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The Lion King

The film's theatrical release poster by John Alvin[1]
Directed by Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Produced by Don Hahn
Written by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Starring Matthew Broderick
Jeremy Irons
James Earl Jones
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Nathan Lane
Ernie Sabella
Moira Kelly
Robert Guillaume
Rowan Atkinson
Whoopi Goldberg
Cheech Marin
Jim Cummings
Music by Songs:
Elton John
Tim Rice
Lebo M
Score:
Hans Zimmer
Editing by Ivan Bilancio
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) June 15, 1994[2]
Running time 87 minutes[2]
Language English
Budget $45,000,000[3]
Gross revenue $783,841,776[3]
Followed by The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. Released to theaters on June 15, 1994 by Walt Disney Pictures,[2] it is the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. The story, which was influenced by the Bible stories of Joseph and Moses and the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, takes place in a kingdom of anthropomorphic animals in Africa.[4] The film was the highest grossing animated film of all time until the release of Finding Nemo (a Disney/Pixar computer-animated film). The Lion King still holds the record as the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history[5] and belongs to an era known as the Disney Renaissance.[6]

The Lion King is the highest grossing 2D animated film of all time in the United States,[7] and received positive reviews from critics, who praised the film for its music and story. During its release in 1994, the film grossed more than $783 million worldwide, becoming the most successful film released that year, and it is currently the twenty-eighth highest-grossing feature film.

A musical film, The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with an original score by Hans Zimmer.[8] Disney later produced two related movies: a sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride; and a part prequel-part parallel, The Lion King 1½.

Contents

Plot

The Lion King takes place in the Pride Lands, where a lion rules over the other animals as king. Rafiki (Robert Guillame), a mandrill, anoints Simba, the newborn cub of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Queen Sarabi (Madge Sinclair), and presents him to a gathering of animals at Pride Rock.

Mufasa takes Simba (Johnathan Taylor Thomas) around the Pride Lands, teaching him about the "Circle of Life", the delicate balance affecting all living things. Simba's uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons), who desires the throne for himself, tells him about the elephant graveyard, a place where Mufasa has warned Simba not to go. Simba asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Nala (Niketa Calame). Their parents agree, but only if Mufasa's majordomo, the hornbill Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), goes with them. Simba and Nala elude Zazu's supervision and go to the graveyard instead. There, the cubs are met by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, spotted hyenas who try to kill them, but they are rescued by Mufasa, who was summoned by Zazu.

Meanwhile, Scar gains the loyalty of the hyenas by claiming that if he becomes king, they'll "never go hungry again." Some time later, Scar lures Simba into a gorge while the hyenas create a wildebeest stampede. Alerted by Scar, Mufasa races to rescue Simba from the stampede. He saves his son but is left clinging to the edge of a cliff, which results in Scar flinging him into the stampede below, where he is buried into the some of the wildebeests' horns, hit the ground with extreme force, and finally trampled to death by the wildebeest. Simba is convinced by Scar that he himself was responsible for his father's death and goes into exile. Scar once again sends Shenzi, Banzai and Ed to kill Simba, but he escapes. Scar informs the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede, and that he is assuming the throne as the next in line.

Simba is found unconscious by Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), a meerkat-warthog duo who adopt and raise the cub. When Simba has grown into an adult (Matthew Broderick) he is discovered by Nala (Moira Kelly). Simba shows Nala around his home and the two begin to fall in love. Nala then tells him that Scar has turned the Pride Lands into a barren wasteland; she asks Simba to return and take his place as king but Simba refuses. Rafiki arrives and persuades Simba to return to the Pride Lands, aided by Mufasa's presence in the stars.

Once back at Pride Rock, Simba (with Timon, Pumbaa and Nala) is horrified to see the condition of the Pride Lands. After seeing Scar strike his mother, Simba announces his return. In response, Scar tells the pride that Simba was responsible for Mufasa's death and corners Simba at the edge of Pride Rock. As Simba dangles over the edge of Pride Rock, Scar whispers to Simba that he killed Mufasa. Enraged, Simba leaps up and pins Scar to the ground, forcing him to admit the truth to the pride. A raging battle then ensues between the hyenas and the lionesses which results in Simba cornering Scar. Begging for mercy, Scar blames the hyenas for Mufasa's death, but Simba orders Scar to go into exile. Scar pretends to leave but turns to attack Simba, resulting in a final duel. Simba triumphs over his uncle by flipping him over a low cliff. Scar survives the fall but finds himself surrounded by the now-resentful hyenas, who attack and devour him. The film concludes with the Pride Lands turning green with life again and Rafiki presenting Simba and Nala's newborn cub.

