The Lion King
In the animation film genre, to really be considered a “masterpiece”; the film must appeal to both children and adults, shouldn’t always be based off typical fairy tales and children’s stories, and should “heavily impact its generation of viewers” (Reddy).
Where does The Lion King stand as a classic, against other old-time favorites such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and other hits? Well, you can take a look at the 22 awards and nominations the movie received and decide for yourself (IMDb).
Directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff do an excellent job, in my opinion, presenting the story of a lion cub's journey to adulthood and acceptance of his royal destiny. The new Disney story opens with a spectacular celebration in honor of Simba (voice of Jonathon Taylor Thomas as a child and Matthew Broderick as an adult), the newborn prince, son of the powerful king Mufasa (the voice of James Earl Jones) (IMDb). The cub's happy childhood turns tragic when his evil uncle, Scar (voice of Jeremy Irons), murders Mufasa then convinces Simba that he was at fault for his father’s death. This immediately drives Simba away from the kingdom. In exile, the young lion befriends the comical pair of Pumbaa (voice of Ernie Sabella) the warthog and Timon (voice of Nathan Lane) the meerkat and lives a carefree jungle life. As he approaches adulthood, he is visited by the spirit of his father, who instructs him to defeat Scar and reclaim his rightful throne (Howe).
One of The Lion King's greatest strengths is its appeal to both children and adult audiences (Null). The story is typically darker than previous Disney films, revolving around the difficult choice Simba must make to balance his desire to live a life of freedom or to live up to his responsibility as the true King of the Pride Lands (Reddy). The Lion King is primarily about guilt and redemption (Berardinelli). “Though it is rated G, The Lion King features numerous scenes of peril and death” which...
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