meFill Leabeater: Hush, I hate the 1994 movie The Lion King. Is my heart made of tin? Yes. I’ve hated it since I was forced to see it for the first time at the age of four. In fact, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep out of sheer boredom during the opening scene, and any subsequent attempts to stay awake and finish the movie have failed. I mean the opening scene is four minutes long and nothing happens! And even if you convince me to watch the movie, you won’t convince me that I like the soundtrack. The syrupy and happy melodies sung makes me want to throw my detection device at a herd of hyenas. The same goes for any adult who decides that Hakuna Matata is their karaoke song or their life mantra. Can you give me a heart? I doubt. But prove me wrong, hush.
Calla Wahlquist: I also saw the Lion King for the first time when I was four years old. It was at the Regent Cinema in Albury and I tried to hide under my chair during the stampede. Two years later, because that’s how long these things took in the 1990s, they gave me a copy of the VHS for my birthday. I can recite it, from beginning to end. We listened to the soundtrack on tape during long car trips. I also had one of those Simba dolls that growled when you hugged him and a VHS copy of Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.
I have not seen the remake because absolutely no one, looking at the beautiful animation of the original, thought: I wish these singing lions seemed more realistic.
Now that my credentials are established, it’s time to correct your wrong opinion. The Lion King is the best Disney movie, which is what happens when you start the plot of Shakespeare and the look of Osamu Tezuka. It’s a classic hero’s journey and a way to explore the class issues and inequalities inherent in a monarchy (“But Dad, don’t we eat the antelope?”) Without using real people.
While I’m with you on adults using Hakuna Matata as their life motto, that song is a masterful and efficient way to show the growth of Simba’s character from a prince to a carefree outcast, just in time for him to completely unravel. in Can You Feel The Love. Tonight the song where everyone developed confused feelings for Nala. Be Prepared is the best villain song of any Disney movie, and it introduced most Westerners under 35 to the concept of taking goose steps.
I will say that a big part of the movie’s appeal to me as a kid was the presence of the latest 90s crush, Jonathan Taylor Thomas. If you don’t agree with JTT, well, you’re younger than me. But the rest of the cast is spectacular: James Earl Jones! Rowan Atkinson! Whoopi Goldberg! Jeremy Irons, in his best role unless you like horny fries.
And don’t think I’m sleeping in Simba’s Pride, Disney’s best sequel to Toy Story 3. The late great Suzanne Pleshette is as full of malice as Zira. My lullaby it’s an amazing villain song and you gotta hear the hippo play those background notes in Not One Of Us.
It’s not just the songs. The first scene between Mufasa and Scar could come from a prestigious HBO drama. The direction of the stampede into the gorge, from Simba trying to roar to the discovery of Mustafa’s body, is an astonishing direction. The crack in JTT’s voice when he pleads with Mufasa to wake up makes me cry every time, even at the millionth clock.
But before I go much further, I have to ask: do you really like musicals? If he does, and he doesn’t like The Lion King, I don’t know what to say to him except that he has terrible taste.
If you hate musicals, I have a challenge for you: watch the Lion King but turn off the volume during songs. I promise you that while they are all amazing, you don’t need them to enjoy the movie. But I also suggest you try to find a version before 2002, without the morning report song. In this case, I’m with you: that song is absolutely terrible.
EL: Hush, you’ve actually forced me to delve into my family’s history to find answers to why my hatred for The Lion King runs so deep.
I call my only sister and ask her if she remembers seeing The Lion King as a child. No. Any Disney movies? No. Do you think this is strange? Yes.
So maybe this is due to my mother. Surely she does not like Disney movies and refused to show them in our house. I call her and ask her why we never saw Disney movies when we were kids. She said, “What is a Disney movie?”
His ignorance explains why I never saw the movie as a child, but it doesn’t explain the intense disgust. My mother told me that when we went to the video store to hire movies I was in charge of choosing what I wanted to see, “you had your own firm ideas about it,” she said. And I guess, even as a kid, Disney movies didn’t appeal to me.
But the time has come to face my demons.
You ask me if I like musicals, the answer is no. I took your advice and watched the original Lion King on low volume (or in my case, fast) songs. I was surprised to find that a childhood trauma resurfaced as soon as I saw Scar’s face – that lion is creepy. And the hyenas! I forgot how much that landscape strewn with skeletons gave me chills.
Other than that, the movie was pretty funny. With age and a thorough study of Hamlet under my belt, I found the dialogue engaging and found myself laughing out loud at some points. Will I sing Hakuna Matata next karaoke night? Never. However, I can search for Simba’s Pride over the holidays and skip the songs again.
prove me wrong is a new summer series in which Guardian Australia colleagues discuss the tastes of popular culture, food and leisure activities that are right … and which ones are not.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism