Enjoying ‘The Lion King’ All Over Again
When ‘The Lion King’ was released in 1994, it was an instant hit. The story centered on a young lion cub who runs away after his father is killed by his evil uncle, and who needs to eventually return to his pride and face up to his responsibilities as their king. The movie appealed to adults and children alike and became a modern classic, spawning two sequels that went direct to video and a musical based on the story which became the sixth longest-running Broadway musical in history.
There are many reasons for the appeal of ‘The Lion King,’ including the simple and enjoyable story that anyone and everyone can follow. Young Simba faces a treacherous uncle, Scar, who wants to do away with the present king, Simba’s father Mufasa, and with Simba himself so that he can take over the pride. After tossing Mufasa off a cliff into a herd of stampeding wildebeest, Scar tricks Simba into thinking it was his fault and that everyone will blame him so that Simba will run away.
After Simba hides for many years, he is reunited with his childhood friend Nala, who tells him of how the pride has fallen apart under Scar’s leadership. Simba is eventually convinced to return home and fights his uncle, getting him to admit to what he did to King Mufasa, and eventually killing him. Simba takes his rightful place as king of the pride and under his leadership it once again thrives.
Another reason for the appeal of ‘The Lion King’ is the award-winning soundtrack with songs written by pop legend Elton John. His song ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ became one of the most widely played songs on the radio that year and also became an instant classic.
The movie is not without its detractors and criticism. The sequence of Simba’s father Mufasa being tossed off a cliff into a herd of wildebeest below may be a bit too graphic for very young audience members, and the fight sequence near the end may also be a bit vivid for young children. However, for older children and teens the movie has great family appeal with little else objectionable material. Adults may also be able to draw similarities to stories like ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Macbeth’, and even to the biblical tale of Moses, who had been separated from his own family while growing up and needed to return to them as an adult to rescue them from their own wicked overlord.
If you are looking for something to watch with your family this season when you are cooped up in the house, check out ‘The Lion King’ all over again. Younger children who missed it in theatres may appreciate the story and older children may enjoy watching it again.