Production

The production of The Lion King, originally titled King of the Jungle, took place at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Glendale, California, and Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. The original treatment, inspired by Hamlet, was written by Thomas M. Disch (author of The Brave Little Toaster), as “King of the Kalahari” in late 1988. Since his treatment was written as work-for-hire, Disch received no credit or royalties.[9] Thirteen supervising animators, both in California and Florida, were responsible for establishing the personalities and setting the tone for the film's main characters. Nearly 20 minutes of the film were animated at the Disney-MGM Studios.[10] Ultimately, more than 600 artists, animators and technicians contributed to the The Lion King over its lengthy production schedule. More than one million drawings were created for the film, including 1,197 hand-painted backgrounds and 119,058 individually colored frames of film.[10]

In April 1992, when Rob Minkoff joined the directing team, a session was held to revamp the story. Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, the directors responsible for Beauty and the Beast, also attended. For two days, the film's producer, Don Hahn, presided over the discussion that finally produced a character makeover for Simba and a radically revised second half of the film.[10] Screenwriter Irene Mecchi joined the team that summer to help further develop the characters and define their personalities. Several months later, she was joined by Jonathan Roberts in the rewriting process. Working together in the animation department and in conjunction with the directors and story team, they tackled the unresolved emotional issues in the script and also added many comic situations, with Pumbaa and Timon and with the hyenas.[10]

The character animators studied real-life animals for reference, as was done for the 1942 Disney film Bambi.[11] Jim Fowler, renowned wildlife expert, visited the studio on several occasions with an assortment of lions and other jungle inhabitants to discuss behavior and help the animators give their drawings an authentic feel. [10] To prepare the filmmakers, some of the lead production crew made a trip to Africa to better understand the environment for the film. The trip gave production designer Chris Sanders a new appreciation for the natural environments and inspired him to find ways to incorporate these elements into the design of the film.[10]

The use of computers helped the filmmakers present their vision in new ways. The most notable use of computer animation is in the "wildebeest stampede" sequence. Several distinct wildebeest characters were created in a 3D computer program, multiplied into hundreds, cel shaded to look like drawn animation, and given randomized paths down a mountainside to simulate the real, unpredictable movement of a herd. [12] Five specially trained animators and technicians spent more than two years creating the 2½ minute stampede sequence.[10]

At one time, factions of the Disney Feature Animation staff felt The Lion King was less important than Pocahontas, which was in production at the same time.[4] Most of the staff preferred to work on Pocahontas, believing it would be the more prestigious and successful of the two.[4] However, the strongly enthusiastic audience reception to an early Lion King film trailer which consisted solely of the opening sequence with the song, "Circle of Life," suggested that the film would be very successful. As it turns out, while both films were commercial successes, The Lion King received more positive feedback and larger grosses than Pocahontas.[13][14][15]

Music

Elton John and Tim Rice wrote five original songs for this film, with Elton John performing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" during the end credits. The film's score was composed by Hans Zimmer and supplemented with traditional African music and choir elements arranged by Lebo M.[16]

Songs

Here are the musical numbers in the original theatrical film, listed in the order of their occurrence:

  • "Circle of Life" is sung by an off-screen character voiced by Carmen Twillie, with African vocals by Lebo M and his African choir. This song is played during the ceremony where the newborn Simba is presented to the animals of the Pride Lands. The song is reprised at the end of the film, during the presentation of Simba and Nala's newborn cub.
  • "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is sung by young Simba (Jason Weaver), young Nala (Laura Williams), and Zazu (Rowan Atkinson). Simba uses this musical number in the film to distract Zazu so that he and Nala can sneak off to the elephant graveyard, at the same time expressing his wish to be king as soon as possible.
  • "Be Prepared" is sung by Scar (Jeremy Irons/Jim Cummings), Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), Banzai (Cheech Marin) and Ed (Jim Cummings). In this song, Scar reveals his plot to kill Mufasa and Simba to his hyena minions.
  • "Hakuna Matata" is sung by Timon (Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) and Simba (Jason Weaver as a cub and Joseph Williams as an adult). Timon and Pumbaa use this song as a warm welcome to Simba as he arrives at their jungle home, and to explain their "no worries" lifestyle. The sequence also contains a montage sequence in which Simba grows into a young adult, indicating the passage of time in Simba's life in the jungle. The American Film Institute released its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs list in 2004 and "Hakuna Matata" was listed at number 99.[17]
  • "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is a love song sung mainly by an off-screen character voiced by Kristle Edwards, along with Timon (Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), adult Simba (Joseph Williams) and adult Nala (Sally Dworsky). This musical sequence shows Timon and Pumbaa's frustration at seeing Simba fall in love, and the development of Simba and Nala's romantic relationship. The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song during the 67th Academy Awards.

Additionally, a song which was not present in the original theatrical film, was later added to the IMAX theater and to the DVD Platinum Edition release:

  • "The Morning Report" was originally a scene planned for the theatrical film but never made it past the storyboard stage. It was later cut and the song lyrics were written to be used for the live musical version of The Lion King instead.[18] It was later added, with an accompanying animated sequence, to the 2002 IMAX rerelease. Sung by Zazu (Jeff Bennett), Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and young Simba (Evan Saucedo), the song is an extension of the scene in the original film where Zazu delivers a morning report to Mufasa, and later gets pounced on by Simba.

