What really needs to be said about this? It's The Lion King! It's the best Disney movie ever made (if you don't count Pixar films). I know that's an arguable point but when you ask most lovers of cinema what their favorite Disney film of all time is, it's usually The Lion King. And now you can enjoy it all over again.
It came out in 1994 and was part of the rebirth of the Walt Disney film company. Sure the amusement parks were always making money, but most people don't realize how close the film company was to being sold off. The Lion King was the most ambitious and emotional films they've made. And now it's back on the big screen and this time it's in 3D. What's so amazing is that Disney took a print of a movie that's 17-years-old and put it through a 3D conversion that didn't look like garbage.
See, 3D is a controversial thing among film lovers. Some love it and some think it's the devil come to destroy cinema as we know it today. I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't mind it as long as it's not gratuitous and done well. Hollywood was losing money hand over fist and needed something to come along that pumped some life back into it and 3D technology was that thing. Now studios could charge people a premium cost for a ticket and make profit back tens times faster. However, if you're gonna charge me almost twice as much for a movie ticket, you damn well better give me almost twice-as-nice value.
3D Conversions is a four-letter word among us movie maniacs. It means you put a print of a movie through a 3D conversion AFTER it was shot in 2D. The two examples of this blowing up in its face and the high-water mark of 3D gauging was 2010's Clash of the Titans and Alice in Wonderland. These looked terrible, caused migraines and had theater-goers screaming for refunds. However The Lion King's 3D conversion looks incredible. It makes the movie look like it was just illustrated and was made to jump off the screen.
Not to mention the fact that The Lion King is a film worthy of enjoying on the big screen again. There's a reason why it resonates so well with children and adults. That reason is that it's based on one of the most famous stories ever told...Hamlet. Sure there's no "To Be or Not To Be" scene in which young Simba contemplates the pros and cons of committing suicide, but it's the Cliff's Notes version as told to children. That's brilliant and it always will be. The young prince. The mighty king for a father. The jealous uncle. The murder of brother against brother. It's all there in gorgeous color!
Plus how can you forget the music? The Lion King has one of the most impressive musical scores of all the Disney movies, which is no easy task. How can you avoid getting goosebumps at the final thunderous THUMP at the end of "The Circle of Life" opening sequence or not bop your head to "Hakuna Matata?" I would hope that seeing it again on the big screen would inspire you to sing out loud with your favorite song, shed tears at the stampede scene, and introduce a whole new generation to the film that literally makes you celebrate being alive.
The Lion King 3D (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: A+