December 06, 2011

The Lion King (USA 1994)

I wouldn't go so far to say that "The Lion King" is the best Disney film - there are certainly more artistic and important ones - but it is my best Disney film. The primary reason for this may be the fact that I saw it for the first time when I was still a kid and just discovering my love for the movies. And as we all know, the films we first saw as kids are the ones that touch as the most. But judging as objective as possible now almost 20 years later, I still regard it as Disney's last classically animated masterpiece before the digital revolution took over.

The story may be simple but it is great, the characters one-dimensional but lovely and the music may please mainstream taste but is still touching. It's very entertaining to be sure but it is also an inspiring film - more inspiring even than most "real" movies. I would also argue that the film has a serious message that is really important. We now live in a society where people shy away from responsibility and nobody wants to grow up anymore. Young people all over the world have unconsciously adopted the "Hakuna Matata" mantra and live a life of carefree pleasures. And not all of them find the way back eventually the way that Simba does in the film. A lot of potential is wasted because people just don't care enough or simply choose the easy way. As a consequence, the people who end up in the power positions are not always those who would deserve them.

Traditions, codes of conducts and growing-up rituals may be values that sound old-fashioned nowadays but as "The Lion King" teaches us, they are crucial for the "circle of life" to stay in balance.


This review refers to the original version of the film and not the recent and absolutely superfluous theatrical 3D re-release of the film.

With great power comes great responsibility

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