December 29, 2006

"Circle of Life"

Combining Hamlet, Bible stories of Joseph and Moses, and their own Bambi (1942), The Lion King (1994) was at the time of its release the culmination of the Disney animation team's fifty-plus years of experience and hard work.

I remember reading a review back in 1994 in which the reviewer pointed out how The Lion King was the first cartoon to accomplish this foreground/background focus shift effect.

And in an era of computer-animated films, it is doubtful Disney will return to creating such types of work any time soon.

I was fortunate enough to see the Broadway production back in 1999. Anyone who has seen it knows how during the opening number ("Circle of Life"), every square inch of the theater is used - every aisle, every balcony - thereby knocking down that "fourth wall," and intermingling audience with performers.
The result was a genuinely moving and transcendent moment I shall not soon forget. Obviously, the Broadway production was competing with and trying to accomplish what the animated film was able to achieve.

The "Circle of Life" segment, alone, qualifies The Lion King as a masterpiece. If you aren't moved by it, you may already be dead, so check your pulse:

The Lion King reference in The Simpsons "Round Springfield" episode


Becca said...

That scene from The Simpsons is one of my all-time favorites..."This is CNN" HAH! Classic.

The Pine Blogger said...

Have you seen Lion King 1 1/2? I almost busted my big gut when we found out what REALLY happened at the beautiful Circle of Life scene. My squid loves that movie more than he does the original.

Chris said...

I just saw Kung Pow: Enter the Fist on TV, and the exact same scene occurs, right down to the "This is CNN" quote.

I've never seen 1 1/2. I find it hard to believe it can touch the first one. I'm a little curious now, though!

The Pine Blogger said...

1 1/2 is straight-to-video and not meant to top or even come close to the original. But, it's very funny to view the entire story from Timon and Pumba's veiwpoint.

Chris said...

They were great characters. Nathan Lane is very talented.