Soundtrack and other albums

The film's original motion picture soundtrack was released on July 13, 1994. It was the fourth best-selling album of the year on the Billboard 200 and the top-selling soundtrack.[19]

On February 28, 1995, Disney released an album entitled Rhythm of the Pride Lands, which featured songs and performances inspired by, but not featured in, the film. Focusing on the African influences in the film's original music, most of the tracks were by African composer Lebo M, sung either partially or entirely in various African languages. Several songs included on the album would be used in other The Lion King-related projects, such as the stage musical and the direct-to-video sequels (e.g., "He Lives In You" was used as the opening song for The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and a reincarnation of "Warthog Rhapsody", called "That's All I Need", in The Lion King 1½). Rhythm of the Pride Lands was initially issued in a very limited quantity, but there was a 2003 rerelease included in some international versions of The Lion King's special edition soundtrack, with an additional track. Additionally, The Lion King Expanded Score contains never-before-released instrumental music from Hans Zimmer's original score.[20]

The compilation Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic includes "Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", "Hakuna Matata", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?", and "Be Prepared". The compilation Disney's Greatest Hits also includes "Circle of Life", "Hakuna Matata", and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?".

Release

Box office performance

The Lion King became the highest grossing motion picture of 1994 worldwide, and the second highest in the USA (behind Forrest Gump).[21] The film initially made US$312,855,561 domestically, including a short return to theaters in November 1994, and adding in its 2002 IMAX rerelease the domestic total is $328,541,776.[22] The Lion King held the record for the most successful animated feature film until 2003 when it was surpassed by the computer animated Finding Nemo, but it remains the highest grossing hand-drawn animated feature film.[5]

The Lion King box office revenue
Source Gross (USD)  % Total All Time Rank
Domestic $328,541,776[3] 41.9% 18[3]
Foreign $455,300,000[3] 58.1% N/A
Worldwide $783,841,776[3] 100.0% 24[3]

Critical reviews

The Lion King garnered critical acclaim and at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 61 reviews collected, the film has an overall approval rating of 92%, with a weighted average score of 8/10.[14] Among Rotten Tomatoes's Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs,[23] the film holds an overall approval rating of 100 percent.[24] By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized 0–100 rating to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 84 from the 13 reviews it collected.[25]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert called the film "a superbly drawn animated feature" and, in his print review wrote, "The saga of Simba, which in its deeply buried origins owes something to Greek tragedy and certainly to Hamlet, is a learning experience as well as an entertainment."[26] However, on the television program Siskel & Ebert the film was praised but received a mixed reaction when compared to previous Disney films. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both gave the film a "Thumbs Up" but Siskel said that it was not as good as earlier films such as Beauty and the Beast and was "a good film, not a great one".[27] Hal Hinson of The Washington Post called it "an impressive, almost daunting achievement" and felt that the film was "spectacular in a manner that has nearly become commonplace with Disney's feature-length animations", but was less enthusiastic toward the end of his review saying, "Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope, it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange."[28] Owen Gleiberman, film critic for Entertainment Weekly, praised the film and wrote that it "has the resonance to stand not just as a terrific cartoon but as an emotionally pungent movie".[29] Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers praised the film and felt that it was "a hugely entertaining blend of music, fun and eye-popping thrills, though it doesn't lack for heart".[30] The staff of TV Guide wrote that "The film has some of Disney's most spectacular animation yet—particularly in the wildebeest stampede—and strong vocal performances, especially by skilled Broadway comedian Nathan Lane. However, it suffers from a curiously undeveloped story line."[31] James Berardinelli, film critic for ReelViews, praised the film saying, "With each new animated release, Disney seems to be expanding its already-broad horizons a little more. The Lion King is the most mature (in more than one sense) of these films, and there clearly has been a conscious effort to please adults as much as children. Happily, for those of us who generally stay far away from 'cartoons', they have succeeded."[32] In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "10 Top 10"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Lion King was acknowledged as the fourth best film in the animation genre.[33]

Awards and nominations

The Lion King received many award nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Original Score (by Hans Zimmer) and the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, both of which it won. Most notably, the song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John and Tim Rice won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, the BMI Film Music Award, and the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance Male.

The awards were as follows:

1995 release

The Lion King was first released on VHS and laserdisc in the United States on March 3, 1995, under Disney's "Masterpiece Collection" video series. In addition, Deluxe Editions of both formats were released. The VHS Deluxe Edition included the film, an exclusive lithograph of Rafiki and Simba (in some editions), a commemorative "Circle of Life" epigraph, six concept art lithographs, another tape with the half-hour TV show The Making of The Lion King, and a certificate of authenticity. The CAV laserdisc Deluxe Edition also contained the film, six concept art lithographs and The Making of The Lion King, and added storyboards, character design artwork, concept art, rough animation, and a directors' commentary that the VHS edition did not have, on a total of four double sided disks. The VHS tape quickly became one of the best-selling videotapes of all time: 4.5 million tapes were sold on the first day[45] and ultimately sales totaled more than 30 million[46] before these home video versions went into moratorium in 1997.[47]

2003 Platinum Edition

On October 7, 2003, the film was rereleased on VHS and released on DVD for the first time, titled The Lion King: Platinum Edition, as part of Disney's Platinum Edition line of animated classic DVDs. The DVD release featured two versions of the film on the first disc, a remastered version created for the 2002 IMAX release and an edited version of the IMAX release purporting to be the original 1994 theatrical version.[48] A second disc, with bonus features, was also included in the DVD release. The film's soundtrack was provided both in its original Dolby 5.1 track and in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, making this one of the first Disney DVDs so equipped.[49] By means of seamless branching, the film could be viewed either with or without a newly-created scene — a short conversation in the film replaced with a complete song ("The Morning Report"). A Special Collector's Gift Set was also released, containing the DVD set, five exclusive lithographed character portraits (new sketches created and signed by the original character animators), and an introductory book entitled The Journey.[47]

