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Disney In Depth: 20 Reasons Why ‘The Lion King’ Rules (Part 2)
Brett Nachman   |  @   |  

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Last week inside Disney In Depth I shared the first 10 reasons why The Lion King rules in every sense of the word. We continue our examination into Disney’s epic animated film as it celebrates its 20th anniversary with additional points on its importance and value in our lives.

Continue below now for part 2 of 20 Reasons Why The Lion King Rules.

11. Features one of Disney’s nastiest villains: Pure evil exists within many of the company’s most deliciously devilish dastards. Scar reaches the apex of atrocity when he murders his own brother. Can other famous foes like Maleficent and Gaston say they have done that? Jeremy Irons‘ chilling vocal performance matches the creepiness of Andreas Dejas’ animation.

12. Demonstrates how life lessons come full circle: The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride depicted how many of the concepts Simba came to internalize during his own childhood in the original film would be translated to daughter Kiara. Simba’s maturity and similarities to his father are evident in how he raises Kiara. The direct-to-video sequel may not reach the heights of the theatrical classic, but its similar values are explicit in beautiful songs like “We Are One” (clip found below).

13. Contains catchy quotes used in everyday life: If you enjoy incorporating lines from favorite Disney films into conversations like me – when it makes sense, of course – you likely find ways to throw in Lion King references. “Remember who you are,” but don’t “laugh in the face of danger.” Countless quotes from the movie warrant additional use wherever possible. If someone does not recognize the line, direct him/her back to this article to be reminded of why Lion King rocks!

14. Showcases past and future collaborations between members of the cast: Immediately you may think of how Lion King brought together Elton John and Tim Rice, who would later join forces for other musicals. But do you realize how many pairs are in the film? James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair, who voiced Mufasa and wife Sarabi, respectively, previously worked together in Coming to America and television series Gabriel’s Fire. Matthew Broderick (Simba) and Nathan Lane (Timon) would later reunite on stage in The Producers. And who can forget that Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi) has worked with almost everyone in Hollywood?

15. Exists in a realistic, yet alternative universe: Remember when Zazu, imprisoned by Scar, is asked to entertain the cruel lion by singing him a song? What does he choose, but none other than the Disney piece that everyone can never forget. How would Zazu know the lyrics to “it’s a small world”? This raises the question if perhaps the characters of The Lion King live in an environment where they occasionally hear songs from theme parks. A quandary worth pursuing, don’t you think? Let the outlandish theories emerge.

16. Has unforgettable songs: Hear any orchestral version of one of the five main tunes from The Lion King and it becomes instantly recognizable. The rhythmic melodies, many incorporating African instruments and performers, are enchanting and massive in scale. Its album topped the Billboard charts and the songs are as memorable now as they first were two decades ago. Who couldn’t “wait to be king?” Play the clip below for some nostalgic goodness.

17. Teaches about environmentalism: As indicated in the previous edition of Disney In Depth, several Walt Disney World attractions featuring Lion King characters focus on protecting the planet. Rafiki, as spokesmandrill of the Planet Watch section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, encourages individuals to realize their impact on the world we all share. Similarly, Timon and Pumbaa at Epcot’s Circle of Life film realize how sharing is caring in utilizing the resources of the natural world. In a subtle but monumental way these characters have been used to educate as much as they entertain.

The Lion King 4–Disc Blu–ray

18. Stands as only one of two Disney animated films to have several re-releases in multiple formats: Both Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King were transferred to the IMAX format nearly one decade after their original theatrical releases. More recently, both of these features also returned to traditional theaters, but with a 3D component that enhanced the depth. If it was not for The Lion King‘s lasting popularity, the conversion may not have taken place.

19. Boasts breathtaking animation: Too many brilliant scenes come to mind when I consider the majesty of the imagery. No Disney animated film since The Lion King – not even Frozen – exhibits the same level of unparalleled animation techniques and grandness that this African-set film possesses. Yes, Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame come pretty close with their own unique stylistic elements. But many return to watch The Lion King again and again to better appreciate the animators’ techniques, from Mufasa’s image in the sky to the infamous wildebeest stampede. One of my favorites is found below, as it demonstrates the landscape of the lush Pride Lands.

20. Landed a two-part edition of Disney In Depth: Clearly The Lion King is special because of its impact on innumerable individuals. The film influenced me to focus two consecutive editions of the column to the brand. The Lion King will forever be viewed, listened to, and reenacted. The film and the franchise of entities it launched have a place in our lives, whether it be in the merchandise we own or within the tunes on our iPod playlist. Here’s a salute to the king of all animated films!

This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions of Disney In Depth, Thursdays on Geeks of Doom.

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