The Lion King

Evan Williamson, Courier Staff

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With the recent release of “The Lion King” live-action movie trailer, I think it is important that everyone knows why “The Lion King” is above the rest.

One of the most important things about this movie is that not a lot of people thought it would be successful. It is well documented that Disney thought that “Pocahontas” would be the more successful of the two, so all of their top writers and artists chose to focus on that film. In fact, “The Lion King” was developed as a filler film, so fans would have something to watch before their pet project would be released the following year.

Long story short those that chose to work on “The Lion King” gave it 110 percent. “The Lion King” would prove to be a huge success as it was nominated and won many awards and was the highest-grossing film worldwide in 1994. It is currently the top-selling VHS tape in the US as well as the best-selling film across all formats in the US. It has been re-released a couple of times, one of which was a 3D release that was so successful Disney re-released other great films in 3D. The fact that this movie wasn’t supposed to be a success and it ended up being one of the most successful Disney movies of all time. Had they treated it like they should have, it probably would have broken even more records. Just looking at the movie itself the way they did was brilliant.

The teaser trailer for the original film was released in 1993 and was over four minutes long, and it depicted the opening scene of the “Circle of Life” in its entirety. At the end, it says “To be continued June 1994.” That is just something that doesn’t happen anymore and after watching this trailer on YouTube, I want to watch it. We can talk about the characters, the songs, the animation, etc. that made it a success, but let’s take a look at one interesting fact. “The Lion King” is the first animated Disney movie to show an on-screen death of a good guy character. Mufasa is shown to have died and his body is shown on screen. Understand that for a lot of children this was their first experience with death. Other Disney films have had implied deaths, but the bodies were never shown. I believe this was a very important thing to have in a movie and it was definitely different. The way they did it however just shows that they knew what they were doing. Everything is going fine and dandy in what had already been a good film so far. We then get to the wildebeest stampede, an incredibly iconic scene. By the time it looks like everything is going to turn out fine, the world comes crashing down in the most emotional part (the lowest point) in the film. Five minutes of probably the most emotional events that kids have ever experienced before. It is right after this event that we get introduced to the comedic duo of Timon and Pumba and the song “Hakuna Matata,” which helps kids forget about the trauma they just witnessed. I don’t believe this format was a coincidence. I think these reasons prove that “The Lion King” is the best Disney movie period.

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