Monday, 16 June 2014

What Made The Lion King So Special? (Updated)

In paying a visit to the 20th anniversary of one of my all-time favourite features, this post I eventually wrote describes the topics of what made the Disney epic THE LION KING (click here) so grand, so subtle and forever changed the colours of animation. Do not detest this movie for ripping off the anime KIMBA THE WHITE LION, even though it's partially based on a Shakespearean tale Hamlet. THE LION KING (TLK) inspired from each of the myths and classical hero stories that George Lucas read so he can invent and perfect STAR WARS as his ground-breaking revolutionary sci-fi saga.

Now, either TLK is Disney's original best animated feature or not, we are looking back now in what made a classic feature so classical. But still unadulterated in a mixture of entertainment to appease young and old families of parents, children, movie-goers and animation-lovers. Find out if you want to explore the world of Simba when you see him in his adventures, having run for his life from the stampede or re-hear the philosophy of Hakuna Matata from everybody's favourite duo of meerkat and warthog. Well mates, this is precisely what I'm going to tell you in my analysis.

#8. The Music

The music is one of the 
other highlights of this film.
Such containment is the 
blend of the organic tribal 
percussions and rhythms of 
songs by famed pop-super
star Elton John and the 
brilliantly done score 
by the legendary Hans 
Zimmer. To Elton, he done 
such a good job in the 
material he wrote with 
ALADDIN lyricist Tim Rice. He patterned many of these catchiest melodies true to character or to meaning like for instance The Circle of Life, the cheerfulness of Hakuna Matata and the underrated song for the villain, Be Prepared. Evidently, I loved Hans Zimmer for his legendary prolific background music in some of the films directed by Christopher Nolan. This is the one movie that shot him to fame and earned his only Oscar for Best Original Score. Notably he done each piece of the background score to simply match the opening song of its music or doing it most of the film's entirety with the fusion of two African forms of choirs in creating a majestic score.

#7. Voice Talent

The voice acting of animation is still as high as the mightiest for people with acting  
experiences. Without actors to record their characters, there won't be any dialogue for them if they are not picked to their roles in a full budget swing. Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson and young Jonathan Taylor Thomas are all known for their known celebrity status were altogether in doing as well in an all-star cast for THE LION KING. The true stand-out roles are for Jeremy Irons as Scar and James Earl Jones as the hero's father Mufasa. Jeremy slithers his calm technique of voice to portray Scar as deliciously creepy and yet, he has to pop-in the sarcasm and seething for his feline menace. Whilst Jones gives a better vocal prowess of a proper father figure like Mufasa to be regal-sounding and gentler than his Vader impression. Sure he makes Mufasa look like a good dad with a powerful voice you always would want!

#6. Animation

Some kids movies cannot be
completed without animation,
made a motion on its full-use
of 24 fps (frames per
second) and some scenes of
computer animation are
blended with 2D render,
particularly seen in the
wildebeest sequence. The
characters and shots are
fully sketched in a angle,
structure or curve in a layer of frame envisioned by the animation team. I guess they took a lot of time to add the facial postures and made it more expressive than BAMBI (click here). Incredible to the team of TLK, that distinction goes honourably to some of the animators flexibility to move the figures true to their designs. Mostly Scar, Mufasa and Simba are the most beautifully hand-drawn characters. Furthermore, they also created the angles and moments to have the feature in scale. This is how they designed two of the amazing sequences such as the Circle of Life opening and the ferocious stampede. Pure quality to animation film-making on Disney's original top feature indeed.

#5. Maturity and Meanings

One reason THE LION KING
(TLK) had to endure are the
meaningful themes containing
the amount of struggle between
good and evil, the lessons of life
and death, the balance of
nature and the most important
thing that kids needed to hear
is the burden of responsibility.
TLK borders on the character
Simba and how he comes into
terms with witnessing the death of his beloved parent, facing guilt his uncle placed it into him to make his trauma more worse and must learn any of the responsibility before he could reclaim his kingdom so forth. Not only how TLK accomplishes some of its dramatic subjects, it also delves in a darker path that having some of the intensity and drama from the hyenas to the stampede to frighten some of the younger kids. This led its studio Disney to make more other adult-themed animated films with mixed results. TLK is tamer with some of the edginess that would have landed the film in a PG rating, if it comes for the right time for children to seek the knowing of death.

