Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Movie Review: The Lion King 3D

So from my past reviews, it probably doesn't take a genius to figure out my opinions of Disney as a company.

"Anyone who takes a break longer than three seconds will be shot."

And let's be honest, here - Disney hasn't made any really spectacular movies lately, have they? I mean, yeah, their name is on some movies that are decent and some that are even good, but it's not like they're breaking any new ground or creating masterpieces of film. Indeed, in recent years it's seemed like Disney's films have just been fading quietly into the night, just a former shadow of the company they once were. That's not to say that the company itself is doing poorly - Disney is such a massive corporate powerhouse that it will take more than a lack of great films to bring it down. But their movies once were such integral parts of our culture and our childhoods that it was almost impossible to meet someone who hadn't seen at least one of their new films. Now, they don't have the same cultural impact that they once did... at least, that's what I thought for a while.

When I first saw that they were re-releasing The Lion King in theaters with a 3D "upgrade" I was pretty horrified, to be honest. I don't know about any of you, but I've never watched Lion King (or any other Disney classic, for that matter) and said to myself: "You know what this needs? A little more third dimension." I, and many people who I talked to prior to it's coming out in theaters, thought that it was just another shameless cash-grab on behalf of the Disney Overmind.

"First, we make a movie. Then we make stuffed animals. And a sequel. And when the money starts slowing down too much, were-release it. That's the circle of profit."

I wasn't actually ever considering seeing this. I mean, The Lion King was a good movie and, though I hadn't seen it in many years, I figured I could just as easily wait until any child of mine was old enough to see it. But circumstances arose that this was the only movie in theaters I wanted to see when my fiance and I were out on a date, so we set the cash down and watched it.

And then I remembered that The Lion King wasn't a good movie.

It was a bloody masterpiece.

And that wasn't the only big surprise that I was met with as I saw, mouth agape, in the movie theater.

If you could see beneath the glasses, you'd know my eyes were the size of dinner plates.

The 3D wasn't just a gimmick. It wasn't just a slapdash thing put in place last minute to make the Overmind's harsh profit margin demands. It was a meticulous labor of love, and it looked absolutely spectacular.

Disney's retelling of the classic Shakespearean tale of Hamlet doesn't require a recap or a synopsis. Everyone here has certainly already seen it at some point in their lifetime. The reason for this is because The Lion King, as I was dramatically reminded, is a true masterpiece of animated storytelling. The visuals are stunning, and the music is nothing short of legendary. Having the opportunity to see this film in theaters alone is worth the money you'd spend, but to my great surprise the 3D actually succeeds in adding a layer of depth to the beauty of the world that The Lion King crafts. From the majestic opening sequence of The Circle of Life to the harsh, threatening power of Be Prepared, the 3D takes the already stunning visuals and takes them to a whole new level... or dimension, if you will.

But what this really represents is Disney reminding us that just because they haven't made a true masterpiece in a while does not mean that they are fading away into obscurity. They have multiple masterpieces of animation on their cinematic resume, and while they may be old, they still have influence on our culture today. While I may not like Disney, I can in no way deny that they are still incredibly important to us today. After all - what movies will we show our children when they're growing up?

Yeah, that's my answer, too.

In short, The Lion King remains a spectacle of legend, and you're seriously missing out if you skip the opportunity to see this in theaters in this way. It's a show that you need to see to believe.

Final Grade: A

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