The Platinum Edition of The Lion King was criticized by fans for its false advertising: producer Don Hahn had earlier stated that the film would be in its original 1994 theatrical version, but it was confirmed after release that it was the "digitally enhanced" IMAX version instead, which is slightly different from the original theatrical cut. One of the most noticeable differences is the re-drawn crocodiles in the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence.[48] Despite this criticism, more than two million copies of the Platinum Edition DVD and VHS units were sold on the first day of release.[45] A DVD boxed set of the three The Lion King films (in two-disc Special Edition formats) was released on December 6, 2004. In January 2005, the film, along with the sequels, went back into moratorium,[50] but new and used copies still sell very well.[51]

Future re-release

Disney has yet to announce a date for the Blu-ray Disc release, although the studio showed clips of the film on Blu-ray at the Consumer Electronics Show 2008.[52]

Controversies

Story origin

Comparison of Kimba the White Lion (left) and The Lion King on Pride Rock (right)

The Lion King was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story, rather than being based on an already-existing story.[4][10] The filmmakers have said that the story of The Lion King was inspired by the Joseph and Moses stories from the Bible and William Shakespeare's Hamlet.[4] Certain elements of the film, however, bear a resemblance to a famous 1960s Japanese anime television show, Kimba the White Lion.[53] One similarity is the protagonists' names: Kimba and Simba, although the word "simba" means "lion" in Swahili.[54] Many characters in Kimba have an analogue in The Lion King and various individual scenes are nearly identical in composition and camera angle. Matthew Broderick, the voice of Simba, believed initially that he was in fact working on a remake of Kimba, since he was familiar with the Japanese original.[55] Early production artwork on the film's Platinum Edition DVD even includes a white lion.[56] Disney's official stance is that the similarities are all coincidental.[57]

Yoshihiro Shimizu, of Tezuka Productions, which created Kimba the White Lion, has refuted rumours that the studio was paid hush money by Disney but explains that they rejected urges from within the industry to sue because, 'we're a small, weak company. It wouldn't be worth it anyway... Disney's lawyers are among the top twenty in the world!'[58]

Christopher Vogler, in his book The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, described Disney's request that he suggest how to improve the plot of The Lion King by incorporating ideas from Hamlet.[59] It has also been noted that the plot bears some resemblance to the West African Epic of Sundiata.[60]

Alleged subliminal messaging

The supposed "SEX" frame

In one scene of the film's original VHS and LaserDisc releases, it appears as if the word "SEX" might have been embedded into the dust flying in the sky when Simba flops down,[61] which conservative activist Donald Wildmon asserted was a subliminal message intended to promote sexual promiscuity. The film's animators, however, have stated that the letters spell "SFX" (a common abbreviation of "special effects"), and was intended as an innocent "signature" created by the effects animation team.[62] Due to the controversy it had caused, the scene was edited for the film's 2003 DVD and VHS releases, and the dust no longer formed any letters.[63]

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

The use of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in a scene with Timon and Pumbaa has led to disputes between Disney and the family of South African Solomon Linda, who composed the song (originally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In July 2004, the family filed suit, seeking $1.6 million in royalties from Disney. In February 2006, Linda's heirs reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights and had licensed the song to Disney for an undisclosed amount of money.[64]

Hamas propaganda

In August 2007, the Hamas organization produced an animated propaganda film that resembled the style of The Lion King. The program was aired via their television station, Al-Aqsa TV. Hamas was portrayed as a lion that chased and killed rats that bore the likenesses of members of the secular Fatah organization in Gaza. The program was briefly aired but was pulled off the air for revision.[65][66]

Portrayal of hyenas

A number of Disney studios artists spent two days observing and sketching captive Spotted Hyenas maintained at the Field Station for Behavioural Research in the hills above the University of California's Berkeley campus. Dr. Laurence Frank, and other scientists who had organised the visit, expressed a strong request that the portrayal of the hyenas featured in The Lion King be positive. The artists responded that they would do their best to make the hyenas appear more comical than evil.[67] The resulting portrayal did not impress most hyena biologists: one hyena researcher sued Disney studios for defamation of character[68], and in conclusion to a spotted hyena fact sheet written for African Geographic in May 2006, Dr. Frank included boycotting The Lion King as a way of helping preserve hyenas in the wild.[69] Hyena researcher Stephen Glickman wrote: "In both Hemingway and The Lion King there is an emphasis on greed, gluttony, and stupidity that is ultimately designed to be comical. This reaches its "pinnacle" when a hyena [Ed] feeds on its own body, as described in The Green Hills of Africa and in the American children's computer game based on the movie."[67]

Condemnation was also launched by film critics and cultural analysts, some of whom saw the portrayals of the hyenas as underlying a low class and that their upholding of cultural stereotypes by sporting African American (Shenzi) and Latin American (Banzai) accents, as opposed to the American and British accents of the main characters, was racist.[70][71][72] Film analyst Matt Roth described the film as a "the spadework for the ugly principles it [Disney] feels it must implant in each new generation."[73]

Sequels and spin-offs

The success of the film led to the development of a franchise that compromises several sequels, spin-offs, video games and other merchandise. Additionally, characters from the film have made appearances in other Disney media such as Disney's House of Mouse or the Kingdom Hearts series of video games.