#4. Characters

THE LION KING not only
established the certain things of
its thematic story-line and its
famed significance to the pop-
culture history. We mustn't
live to forget the other vital
component to a movie that are
its characters. They are so
iconic to which a very few I
know of are so comical and
there are the rest that were
very serious. Timon and
Pumbaa are the memorable sidekick duo, they were hilarious and whatnot too scrappy that this pair of a wisecracking meerkat and the warthog who makes passing wind actually saved Simba's life. They eventually raise him and teach the cub a thing or two about their care-free lifestyle. Those two are like C3PO and R2D2 as the best mates on-screen and they are the movie's other main essentials. 

Serving up a dark presence is Scar, who is treacherous and deceitful and then crosses a line where no other Disney villain has done it before. He was one of the villainous archetypes that commit both ways of fratricide and regicide. Not to imagine, he's gives the film a lot of its seriousness. Oh, and he's the precursor of Loki, thus sharing the same goals and exploits. I haven't forgotten of one character I personally need of mentioning. Simba is the reason why this cat is the lead hero. I must admit how brave when he was a young cub, he slashed the hyena Shenzi in the right cheek and as an young adult, Simba then vengefully threatens his no-good uncle Scar of echoing the same wrath of guilt he did to him in the past. 

#3. The 3D Re-Release

It may have gotten a stage musical
adaptation, a sequel soon to have
two now official and a part prequel/
part side-story. There is a craze that 
began about 2009 when 3D was 
more than a promotional gimmick
to view movies and every studio
started to pile up the aspect in re-
releasing their classical hits. The
first, however was expected to be 
KING (TLK) bumped the spot and 
arrived on late 2011. Generations 
of fans we're most dazzled to see 
TLK back on theatres and every 
kid had went or saw the film when 
they heard about it, since they 
weren't born yet! What I've 
remembered about the hype in 2011. I had witnessed the presentation of Simba in the big screen, come to life on two dimensions.

#2. Mufasa's Death

In this heart-wrenching scene
that everyone of generation Y
most remember dearly is the
scene of Mufasa's death.
Seeing this terrible moment
happen when we were
born in the 90s or just as
young to watch him die at
Scar's betrayal. I just can't 
bare to show you what will 
happen to the perfect doting
dad who have we all cherished 
and rooted for. We've seen how Simba just can't wait to be king like his dad and through bonding moments with his dad, the dream is suddenly put on hold. How heartbreaking is that the cub doesn't know that his sinister uncle Scar murdered him so he can have both of them out of the family picture. He had let him obtain his kingship and the reign of Pride Rock. Please, give the poor cub some therapy and comfort!

#1. Opening Scene

One of the last biggest topics
about THE LION KING is 
the Circle of Life intro where 
the sun is rising onto the land 
of Africamidst the sky is  
turning daytime. You 
can hear the Zulu chorus 
dialect on the background  
as the animals gather around 
and they bow their heads to  
their newborn and future 
king when shortly he is presented to them at his birth. The animation crew made one of the finest film openings ever and used as a teaser to turn the crowd around into hysterics. Combined with layers of music and animation altogether, reckon it made them wait before they can do purchase a ticket to see this animated hit. Sure pays it similar in 52 years after the classic opening of BAMBI. It rivals the majesty of these wildlife documentaries!


This is how THE LION KING (TLK) succeeds of it's epic artistry and had the biggest earnings it grossed on movie theatres in all over the world until FROZEN became Disney's highest. You will be surprised it's much way better and different than having the Disney feature FROZEN. Come to think of it, I won't need to watch the now overly-anticipated similar film. I rather watch TLK as I will see it again sometime or some month. If you have already watched or owned TLK, re-watch it again. If you have not seen it, you will hopefully try to be indulged. Hakuna Matata to all of you fans!


  1. Deep. It really is the most mature Disney film ever made.

    1. Well said, sorry I didn't comment you back for 2 years.