By: Marielle (Two Beers) –
Disney’s The Lion King (1994) is re-released in 3D for a new generation to love.
It’s the story of a young lion cub, Simba, the future king of Pride Rock, who must learn valuable life lessons from his brave and honourable father, Mufasa. When tragedy strikes, Simba must learn to accept his responsibilities and take his rightful place in the circle of life and stop screwing around with his slacker friends in the jungle. It’s a valuable metaphor for young men everywhere.
I’m looking at you, Todd.
The Lion King is arguably Disney’s best animated effort (I preferred The Little Mermaid, definitely not because I wanted to live under the sea. Not that at all). The story is touching and resonates with a family audience, young and old. The score by Hans Zimmer features rich, traditional African music and singing that is embodied by landscapes and creatures that look beautiful even by today’s standards.
The idea of the circle of life not only explores the life cycle of birth and death, but also the preservation of the environment by protecting the healthy balance of our ecosystems. Both are necessarily linked and are important concepts for children to learn and live by as adults. We carry the people we love with us, even when their body has returned to the earth.
The voice work by Jeremy Irons (Scar),Nathan Laneand Ernie Sabella (Timon and Pumbaa), and Robert Guillaume (Rafiki) stand out for me. Each actor brings great character, whether evil, silly, or poignant, to their animated roles.
The 3D worked well in many places. My first impression was that it brought me into the world of the cartoon.
Kind of like this.
CGI attempts to replicate realistic physical properties of surfaces and objects. While the 1994 drawings also give reflections to the water, twinkling to the stars, and organic movements to the animals and landscape, it doesn’t look like I can touch any of it. Seeing the 3D depth of foreground and background of the cartoon gave more of a feeling of stepping into the world of a drawing rather than observing a 2D photograph.
Unfortunately, as with most movies made into 3D in post (in this case, very post), the 3D was also screwed up in some places. Whenever the action was too fast, the 3D experience was blurred, but not in a good way. It looked messy and was disruptive to my vision. I’d be impressed by Scar rising up on a rock pedestal, surrounded by hyenas and a creepy, smoky atmosphere one moment, but annoyed by a chase scene the next.
I’ve never liked the inability to look at what I want on the screen during 3D films. They’re shot in a way that forces you to focus on a particular character or action, like a determined place you should be looking at; therefore, everything else is blurry. I know that regular movies have things in and out of focus as well, but not to the same degree that 3D requires to present depth.
People who loved The Lion King in the 90s will enjoy the new experience (if they haven’t already seen it too many times to care), and kids will love it despite the technical problems that bother picky people like me.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time the blurry 3D annoys you
Take a Drink: every time you remember a verse to a song
Drink a Shot: whenever the annoying teenaged girls behind you won’t stop snickering.