Movie Review: THE LION KING 3D diminishes the childhood classic!

ReviewMovie by Kristal Bailey

The Lion King is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Disney’s 2D animation. The animated re-imagining of a classic Shakespearean tragedy has been reviewed and seen enough in its nearly 20 year history, so I won’t go into plot detail here. The main attraction of this re-release is the 3D conversion of a childhood classic.

Watching this movie on the big screen was an absolute joy. I grew up on a steady stream of Disney, so seeing any of their films from the late 80s - early 90s hey day on the big screen would be a treat. Every time I watch one of these movies, like The Lion King, or Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid, I’m transported back to that magical world of Disney and my childhood. I would pay to see each and every one of them on the big screen again and not just on my TV set any day of the week. Disney may think they need the 3D conversion to sell tickets and bring in the crowds, but I honestly believe there are many more people out there like me who just want to see the films as they were originally released rather than “modernized” with 3D.

The 3D technology definitely has its moments in the film - the jungle scenes have added depth, the scope of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” seems bigger - but the few pros are far outweighed by the one major con. The vibrant colors of Pride Rock are dimmed and faded. The stark contrast between Pride Rock and the Elephant Graveyard just doesn’t hold up when the world isn’t alive in full color. The muted display distracted from all the musical numbers, but non more than “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.” That musical moment capitalizes off the bright colors as a way to distract Zazou and the audience long enough for Simba and Nala to make their escape. Without those bright colors, the song just doesn’t pop as much in the original format.

The Lion King of course should be seen, that’s not up for debate at all, but the 3D format is completely unnecessary and actually makes it a weaker film. I honestly don’t think they could have improved upon the 3D technology since it was top notch; it’s just the fact that this story wasn’t written and shot to fully take advantage of that format. So no matter how great the technology, the 3D isn’t very useful. And with a movie that was so colorful with its African setting and eclectic cast of characters, it proved a hindrance to the enjoyment of the film. 

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