The Lion King 3D is the first of many re-releases of Disney classics to be brought to us in glorious 3D.
We’ve become accustomed to knowing what to expect when we watch a Disney film, yet they still always manage to amaze in their delivery. Even 17 years after we first saw the original version of this classic, something new that was previously missed seems to jump off the screen at you, reminding us all why we love Disney productions.
The film opens and places the audience exactly where they need to be, written spectacularly in song, and allowing the perfect amount of exposition, remaining to this day one of the all-time great openings in cinema history. We follow Simba, as he takes the journey of life, fending off an evil uncle, finding a love interest, making new friends and after a wayward journey forgetting his past, returning to take what is rightfully his own. The narrative is fairly conventional following a Hamlet-inspired storyline, but The Lion King 3D grabs your attention from the very first minute, and the plot never slows from there.
What Disney achieve here (and what they always do), is to draw the audience in so they completely forget they’re watching an animation. Disney create something that is marketed at children, yet an adult can appreciate the film just as much, if not more, than the average child. The script is intelligent, hitting every mark at each act, and drawing us in for a suspenseful climax Hitchcock would be proud of (we almost believe the uncle will do it again!). The animation has lost nothing over the last 17 years, of course the quality of a Pixar picture is incomparable, but as for classic Disney animation it is standing the test of time. The classic Elton John soundtrack cannot be dismissed, and still remains as prominent and strong as ever.
The 3D works well, much better for example, than when 3D was added to Toy Story and Toy Story 2, where the 3D seemed more an attempt to draw in money than to actually produce a three dimensional film. The opening scenes and the stampede scene are two in particular that prove exactly why The Lion King 3D deserved it’s re-release.
It wasn’t a necessity and it doesn’t change a whole amount to the film, but 3D does work for The Lion King 3D. Even a re-release without the 3D would probably have drawn in the audiences all the same, with its powerful script, compelling characters and majestic visuals, The Lion King remains a true classic.