To review THE LION KING 3D or not to review THE LION KING 3D. That is the question. It's almost pointless to review this movie because, fuck, who doesn't know THE LION KING? If you have never seen this movie, I should punch you in the face. It's Disney when Disney was still awesome and wasn't totally reliant on Pixar. To me, it was the last great non-computer-animated movie. (More after the break)
This movie holds so many personal memories for me. It's been 17 years, but I still remember when I saw it for the first time... Funny story, I remember thinking that the entire movie was that first musical sequence in which "the lion king" was born and being pleasantly, surprised at the near two hours that followed: a wonderfully-crafted story pulled out of Hamlet but told with animals... with musical numbers written by Elton John and Tim Rice. I remember being in 5th grade, running in gym to the soundtrack. I remember seeing the stage show and being awed by THAT spectacle.
I had the pleasure of seeing it the day it reopened. I saw it with an enthusiastic audience (myself and my partner-in-crime included), some of which were in costume. People of all ages were literally crowding the doors trying to get in. People were taking pictures of themselves in the theater. That kind of excitement is not something you often see. It was Star Wars-esque. I saw THE LION KING 3D with an audience that knew all the words to, not only the songs but, the entire movie. (So much so that a lady who sounded like she was in her 30s behind us would have done the whole thing had someone behind her told her to be quiet) I saw it with a good mix of people including those in their 20s who grew up with it... And I remember thinking of how awesome it must be to get to experience that with your own children.
As expected, I had a blast. And this brings us to why you should see this movie... It's not for the 3D. The 3D didn't change how I viewed the movie, and I can't recall noticing any George Lucas-like changes. (Mufasa still dies and doesn't scream, "Nooooo!") The 3D neither enhanced nor detracted from the experience which is a testament to the story. No matter what gimmicks you can throw, the story is still what draws you in. Don't get me wrong, there were moments that the 3D let you really appreciate the depth of the scene, but it was never awe-inspiring or invasive. The novelty wore off shortly after Zazu flew up to greet Mufasa in the beginning. The one moment that I thought the 3D would have enhanced the picture (Scar jumping at the camera/Simba at the end) didn't live up to what I was expecting. No, don't go see it strictly for the 3D if you're expecting to be transported to the pride lands.
See THE LION KING because it's still a great movie. See it because it's not often that you get to see a classic on the big screen. See it for nostalgia's sake. See it if you have kids, and you want them to watch something that isn't crap. See it for the music. See it because "it's enough for kings and vagabonds to believe the very best." See it for your daily reminder of Hakuna Matata. (It means "no worries.") See it for the masterful vocal performances of James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sebella (the dude who plays Pumbaa), Robert Guillaume (the dude who plays Rafiki), Jeremy Irons, Cheech Marin, Whoopie Goldberg... Fuck it, see it for all of the cast. See it to be in the presence of the legendary king, Mufasa. See it for legendary villian, Scar. See it to to watch good triumph over evil and to be brought back to a time when that made sense. Just go fucking see it.
I give it a nostalgia-filled 9 Lost Sleds.