For most of us, 1994’s The Lion King was one of the first Disney films we saw, and to this day still remains one of the most memorable, enjoyable and iconic of all time. Since the late Nineties however, the quality of Disney’s 2D animated films has suffered comparably, meaning we can treasure the classics even more so. And in the past few years, the vast majority of films in general have also been released alongside a 3D version, but not all have been seen as necessary. The Lion King is one of the few older films that have now been re-released in 3D (Jurassic Park is another), but has it made one of the greatest animated films of all time even greater?
The answer to that question is ‘not really’, and simply because not much else in terms of animation could make the film any better than it already was. Some parts of the film did benefit from the enhanced 3D technology, though; namely the wildebeest stampede and the final fight – already two of the most striking scenes. The songs are still amazing and unforgettable, the story is still endearing and exciting and the characters are still brilliant and hilarious, really allowing the audience to relive the magic of Disney, as well introducing a younger generation to something still unsurpassable in the realm of animated films.
Of course, a downside to watching it again seventeen years older comes with having learned more about the inaccuracies in The Lion King‘s portrayal of the natural world. Yes, there is something quirky, intriguing and comedic about lions and warthogs being friends and lions and hyenas becoming allies, but male lion cubs growing up to replace their fathers and take over their own pride? That just doesn’t happen with real lions, Disney.
But dampeners aside, the spirit of The Lion King has definitely not been lost and its re-release is an excellent (as well as sad) reminder of just how unparalleled Disney’s animated films used to be. Maybe the studio should hold off making new 2D films and continue to re-release the oldies, with or without the use of 3D, just to keep our inner children happy and help give us that twinge of fun and innocent nostalgia from when we were younger.