Impact on popular culture

Because of its popularity, The Lion King has been referenced in a variety of media. For instance, the animated TV series The Simpsons spoofed the film in the episode "'Round Springfield". Toward the end of the episode, the ghost of Mufasa appears in the clouds with Bleeding Gums Murphy (who had died earlier that episode) and Darth Vader, and James Earl Jones (who voiced both Mufasa and Darth Vader) says, "This is CNN. You must avenge my death, Kimba... dah, I mean Simba," a reference to the Lion King/Kimba the White Lion controversy.[74] Simba and Nala's escapade to the elephant graveyard was mentioned in a Season 2 episode of House.

Disney also frequently referenced The Lion King in its own films and shows. For example, in the Disney-released, Pixar-produced 1995 computer animated film Toy Story, the song "Hakuna Matata" can be heard playing in Andy's car during the film's climax.[75] Pumbaa made a cameo in Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996),[76] and Hercules (1997) paid homage to both The Lion King and the Nemean lion: Scar's skin is worn by the title character while he is posing for a painting on a Greek vase.[77]

References

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  44. ^ "Kids' Choice Awards, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Kids_Choice_Awards_USA/1995. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
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  53. ^ "Comparison screen-shots of The Lion King and Kimba the White Lion". Kimbawlion.com. http://www.kimbawlion.com/rant2.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-07. 
  54. ^ As shown in a search for either term at Online Swahili - English Dictionary.
  55. ^ Schweizer, Peter and Rochelle Schweizer. Disney: The Mouse Betrayed: Greed, corruption, and children at risk, Regnery, Washington, D.C., 1998. Chapter 11 "The Lyin' King," pp. 167-168.
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  61. ^ "The alleged "SEX" frame in The Lion King". Snopes. http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lionking.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
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  64. ^ "Disney settles Lion song dispute". BBC News. 2006-02-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4721564.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  65. ^ Nidal al-Mughrabi (2007-09-04). "Hamas "Lion King" cartoon re-enacts Gaza takeover". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSB569000. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  66. ^ "Hamas battle cartoon mimics "Lion King"". International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-24. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/24/africa/ME-GEN-Palestinians-Hamas-Lion-King.php. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  67. ^ a b The spotted hyena from Aristotle to the Lion King: reputation is everything - In the Company of Animals, Social Research, Fall, 1995 by Stephen E. Glickman
  68. ^ The good,the bad and the hyena by James Mcpherson
  69. ^ Girl Power, Laurence D. Frank, African Geographic
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  71. ^ The Death of Art, by Bhesham R. Sharma, published by the University Press of America, 2006
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  73. ^ The Lion King: A short history of Disney-fascism by Matt Roth from Jump Cut, no. 40, March 1996, pp. 15-20
  74. ^ Scott Chernoff (2007-07-24). "I Bent My Wookiee! Celebrating the Star Wars/Simpsons Connection". Lucas Online. http://www.starwars.com/community/news/media/f20070724/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
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  77. ^ "Hercules Easter Egg". The Easter Egg Archive. http://www.eeggs.com/items/1306.html. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Lion King is a 1994 animated film in which a lion cub and heir to the throne of Pride Rock learns his place in the world. It centers on a guilt ridden lion cub who, after being tricked into thinking he killed his father, flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.

Directed by Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff. Screenplay by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Songs by Tim Rice and Elton John. Disney later produced two related movies: a sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride; and a part prequel-part parallel, The Lion King 1½.

Contents

Sarabi

  • It's over, there is nothing left! We have only one choice. We must leave Pride Rock! [Scar: We're not going anywhere!] Then you have sentenced us to death!
  • If you were half the king Mufasa was, you – [Interrupted by Scar hitting her]
  • Scar there's no food. We must leave Priderock!

Scar

  • [First lines, spoken to a mouse he's about to eat] Life's not fair, is it? You see, I … well, I shall never be king. And you … shall never see the light of another day. Adieu.
  • A monkey's uncle.
  • You run along now, and have fun. And remember: it's our little secret.
  • Run away, Simba. Run. Run away, and never return.
  • [To the hyenas, resulting in Simba's exile] Kill him.
  • I'm ten times the king Mufasa was!
  • [Slowly] Yes … of course. As you wish, your majesty! [Slaps ash into Simba's face, then attacks him]

Cast

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

The Lion King
Directed by Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Produced by Don Hahn
Written by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Starring Matthew Broderick
Jeremy Irons
James Earl Jones
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Nathan Lane
Ernie Sabella
Moira Kelly
Robert Guillaume
Rowan Atkinson
Whoopi Goldberg
Cheech Marin
Jim Cummings
Music by Songs:
Elton John
Tim Rice
Lebo M
Score:
Hans Zimmer
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) June 15, 1994 (selected cities)
June 24, 1994 (general)
November 18, 1994 (re-release)
December 25, 2002 (IMAX re-release Special Edition)
Running time 90 minutes
Language English
Budget $79,300,000 (estimated)[1]
Gross revenue $783,841,776[2]
Followed by The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

