The Lion King
Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff
This is going to be a strange review for me to write. This movie was a large part of my childhood, therefore I have an unconditional love for it that might not be easily explained. I do think this is a solid film even without any intense feelings of nostalgia. After all, any movie that introduces children to Shakespeare in such a compelling way is a masterpiece in my (nerd) book.
The film tells the story of Simba, a young lion cub who is destined to succeed his father, Mufasa, as king of Pride Rock. Simba is quite excited to be a ruler and even sings a song with his friend Nala about how much he wants his father to die so that he can take over. Okay, maybe I read a bit too much into that musical number. In any case, Mufasa's brother, Scar, has other plans, as he intends to take the throne for himself.
Where to start with this film? The animation is just beautiful; the opening scene alone is worth watching. Elton John composed the songs for this film, so you know all of the musical numbers are going to be incredible. That's always been my biggest complaint with early Disney musicals; the songs were never that good. I also loved the lessons imparted for children in this film. I wish Rafiki was my mentor.
My favorite thing about this movie, though, has to be how much there is for adults to enjoy. From the Nazi references to the Hamlet parallels, it is not one of those films for kids that are mind numbing for adults. Speaking of which, is Scar really that terrible of a villain? Obviously, he has his faults. But really, his main project was feeding the underprivileged (i.e. the hyenas). Mufasa was content to watch them starve.
Definitely a movie you must see before you die. Get ready to FEEL.
The stampede scene took the animators three years to finish.
One of Gregory Peck's top five favorite films.