With its memorable music and characters, The Lion King takes on big questions in a sweet, gentle way.
The movie works on many levels. It's visually rich with a sweet storyline of parental devotion and Simba's growth from newborn to rebellious adolescent to full-grown king. Along the way, it isn't afraid to take on issues of life and death, but in a gentle and spiritual way.
Kids Will Like:
Kids love talking animals and the ones here have a range of endearing personalities as vast as the Pride Lands themselves. Young Simba is particularly cute and frisky. (He's downright adorable in the scene where he can't wait to go exploring with his dad, King Mufasa, and wakes him up like any excited young kid would, saying, "Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad…") And Timon and Pumbaa, the meerkat and warthog odd couple, offer great support and unconditional friendship to Simba. They're lovable comic characters who bring their "no worries" philosophy to the proceedings.
Parents Will Like:
The movie tells the story of Simba's coming of age, and ultimately, with Simba ascension to the throne, there's a happy ending. The relationships between Simba's parents, Mufasa and Sarabi, is sweet and utterly respectful, as is the lifelong friendship between Simba and Nala. There are little inside jokes, like when the evil Scar, who's taken over the throne after Mufasa is killed, demands that Zazu amuse him by singing. Zazu defiantly breaks into "It's a Small World." And there's tons of clever dialogue, such as when Zazu warns Scar that Mufasa is "as mad as a hippo with a hernia!"
Scar, Mufasa's brother and Simba's uncle, is just plain devious and mean, and young Simba is too sweet and innocent to realize it. Scar orchestrates the massive wildebeest stampede that puts Mufasa in a precarious situation and then lets him fall to his death. It's heartbreaking to see Simba discover the lifeless body of his father, all made even more dramatic when Scar convinces Simba that it was all his fault. Simba believes him at the time, but ultimately turns the tables on his evil uncle late in the film. The "circle of life," which is an important theme here, approaches life and death with sensitivity.
Yes! This is a landmark movie, not just for Disney but for the art of animation, and the story about strength, courage, and "the circle of life" is timeless.