The LION KING is technically an amazing and dazzling movie. I
find it hard to review a cartoon. Perhaps, I could start by discussing
some of the characters that were made special by the actor's voice.
Hands down, the best voice in this movie was that of Jeremy Irons
who was the evil Scar, brother of the king Mufasa. Irons is brilliant
in everything he does, but I think his best roles were BRIDESHEAD
REVISITED and REVERSAL OF FORTUNE. He can play villains and good guys
equally well. James Earl Jones was the voice of Mufasa, and although
he was good, I expected more out of one of the most dramatic sounding
voices in the movies today. Jones could have been a great orator (read
politician I guess) had he not become an actor. Whoopi Goldberg was
funny as a laughing hyena. I liked everyone except Mathew Broderick
who I felt was too weak and unconvincing as the grown up Simba.
The movie's strengths, however, were not in the characters. The
images and the soundtrack were the highlights. All of the music was
very moving. The images had a 3D effect that I have not seen before.
There was clear foreground and background in almost every shot, and
sometimes they even varied the focus as you would in a "real" movie so
that at first the foreground was in focus and then the background. My
favorite part of the entire show was the vibrance of the colors. Monet
would have come every day to see The LION KING.
Sad to say, I can not give it as high a rating as I would liked
for two reasons. First, the story and the characters were okay, but
they were not as interesting as they could have been. When they have
to resort to lots of jokes about gas and bad breath, you know the
script writers have run out of steam.
Second, the main audience for this movie is little kids. I have a
5 year old boy who went with us. Why oh why did they have to have
someone who viciously murders his own brother in the sight of his
brother's son? And if they felt they had to kill off a character, why
be so explicit? Yes, this part of life does happen, but so does rape,
incest, drive-by shootings and a lot of other stuff. Being true to
life does not mean we have to subject little kids to it.
By the way, my son spent almost the whole movie in one of our
laps, but claimed in the end to have not been scared (he was clearly
scared while it was going on), and wanted to see it again. Actually,
he wants to see LASSIE even more.
THE LION KING runs 1:26 (seems longer) and is rated incorrectly as
G. Given the murders and attempted murders, it is clearly a PG show.
I am glad we went, and I do recommend the show with the reservations
noted. I give it ***.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes