What can one say about Disney’s highest-grossing hand-drawn masterpiece that hasn’t been said countless times before? Everyone already knows how excellent The Lion King is: the Academy-Award winning score, unforgettable characters and inspiring tale of learning from past mistakes. Spawning two sequels, a Broadway musical adaptation and an IMAX re-release, The Lion King is once again returning to theaters, but this time in a new dimension.
After all of these years, The Lion King still holds up, especially since Disney went in and reanimated some sequences in 2002 for the IMAX re-release. The 3D conversion is actually pretty good, one of the best I’ve seen this year. At points the depth that 3D is supposed to add isn’t really noticeable, and in this case it’s a good thing because the film was animated with great depth of field, especially during scenes in the Pride Lands. I was very impressed with the “Circle of Life” sequence and actually shed a tear, what I will refer to as a “nerd-tear” (Thanks Kevin McCarthy), because hearing the song for the first time in years, it took me back to my childhood, watching this very movie almost everyday on VHS.
This is actually the first 3D film I’ve seen where stuff comes out of the screen. When Zazu flies up to Pride Rock during “Circle of Life”, he soars out over the audience and then flies into the screen. Another sequence where the action came out of the “window” was the stampede sequence. This movie really does lend itself to 3D, almost as if the animators drew it knowing one day it would be presented in this format. I didn’t find a lot of problems with the conversion, and when I did find them, they were very minor.
The Lion King 3D is definitely worth seeing. Use it as a chance to relive your childhood and introduce your children or younger siblings to it. But, be sure to see it as soon as possible because it’s only in theaters for two weeks starting today!
The film: (5 stars out of 5)
The 3D Conversion: (4.5 out of 5)
Look for The Lion King Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack and Blu-ray 3D on October 4th!