cub, Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and his journey into royalty from birth on to adulthood.
With one of the most moving openings in the animation world, we see several species of wild animals on the African savannah congregate to see the presentation of Simba by his parents and the baboon Rafiki (voiced by Robert Guillaume). Without a word we see the animals pay their respects to Simba and his family as Rafiki hoists the newborn Simba into the air. Then, boom, the title screen. It’s powerful and direct.
We follow the journey of Simba as he learns his surroundings as an adolescent. We see him find his limit of power through tales from his father, Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones). We learn how there is a circle of life on the African plains and how each animal needs one another to continue this circle.
Not all the animals agree with their king, though. One of which is Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons), Mufasa’s brother. Scar has other palns to take over the throne, the throne in which Simba is next in line to inherit. In classic Shakespearean manner, Scar devises a plan to eliminate his proud, noble brother and to take the throne for his own self-centered gains.
Scar joins forces with the lowest creature of the animal kingdom, the hyenas. He devises a plan with these creatures to cause a stampede to wipe out his family members. His plan goes accordingly and Simba takes off out of fear thinking that it was his fault that his father was trampled in the stampede.
Simba runs off and befriends a warthog, Pumbaa (vocied by Ernie Sabella) and a meerkat, Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane). Simba becomes a hippie for quite some time, shrugging off his carnivorous behaviors and eating grubs. He must have been in his new environment for quite some time because he matures from using the voice of Jonathan Taylor Thomas to Matthew Broderick. He eventually runs into his old lioness friend, Nala, and is convinced to come back to the pride and take back his throne from Scar in a finale that is as strong as the opening scene.
Should you see this movie? Yes, of course, if you haven’t already. There are some timeless songs here for the entire family (do I even need to mention “Hakuna Matata”?) along with humor provided by Whoppi Goldberg and Cheech Marin as two of the hyenas.
Should you see this movie in 3D? Maybe. If you are a die hard fan and want to see some of the action scenes jump off the screen (in particular the stampede and the final fight scenes). The 3D was so subtle that I almost forgot it was there. It makes me question if it was worth going through all of the trouble to put it into 3D in the first place.