Set against the breathtaking natural beauty, mysticism and diversity of the African landscape, captured and stylized by a team of top artistic talents, Disney’s 32nd full-length animated film “The Lion King” is a uniquely entertaining coming-of-age allegory based on an original story that has since joined the ranks of classic fairy tales and literary favorites. And now, the popular classic is in 3D for the first time ever.
“‘The Lion King’ is essentially a love story between a father and son,” says producer Don Hahn. “It’s about that moment in life when you realize that your father is going to pass on to you his wisdom and knowledge. The Circle of Life. Someday we all become adults. The baton will be passed on to us and we’re going to have to grow up.”
An original story, breathtaking animation, beloved characters and award-winning music set the stage for “The Lion King,” a Disney classic that follows the adventures of Simba, the feisty lion cub who “just can’t wait to be king.” But his envious Uncle Scar has plans for his own ascent to the throne, and he forces Simba’s exile from the kingdom. Alone and adrift, Simba soon joins the escapades of a hilarious meerkat named Timon and his warmhearted warthog pal, Pumbaa.
Adopting their carefree lifestyle of “Hakuna Matata,” Simba ignores his real responsibilities until he realizes his destiny and returns to the Pride Lands to claim his place in the Circle of Life. The all-star vocal talents—including Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Ernie Sabella, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Robert Guillaume, Cheech Marin and Moira Kelly—plus the rip-roaring comedy and uplifting messages of courage, loyalty and hope make this a timeless tale for all ages.
According to co-director Roger Allers, “The real heart and emotional underpinning of the whole story is the father-son relationship. At one point in the film, Simba steps into his father’s paw print and we see this image of his little paw in an enormous print. It is very symbolic. When his father is taken away from him too soon, he feels unworthy and inadequate. My favorite part of the film is when his father returns in ghost form and tells him that his spirit lives on in his son.”
Co-director Rob Minkoff adds: “We set out to do something very different from the things that had been done before. ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ were all basically love stories, and this one is more about the relationship between a father and a son. It is just as crucial and interesting in its own way, but a real different subject and a change of pace from other Disney films.”
Recalls actor Nathan Lane, who provides the voice of Timon, “They showed us two clips from the movie and I thought to myself, ‘Well, not only is this good, there’s something very special about this.’ Obviously, there’s something in [the film] that touches people—it’s why it was hugely successful and why it stays with people. [The filmmakers] worked for a long time to get the story right and that’s why these films work and why they’re considered classics.”
Matthew Broderick (voice of Simba) remembers the first time he saw the film with an audience. “There’s nothing like sitting with a real audience,” he says. “I thought, ‘Wow, these children will take their children [someday].’ I could tell I was part of ‘Snow White.’ It felt like we were part of those movies that seem to live years and years through generations.”
Opening across the Philippines in December 2011, “The Lion King 3D” is distributed locally by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.