‘Lion King’ reigns again

Article Published: Sep. 22, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 26, 2011
‘Lion King’ reigns again

Disney has re-released 1994’s ‘The Lion King’ in 3-D.

“The Lion King” has always been a shining jewel in Disney’s animated crown.

Now, it’s in 3-D, and that’s not a bad thing.

It’s a big movie – majestic, beautifully drawn and grand on all scales, a perfect fit for the big screen.

Seventeen years after its initial premiere, it still stands tall, high above the rest, and a surprisingly effective 3-D treatment actually complements the picture, making some of the spellbinding visuals even more so, while hopefully appealing to today’s younger audience.

Most of us already know the story, which follows lion cub Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, TV’s “Home Improvement”), heir to the throne of Pride Rock, who’s exiled after taking the blame for the death of his father, King Mufasa (James Earl Jones, “Patriot Games”).

But Mufasa was murdered by Simba’s jealous uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons, “Die Hard with a Vengeance”), who withholds this fact in order to attain the throne.

Alone in the wild, Simba encounters two unlikely friends, a meerkat called Timon (Nathan Lane, “The Birdcage”) and warthog Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella, “Mousehunt”), who happily teach him a carefree way of living – “Hakuna matata,” meaning “no worries.”

Years later, fully grown Simba (now voiced by Matthew Broderick, “Election”) realizes he must take responsibility and confront his past, not only for his own redemption, but to save his home, friends and family from Scar’s cruelty.

It’s as Shakespearean as a frilly shirt, but the story is timeless, and, thanks to a team of expert animators, writers and musicians, it’s a fun, colorful ride.

It proves that Disney’s magic not only lays in marketing (the re-release scored $30.2 million at this week’s box office, and a forthcoming 3-D Blu-Ray won’t hurt), but also in honest-to-goodness storytelling.

Seeing “The Lion King” on the big screen again was, admittedly, a treat. Is it worth the inflated 3-D ticket price? Hakuna matata.

“The Lion King 3-D,” rated G, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 12 or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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