The Lion King is a 1994 animated Disney movie that was the most successful animated movie of the 1990s. The movie is about a young lion prince who learns about his place on the throne of Pride Rock and his role in the circle of life. It is dedicated to Frank Wells, who was the president of The Walt Disney Company until his death just a few months before the movie was released into theaters on June 15, 1994. It was the first full-length Disney movie to feature no human characters since Bambi. Unlike previous Disney animated movies, much of the voice acting work was done by well-known actors, including James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Nathan Lane. It is a musical; the songs have music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. Computer animation was used a lot in the creation of the movie, especially during the "Circle of Life" and stampede sequences. During production, this movie was considered a secondary project compared to the next movie scheduled, Pocahontas. However, as the movie was being marketed, the studio noticed that the released teaser which consisted of the entire opening sequence featuring the song, Circle of Life, was getting a strongly reaction from audiences. Furthermore, when the movie was in limited release in two major theatres, the movie did very impressive business which suggested that this "secondary project" promised to be popular. Upon general release, the movie more than confirmed that suspicion by becoming the most successful movie of the year worldwide (in the United States, Forrest Gump was most successful of that year) and the most successful animated feature film of all time until Finding Nemo. Since then, Shrek 2 has surpassed Finding Nemo making The Lion King the third most successful.

The movie was also made into an award-winning stage musical. The stage show first opened on November 13, 1997 in New York City, and was a big success. A version opened later in London, England. Many other shows of The Lion King have been shown across the world.

Contents

The story

In the film's opening scene, a number of animals gather at Pride Rock to see Simba, the new prince who has just been born. Simba is the son of Mufasa and Sarabi. Rafiki picks up Simba and lifts him high up so that all of the animals can see. The animals celebrate and rejoice. But Scar, Mufasa's brother, is jealous because Simba will be king instead of him.

Scar lies to Simba about a dangerous place called the Elephant Graveyard. Scar says that only brave lions go there, causing Simba to be interested, even though Mufasa has forbidden Simba from going there. Simba lies to his mother, Sarabi, about going to the Water Hole when he is actually going to the Elephant Graveyard. Simba's friend Nala and Zazu, the king's friend, go with Simba. Simba and Nala trick Zazu with the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King" and run away from him. Simba and Nala find the Elephant Graveyard but are chased by the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Mufasa saves his son and Nala and takes them both home. Mufasa speaks to Simba alone and explains to Simba that being brave is not about looking for danger. He also explains that the great kings of the past look down from the stars and watch over Simba. Scar, in the Elephant Graveyard, is angry with the hyenas because they did not kill Simba. It is revealed that the hyenas are working for Scar during Scar's song "Be Prepared".

The next day Scar takes Simba into a gorge (long, deep hole in the ground - also known as a "valley") where he explains that Mufasa has a wonderful surprise waiting. Scar has actually planned a wildebeest stampede with the hyenas. Simba is trapped in the gorge as the wildebeest run towards him. Scar tells Mufasa that Simba is in trouble and Mufasa rescues his son. Scar then throws Mufasa into the stampede and Mufasa dies. Scar blames Simba for the death of Mufasa and Simba runs away. Scar becomes king and tells everyone that Simba and Mufasa are dead. Simba runs to a desert and collapses. He is rescued by Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Timon and Pumbaa live in the jungle and are very relaxed, which they show in their song "Hakuna Matata". Timon and Pumbaa look after Simba until Simba is an adult lion.

One day a lioness (female lion) comes to the jungle and tries to kill and eat Pumbaa. Simba fights the lioness because he wants to save Pumbaa's life. While the two lions are fighting Simba finds out that the lioness is his friend Nala. They are very happy to see each other and they fall in love. Nala wants Simba to go home and fight Scar because Scar is a bad king. Simba will not go home because he thinks that he killed Mufasa and he does not want his family to know. Rafiki comes to the jungle and takes Simba to a field. In the sky above the field Mufasa's ghost appears and tells Simba that he must go home because Simba is the right king. After this Simba goes home to Pride Rock. Nala, Timon and Pumbaa follow him. When they get to Pride Rock they find that the land is dry and the animals have gone.

At Pride Rock Simba sees Scar hitting Sarabi. This makes Simba angry and he tries to make Scar leave Pride Rock. Scar does not leave and makes Simba fall over the edge of Pride Rock. Simba does not fall and holds on to the edge. Scar thinks that he was won so he tells Simba the truth about the death of Mufasa - that Scar actually killed Mufasa. Simba is upset and a big fight happens. The lionesses fight the hyenas and Simba fights Scar. While the fighting is going on lightning hits a dead tree and starts a fire. Scar and Simba fight on top of Pride Rock. Scar does not want to die and lies to Simba that the hyenas are to blame for everything. Another fight happens and Simba throws Scar over the edge. Scar does not die after the fall, but the hyenas attack and kill him the hyenas are angry that Scar blamed them. Rain falls and puts out the fire. Simba walks to the top of Pride Rock and roars. Much later the animals come back. At the end of the movie Rafiki picks up Simba and Nala's son and lifts him up high above Pride Rock so the animals below can see.

