Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Lion King (IN F****ING 3D!!!)

Imagine being in a crowd of hundreds who are talking about the same subject in their conversation. What if it were a movie that almost 99.1% of the crowd had already seen and you're the odd one out. Seeing bits of it yet you haven't seen it full does not count. So then you get time off to go see that movie so you're not going to fit in with the circle but other circles including film and whatsawhat. But you got the choice from your reaction to that movie: be with or get out of the circle. That's how I feel about seeing The Lion King in 3D at theatres for the first time ever in my life.

I assume that some people have not seen The Dark Knight and you don't really need to see Batman Begins to start going along with Batman. This is my observation when there are people that still haven't seen it. When you complain that one haven't seen the movie that you and everybody had already seen, two excuses to persuade him to see it would be how good it is and how much money it made at the box office.  It suits so well for The Lion King. It made $800 million (including the re-release) in revenue and won two Oscars. It was released when kids aren't born enough to watch and understand Pulp Fiction or craves at the life of Forrest Gump while not realising the redemption at Shawshank Prison. It was released in the year when cinema was redefined.

I assume that there are other people born beyond 1994 who haven't seen it so here's the plot. The Lion King follows a young cub named Simba (voiced by Johnathan Taylor Thomas, then Matthew Broderick) whose father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is... well the king of the jungle. Simba was destined to be king after Mufasa tells him so, but beneath him is his lazy and jealous brother Scar (Jeremy Irons) who schemes to dethrone him then he and his population of hyenas (I'm pretty sure the three hyenas Banzai, Shenzi and Ed are one allegory of methheads) would take over. When he kills Mufasa he blames Simba for his death and escapes into a desert where Simba meets a free spirited warthog and meerkat Pumba and Timon who teaches him that the lesson of life is Hakuna Matana and hangs out with them while at the same time he grows up.

I have this feeling that with The Lion King being No.1 at the box office for 2 weeks, Disney would be cashing in by re-releasing films from the Renassaince era in a few years plus $3 extra for the 3D. While it may be great for some fans to feel nostalgic that they're watching a movie twice in the theatres, it is unnessary for the studio to do so because I think its a strategy that is greedy for Disney, a studio that had already sucked us into ear-bleeding teen pop singers and stupid live action movies, it drives off competition from other great movies that are recently out such as Drive, Moneyball and 50/50. The movie would rather work on a Blu-Ray re-release alone.

The Lion King is a elegant story that is coming of age. The story is epicly told with so much heart that the poignancy of the film keeps you right with it. More so than the fact that the animation is really gorgeous and that the 3D worked a lot, though there are some blurred bits. The musical numbers are incredible as it sets a tone into the characterization of the film. They are those that you would be singing along after you leave the theatre. Most of the humor is great for this kind of kids movies that tends to be more mature so it can suit with audiences.

With that said the film has a few flaws. If you've have heard the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet, you know how the film is going to be set up. I'm not saying in a bad way since it does live up to its tone, but when there's more than one scene that reminds you of the play and yet it isn't developed, it becomes tiringly predictable. The voice cast is a mixed bag and the problem with it is that some of the characters turns cheesy and thin. I really didn't connect to Mufasa not only because he has a short presence that leads to a lack of dimension but also because some of the dialogue given to him is not that great and that James Earl Jones playing the lion is way too recognizable which is a main problem for current animated films that weighs heavily on a cast filled with recognisable names. This is also noted to Timon voiced by Nathan Lane and you often get the picture of the actor instead of the character.

The Lion King is a great film that thrives upon building hand-drawn animation at its highest even though it has a few moments that doesn't live up to the greatness of the film. But everybody does not care whether it's good or bad because its already awesome to them. If you haven't seen it, it's simply a must see.

B+ (7.9)

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