Friday, September 16, 2011

WILL YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?  I can't be the only adult here giddy about getting to see The Lion King on a big screen again, and from the preview we saw before The Smurfs the 3-D looks extraordinary. Of the animated features marking Disney's turnaround -- this, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin -- it's by far my favorite, and Scar is a pantheon-level Disney villain.  (Aren't we due for Jeremy Irons being awesome in something again?)


  1. I adore Beauty & the Beast and Aladdin and can watch them over and over and over (I literally did that with Aladdin; I would come home from [high] school, pop in the video, and have it on as I did homework). The Lion King never did much for me; I've seen it a few times, and have no desire to see it again. I know I'm in the minority on that, though.

  2. Speaking of Irons, I've always thought that the song "Be Prepared" was under-appreciated.  It's witty, peppy, and -- unlike many songs in musicals -- moves the plot along significantly.  And now I will be singing it to myself all day long.

  3. When Lion King opened, my family was visiting New York, and we saw the "pre-opening special engagement" with stage show at Radio City.  During the "Circle of Life" scene, one of the mothers behind us turned to her kid to explain and said "It's like a bris, 'hon."

    And BATB>TLM>TLK>Aladdin, though part of that is because I like Ashman/Mencken better than Elton John/Tim Rice (much better lyrics) and because the Robin Williams schtick in Aladdin has not aged well.

  4. Another issue I have with Lion King (and this is more to the stage show than the film) is that its absolute best moment is the opening "Circle of Life."  Nothing in the show comes close to that as a level of wonder, and Act II in particular goes on and on with a bunhc of new songs written for the stage show that are all pretty bleak (they befit the story, but still..).

  5. Dan Suitor10:29 AM

    <span>Guys, you're forgetting the most important thing: Pumbaa was the first Disney character to audibly fart. #inner12yearold</span>

  6. JosephFinn10:35 AM

    It's certainly quite good, but I still have to rank Beauty higher.  (Little Mermaid, obviously, is at the bottom of the list for that crap ending.)  Just for the hell of it, the 1990's Disney movies (assuming Mermaid is the start of the renaissance, which I don't especially agree with), properly ranked:

    1.  Beauty and the Beast
    2. The Lion King
    3. Aladdin
    4. Mulan
    5. Hunchback of Notre Dame
    6. Hercules
    7. Fantasia 2000
    8. Tarzan
    9. Pocahontas
    10. Rescuers Down Under
    11. Little Mermaid

  7. Jeremy Irons was made superfluous by Alan Rickman, in much the same way that once Brad Pitt came along we no longer needed Ethan Hawke.

  8. Another vote for Beauty and the Beast.  I thought it captured the best of Disney's golden age but also brought it up to date, with great songs that made for classic scenes (Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, in particular) and beautiful animation (my favorite part actually being the sort of chilly, classic-looking introduction to the movie).   I also was glad to see a book-ish, important female lead who wasn't throwing-it-in-your face that she is an important female lead.  (Let's put aside the "female learns to love abusive captor" angle.)  I feel no need to ever see Lion King again. 

  9. Meghan11:41 AM

    Beauty and the Beast is my favorite as well.  I like The Lion King and told my husband I was sad that our daughter is too young for it still but I probably won't see it this go-round.

  10. I'm with Matt on his rankings and for similar reasons. I also spent the summer the the Lion King came out on video working as a mother's helper and one of the kids basically would not stop crying after waking up from her nap unless I turned the Lion King on. So I have seen it so many times it no longer stands out for me. It has been such a long time that I will see it again though. But Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid top it for me.

  11. Jim Bell12:24 PM

    I too am Giddy.  I watched it recently on a cruise with my daughter at night in the pool outside on the Disney Dream, and that was pretty awesome.  Maybe some writer could explain that better, but pretty awesome was meant to convey wow i really loved seeing the lion king on a giant cool outdoor screen with great sound while swimming in a pool. "Watched it" "with" my daughter probably overstates the case, she was probably just swimming.  She loves swimming.

  12. Tosy and Cosh12:39 PM

    Beauty and the Beast easily claims the top spot for me. It holds up very well and that score is really an all-time classic.

    But I am also uncommonly fond of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which features some for-Disney bold moves (the hero not getting the girl), even if they get a bit gun-shy at folowing through (the hero being just totally OK with losing the girl, the talking Gargoyles not treated as figments of a lnely imagination but real). It's also got a score I would put damn close to Beauty's, with some wonderfully stirring choral writing and a damn fine expository opening number that ends with Paul Kandel just wailing the hell out of a high D. I had high hopes for the stage version of Hunchback, but it never made it out of Germany.

  13. Jenn.1:15 PM

    I'm very excited about The Lion King coming out on Blu-Ray, but I'm not so excited about it coming out in 3-D.  I could probably be convinced otherwise, but generally, I'm not crazy about going back in time to add 3-D to movies, and I'm much more excited about seeing the hand-drawn animation in Blu-Ray.

    The fiance and I recently watched Aladdin, and sadly enough, it doesn't really hold up.

  14. JosephFinn2:39 PM

    Oh, and one more thing to praise Lion King for; it's a Disney movie that has the guts to reference Leni Riefenstahl visuals from Trumph of the Will and earns the right to do it.

  15. Becca3:25 PM

    You are very right, but man, the goodwill that opening generates carries you through AT LEAST halfway through the dreadful second half of the show. At which point you realize that it won't ever be that good again, but hey, you're nearly done by then.

  16. Years ago I took some friends to the Broadway show.  After the opening "Circle of Life" the 8 year old turned to his mom and said "Is it over?"  That first number was enough of a marvel for him to be completely satisfied. (With tickets at $80 a pop, I, on the other hand, was more than happy to see the rest of the show.)

  17. Marsha11:57 PM

    Lion King is fine, but Beauty and the Beast is number one for me by a wide margin. For all the reasons above, of course - gorgeous visuals, wonderful stong female main character, the best set of songs in any Disney film. I went to see it in college with my then-boyfriend. We went to an earlier showing than the rest of our friends, left the theater, joined them in line, and went right back in to see it again. It was a fabulously magical experience, and I clearly remember audibly gasping at the animation in the ballroom scene. I was a jaded, cynical, obnoxious 20 year old and that movie took my breath away. A truly magical movie experience of the rarest kind. Lion King didn't even come close.

  18. spacewoman9:04 PM

    LK was definitely my favorite of the Disneys, but last night I realized that it really doesn't hold up.  Which turned out to be the least of my problems as I tried to calm a trembling 5 year old spacie who was begging me to cover his 3D glasses for about 80% of the movie.  Fun!