Characters

  • Mufasa - King of the Pridelands, father of Simba and husband of Sarabi (Cast as Erin Sattler)
  • Simba - The future king of the Pridelands, who was sent away by his uncle Scar
  • Nala - Friend and future wife of Simba
  • Scar - Brother of Mufasa and Simba's uncle
  • Sarabi - Mother of Simba and Mufasa's wife
  • Rafiki - Baboon or mandrill shaman (Cast as Larna Staley)
  • Timon and Pumbaa - A meerkat and a warthog who adopt Simba
  • Zazu - A hornbill who is King Mufasa's friend
  • Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed - Three hyenas who help Scar to kill Mufasa and chase Simba away

Voices

Actor Role(s)
Matthew Broderick Simba
James Earl Jones Mufasa
Jeremy Irons Scar
Jonathan Taylor Thomas Young Simba
Nathan Lane Timon
Ernie Sabella Pumbaa
Robert Guillaume Rafiki
Moira Kelly Nala
Rowan Atkinson Zazu
Whoopi Goldberg Shenzi
Cheech Marin Banzai
Jim Cummings Ed
The Mole [3]
Madge Sinclair Sarabi
Niketa Calame Young Nala
Zoe Leader Sarafina (Nala's mother)

Singing voices

Singer Role
Jason Weaver
Evan Saucedo (The Morning Report)
Young Simba
Joseph Williams Simba
Laura Williams Young Nala
Sally Dworsky Nala
Jeff Bennett Zazu (The Morning Report)
Jim Cummings Scar (last part of Be Prepared)

Supervising animators

Animator Character(s)
Ruben A. Aquino Simba
Tony Fucile Mufasa
Andreas Deja Scar
Mark Henn Young Simba
Michael Surrey Timon
Tony Bancroft Pumbaa
James Baxter Rafiki
Anthony DeRosa Nala
Ellen Woodbury Zazu
David Burgess
Alex Kupershmidt
Shenzi
Banzai
Ed
Russ Edmonds Sarabi
Aaron Blaise Young Nala

Crew

Crew Position
Directed by Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Produced by Don Hahn
Written by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Executive Producers Thomas Schumacher
Sarah McArthur
Songs by Sir Tim Rice
Sir Elton John
Original Score by Hans Zimmer
Associate Producer Alcie Dewey
Art Director Andy Gaskill
Production Designer Christopher Sanders
Film Editors John Carnochan
Tom Finan
Artistic Supervisors Brenda Chapman (Story supervisor)
Dan St. Pierre (Layout supervisor)
Doug Ball (Background supervisor)
Vera Lanpher (Clean-up supervisors)
Scott Santoro (Effects supervisor)
Scott F. Johnston (Computer Graphics supervisor)
Artistic Coordinator Randy Fullmer
Supervising Animators Mark Henn (Young Simba)
Ruben A. Aquino (Adult Simba)
Andreas Deja (Scar)
Tony Fucile (Mufasa)
Tony Bancroft (Pumbaa)
Michael Surrey (Timon)
Aaron Blaise (Young Nala)
Anthony de Rosa (Adult Nala)
Ellen Woodbury (Zazu)
Russ Edmonds (Sarabi)
James Baxter (Rafiki)
David Burgess & Alex Kuperschmidt (Banzai/Shenzi/Ed)
Production Manager Dana Axelrod

Box office performance

Source Gross (USD)  % Total All Time Rank
Domestic $328,541,776 ($312,855,561 initially) 41.9% 16
Foreign $455,300,000 58.1% N/A
Worldwide $783,841,776[4] 100.0% 19
Domestic Opening Weekend $40,888,194 13.1% 99
Domestic Adjusted (2007) $508,185,200 N/A 24

Awards and nominations

The Lion King received many award nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Original Score (by Hans Zimmer) and the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, both of which it won. The song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John and Tim Rice won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, the BMI Film Music Award, and the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance Male.

These are the awards:

