Thursday, September 22, 2011

"The Lion King" a cherished masterpiece

BASIC INFO:
TITLE: "The Lion King"
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1994
DIRECTOR: Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff
STARS: Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons
EDITOR: Ivan Bilancio
AWARDS: Best Music, Original Score (Oscar), Best Music, Original Song (Can You Feel the Love Tonight) (Oscar)
BOX OFFICE: $771,900,000 (Worldwide)
RUN TIME: 89 min.
RATING: G
VIEWING FORMAT: 35 mm. film print

SUMMARY:
When King Mufasa (Jones) is killed by his brother Scar (Irons), his son, Simba (Thomas & Broderick) runs away to escape shame. After being absent for years, he returns to his home to find it destroyed by corruption. Simba has one last chance to honor his father's memory, and claim his birthright from his uncle.

WHY THIS IS THE FILM OF THE WEEK:
"The Lion King" is often regarded as one of the best animated films of all time. It is one of only three animated films to win a Golden Globe for Best Picture (the other two being "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) and "Toy Story 2" (1999)). The film also won two Oscars for it's musical achievements, and went on to become one of the best selling home videos of all time.

This film gained almost universal critical acclaim upon its release, and still holds an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. It please audiences as well, and became the top grossing film of the year, beating the worldwide gross of even "Forrest Gump" (1994).

Its status as a family classic was cemented when it not only broke records in its initial theatrical run, but also in home distribution sales (selling 4.5 million tapes on its first day). It also went on to be the first re-release since 1997's release of "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"(1983) to claim the top of the box office, garnering over 30 million dollars last weekend alone.

CRITIQUE:
Stats can only say so much. This film is a classic because it is a character driven, action packed, funny, family drama. The tale borrows elements from Shakespeare, African folklore, Judeo-Christian mythology, and even classic Japanese cartoons, to blend into a story that many find believable and beautiful.

The hero's journey that Simba takes, after being condemned by his uncle, is a classic tale told in many mythologies, and oft repeated in film. The mixture of incredible animation, song-writing, humor, and fun characters keeps the audience tear-filled and enticed the whole way through.

This is not just a family film. It is not just for children. This is a classic in its own right, and deserves to be seen by all. The term "movie magic" has never meant so much. A delightful experience for young and old, men and women, people of all different cultures. This is a film worth celebrating.

MY IMDb RATING:  10 out of 10

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