THE LION KING
All this unnecessary nitpicking tended to eclipse the fact that The Lion King was easily one of the best films to come out of the 1990s Disney renaissance. It stirs the Disney formula well the comic relief elements seem more likable than usual and the songs never get in the way. Perhaps the main story, which is sort of borrowed from William Shakespeares Hamlet (1603), and the heros quest never hit the great emotional heights that classic Disney films reach, nevertheless The Lion King warms the heart in all the requisite places.
Where The Lion King stuns is when it comes to the animation. The opening birth of Simba which the studio released as an advance trailer to theatres is absolutely stunning. As the sun rises animals cross the veldt towards Pride Rock, all come to witness the confirmation of the baby Simba. This takes place in tones of religious awe with the clouds parting and a beam of sunlight coming down to touch the baby Simba. The true beauty in the scene comes in the changing of scales between epic size and tender anthropomorphic softness cuts between the vast epic landscape and incredibly detailed and lifelike assemblage of the animals to soft images like the baby sneezing as the clay it is daubed with tickles its nose. Disney also employ the full three-dimensional computer animation techniques they pioneered with Beauty and the Beast (1991) there is a fabulous shot panning around Mufasa and the young Simba proudly standing atop a rock. The landscapes in the film are colossal veldts, lush forest lands, desert, canyons and the like and have such detail that they give the appearance of having been painted as 30 foot+ canvases.
The Lion King was re-released in 3D in 2011. In 1997, it was also adapted into a hit Broadway musical. The Lion King II: Simbas Pride (1998) was a video-released sequel, while The Lion King 1½/The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata (2004) was a retelling of the original film from the point of view of the talking animal sidekicks. Timon and Pumbaa (1995) was an animated tv series spun off around the two comic relief sidekicks. Be Kind Rewind (2008) offers up (in part) an amusing amateur live-action remake of The Lion King.
Co-director Rob Minkoff later moved into live-action with the likes of Stuart Little (1999), Stuart Little 2 (2002), The Haunted Mansion (2003), the martial arts adventure The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) and the animated Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014). Roger Allers went onto co-direct Open Season (2006) and solo directed Kahlil Gibrans The Prophet (2014).
(Winner in this sites Top 10 Films of 1994 list).