Monday, August 20, 2007

The Lion King

My friend Stef posted in her blog life through my iris a song from The Lion King. The name of the song is Endless Night. I had never seen The Lion King so Stef made me promise to watch it.

First I tried to rent it but the places I checked said they had it but all copies were out. I thought that was kind of impressive in itself since it has been 13 years since the movie was released. I finally bought a copy and it arrived this week.

Friday night is my respite night. So we had pizza and watched The Lion King.

One of the first things I noticed was that there really was not as much CGI as in more recent animated movies. I researched this. The stampede scene in the movie was an early use of CGI. The 2-1/2 minute scene took 5 specialists more than 2 years to create at the time. That means they probably began working on the scene in 1992. Computers and software and techniques have changed so drastically in 15 years.

Another thing I noticed was that the movie really does pursue complex themes many of which are rather mature.

Music is really an important part of the movie and is fabulous.

There are so many ways to think about the movie. It is a story about sin and redemption. The sin causes the entire kingdom to suffer and redemption restores the kingdom as well as the king. It is a story about coming of age and passing from childhood to adulthood. It is a story about love and sacrifice, about duty and responsibility, about good and evil, about temptation and escape, about chaos and harmony. There is even a political theme that one might pursue. One could even write about the theme "Your sin will find you out." There are more.

It is a wonderful story presented in an epic way. I enjoyed it immensely. I am certain I will watch it again. It is a movie that does not disappoint its reputation.

The Lion King, Mufasa, and his Lion Queen, Sarabi, are blessed with the birth of a cub, Simba.

Simba is innocent and trusting and eager to please. Scar, his father's brother and rival, is the opposite and does not hesitate to take advantage of Simba both before and after the murder of the King. Mufasa, the father, does not hesitate to act to save Simba the son even at the risk of his own life which is ultimately lost. Scar deceives Simba into accepting the blame for his father's death.

It appears that evil has triumphed over good.

And yet Simba is saved despite Scar's attempt to murder him. He flees both those who would kill him and his own guilt for disobeying and dishonoring his father. He rejects his identity, considering himself unworthy, and is desperately lost. He wanders in the wilderness where he meets two other outcasts, Timon and Pumbaa. He grows physically and adopts his friends' lifestyle, hakuna matata, kind of a live free, no worry philosophy. He does not realize it but it is during this time that he learns lessons of humility and loyalty and love. He even learns a kind of faith.

Eventually the time is right for him to establish his own identity. He feels so unworthy and he struggles. He does not want to leave his friends but he cannot ignore his own heritage and ancestry. It takes both the love of Nalala, his childhood girlfriend, and the wisdom of Rafiki, a shaman, to help him find his way. His physical growth is complemented by the emotional and the spiritual.

He takes his place but not without a battle and the outcome is never certain until the end. Simba has to defeat his own uncertainty, the enemy within, as well as Scar, the enemy without.

It is easy to understand the wide appeal of the movie. Who has not felt guilt and shame at one time or another? And who has not felt like an outcast? And the appeal of hakuma matata is universal as well. Everyone at some point wonders about her ancestors. We all eventually run into our own Scar and our own internal doubts and shortcomings.

But in the end Simba assumes his rightful place in the Circle of Life.

Thanks Stef.

6 comments:

nancy said...

i really enjoyed your post. i found myself humming along to hakuma matata as i was reading. it was a favorite disney movie of my boys when they were younger, i have a copy so i will try to watch it this week with russ. i agree, it has great music. i'll bet russ will be a tapping his foot to that!

~Betsy said...

The Lion King is one of my favorites - my kids', too. I like that these newer Disney movies tend to address more realistic life events instead of just fluff.

How's your dad today?

Lori1955 said...

I loved the Lion King but haven't seen it in years. Now you have me wanting to watch it again.

steflovesnonna said...

I am sooo glad you liked it. We are all just a part of the circle of life. Sometimes we need a reminder of that. My favorite character is Rafiki. He is so wise yet so silly. I love him.

By the way its Simba not Zimba. hehe I AM ONCE SO GLAD you liked it. :)

steflovesnonna said...

oh and my e-mail is: srd0626@rit.edu If you like I can email you some songs from the movie and the play. The music is just amazing. If you ever are in NYC and get to see a musical or if it travels to your area you must see it live. Its just so beautiful and moving. :)

flintysooner said...

Nancy - If you do watch it I really hope Russ enjoys it - and you, too.

Betsy - dad is back in bed and sleeping really soundly.

Lori - it is Stef's fault.

Stef - I like Rafiki, too. I changed Zimba to Simba! HA!! I'll send you an email.