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Movie Review: The Lion King – Royal in 3D

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Recently, the 1994 Disney classic, The Lion King, returned to the big screen for a release in 3D. This version of the movie was only available to see in theaters for two weeks. Even though my generation has seen this movie multiple times, it dominated the box office over new films like Moneyball and Dolphin Tale.

Waiting in the theater, my friends and I were excited for the “Circle of Life” to begin and to see the rising sun in the opening scene. We put on our 3D glasses and immersed ourselves in a world of colorful nostalgia for our youth. Going to see this movie put me right back into the prime of my childhood. I was again looking forward to my favorite lines and the song “Hankuna Matata.”

Many people already know the tale of young Simba and his father, Mufasa, king of Pride Rock. Scar, Simba’s uncle, kills his older brother to become king and tells Simba to run away. Simba flees to the jungle and ends up with two unlikely friends who help him realize his place as the King of Pride Rock.

This movie is a great story for little kids, but now I realize how wonderful a movie it is for adults too. I get the jokes and references that I didn’t understand when I was younger, and to realize the list of stars who worked on this movie is incredible. James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Broderick, and Nathan Lane lend their voices to bring our favorite and beloved characters to life.

The attraction that 3D is getting lately has been tremendous; however the reason The Lion King did so well recently, I believe, was not that. Many of the people who flocked to the theater went to enjoy a reboot of one of their favorite Disney movies. Growing up in the ‘90s, everyone had their favorite Disney movie and this limited re-release gave people a chance to remember why they loved this one.

The 3D did a wonderful job of engaging the audience and bringing new entertainment to an already beloved tale. The stampede scene, which always makes me sad and makes me believe that there is hope that Mufasa will remain alive, was electrifying to watch in 3D. The three-dimensional aspect heightened the drama and brought out the devastation.

Another great scene that the 3D aided was when Simba talks to Mufasa in the clouds. The 3D feature raised the emotional response and engulfed the audience.

However, my favorite part is near the end when Simba takes back Pride Rock in the rain. And, although it looked amazing in 3D, the reason this part was the best was that it brought the entire audience back to the first time when they saw this movie. A time when they were innocent and wanted to rewind the tape and watch it all over again. Thankfully with this re-release we got to experience that feeling once more.

There weren’t many drawbacks to seeing this movie in a theater, but one of them was the price. I, along with millions of others, own this movie, but I paid eleven dollars to go see it another time. I’m a college student so I need to save money when I can. However, it was worth the money because I, and countless others, love watching this movie regardless.

Unfortunately, this limited re-release is over. But, everyone should buy The Lion King on Blu-ray in 3D, which is out now. VHS tapes won’t last forever and you bet I will be updating my Disney collection so that my future kids will watch it. This was a wonderful idea to show this fantastic movie in theaters again. I know that many of my peers went to see it, too. My generation’s bank account is in trouble if producers decide to allow limited releases of many more Disney movies in 3D. But, I won’t complain, I’ll go see them again and again.

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About Mary Beth Pearson