  • Academy Awards[5]
  • Golden Globe Awards[6]
    • Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (Won)
    • Best Original Score (Won)
    • Best Original Song for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Won)
    • Best Original Song for "Circle of Life" (Nominated)
  • Annie Awards[7]
    • Best Animated Feature (Won)
    • Best Achievement for Voice Acting to Jeremy Irons for voicing Scar (Won)
    • Best Individual Achievement for Story Contribution in the Field of Animation (Won)
    • Best Individual Achievement for Artistic Excellence in the Field of Animation (Nominated, lost to The Nightmare Before Christmas.)
  • Saturn Awards[8]
    • Best Fantasy Film (Nominated, lost to Forrest Gump.)
    • Best Performance by a Younger Actor to Jonathan Taylor Thomas for voicing young Simba (Nominated, lost to Kirsten Dunst for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles.)
    • Best DVD Classic Film Release in 2004 (Nominated, lost to The Adventures of Robin Hood.)
  • British Academy Film Awards[9]
    • Award for Best Sound (Nominated, lost to Speed.)
    • Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music (Nominated, lost to Backbeat.)
  • BMI Film & TV Awards[10]
    • BMI Film Music Award for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Won)
    • Most Performed Song from a Film "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Won)
  • Grammy Award[11]
    • Best Vocal Performance Male to Elton John for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Won)
    • Song of the Year for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Nominated, lost to "Streets of Philadelphia" from Philadelphia.)
    • Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Nominated, lost to "Streets of Philadelphia" from Philadelphia.)
    • Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for "Circle of Life" (Nominated, lost to "Streets of Philadelphia" from Philadelphia.)
    • Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television (Nominated, lost to Schindler's List.)
  • MTV Movie Awards[12]
    • Best Villain for Jeremy Irons (Nominated, lost to Dennis Hopper for Speed.)
    • Best Song From A Movie for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Nominated, lost to "Big Empty" from The Crow.)
  • Kids' Choice Awards[13]
    • Favorite Movie (Won)

Sequels and spin-offs

The Lion King was so successful that Disney created a sequel called The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and a television series called The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa. A second sequel, The Lion King 1½, was released on February 10, 2004.

The Lion King had a special edition that was released in IMAX cinemas.

Controversies

"SEX"

In one scene of the movie it looks as if animators had written the word "sex" into some of the frames of animation. However, they wanted to show the letters "SFX" (meaning "special effects"). In the The Lion King DVD the word has been taken out.

Kimba the White Lion

'Kimba the White Lion' is an animated TV show from the 1960s. It was made in Japan by Osamu Tezuka. Some characters and parts of the story in The Lion King are similar to Kimba the White Lion but Disney has said that it was not done on purpose.[14]

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

In one scene with Timon and Pumbaa they both sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". This has caused disputes between Disney and the family of South African Solomon Linda, who composed the song (originally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In July 2004, the family went to court, seeking $1.6 million in royalties from Disney. In February 2006, Linda's heirs (family) reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights and had licensed the song to Disney for an undisclosed amount of money.[15]

Hidden racism

Upon its release, some critics complained that the hyenas in the movie were negative (bad) racial stereotypes of African-American people and Hispanic people.[16] It has been said that "despicable hyena storm troopers speak...in racially coded accents that take on the nuances of the discourse of a decidedly urban, black, and Latino youth." [17]

Hamas' propaganda

In August 2007, the Hamas terrorist group produced an animated propaganda (information) movie that made fun of the style of The Lion King. The programme was shown on their television station, Al-Aqsa TV. Hamas was shown as a lion that chased and killed rats that looked like members of the secular (separate from religion) Fatah group in Gaza. The programme was shown for a short time but was taken off the air for changes.[18][19]

Songs

  • "Circle of Life"
  • "I Just Can't Wait to Be King"
  • "Be Prepared"
  • "Hakuna Matata"
  • "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"
  • "The Bait Song" (Timon & Pumbaa's Hula)

Titles in other languages

References

  1. "The Lion King business data". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110357/business. Retrieved 2006-08-22. 
  2. "Lion King budget". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=lionking.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  3. Grant, John. Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters - Encyclopedia, 3rd edition hardcover. New York City: Hyperion Books, 1998. ISBN 0-7868-6336-6
  4. "All-Time Worldwide Box Office". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross?region=world-wide. Retrieved 17 September 2006. 
  5. "Academy Awards, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Academy_Awards_USA/1995. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  6. "SEARCH - Lion King, The". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. http://www.goldenglobes.org/browse/film/25384. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  7. "Legacy: 22nd Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (1994)". Annie Awards. http://annieawards.org/22ndwinners.html. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  8. "Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Academy_of_Science_Fiction_Fantasy_And_Horror_Films_USA/1995. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  9. "BAFTA Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/BAFTA_Awards/1995. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  10. "BMI Film & TV Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/BMI_Film_And_TV_Awards/1995. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  11. "Grammy Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Grammy_Awards/1995. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  12. "MTV Movie Awards: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/MTV_Movie_Awards/1995. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  13. "Kids' Choice Awards, USA: 1995". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Kids_Choice_Awards_USA/1995. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  14. Hong, Peter (2002-05-19). "The Lion King/Kimba controversy". Los Angeles Times. pp. L4. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/120586440.html?dids=120586440:120586440&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=May+19%2C+2002&author=PETER+HONG&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=L.4&desc=Weekend+Escape%3B+Before+Silicon+Valley%2C+There+Was+San+Jose%3B+Seeking+out+history%2C+Asian+and+otherwise%2C+in+California%27s+oldest+city. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  15. "Disney settles Lion song. dispute". BBC news. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4721564.stm.. Retrieved 31 August 2006. 
  16. http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/film_review.asp?ID=832
  17. http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/courses/ed253a/Giroux/Giroux2.html
  18. Nidal al-Mughrabi (September 4, 2007). "Hamas "Lion King" cartoon re-enacts Gaza takeover". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSB569000. Retrieved 2007-11-14. 
  19. "Hamas battle cartoon mimics "Lion King"". International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-24. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/24/africa/ME-GEN-Palestinians-Hamas-Lion-King.php. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 

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