Lion King

I think part of what makes Disney animated films so memorable is how they reach in to the core of life’s lessons and messages and give back, through songs, laughter and amazing visuals. The Lion King is no exception to this rule. I remember when it first came out back in 1994, I was finishing up college and I bought the soundtrack on cassette and listened to it in my car, in between Liz Phair and Julianna Hatfield. The songs were so moving and catchy that I had no embarrassment rolling up to class with “Hakuna Matata” blasting in my speakers. Trust me, I was cool*.
*not in any way 😉

Being a huge Howard Ashman/Alan Menken fan, I was one of those skeptical about this new collaboration between Tim Rice and Elton John. Just one listen to the soundtrack made me a believer, however. The “Circle of Life” is poetry and truth in song:

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

It’s hard to imagine the task of putting the very definition of life on the planet into song, but there it is. Add to that the beautiful landscapes, skies and animal interactions unfolding before us, and you have a recipe for yet another tear-inducing scene in a Disney film.

While my family had The Lion King on vhs, it had been quite some time, with my oldest cubs at 11 and 12 and nary a VCR in the house. When Disney sent me the new Diamond Edition Blu-ray+DVD combo pack, I was excited to share it with my littlest guy, almost 3. My oldest children and I had just seen The Lion King in 3-D and I was blown away by the animation yet again, and it was as if my kids were seeing it for the first time. I loved hearing them say “Oh yeah, I remember this song!” and of course, checking to see if I was crying at certain parts of the movie. (I did.)

Even I had forgotten the hysterical jokes and one-liners in this film. The Lion King is a classic which could have been released today just as well as nearly 20 years ago.”What’s a motto?” “Nothing, whats a motto with you?” never fails to make me giggle. The life-lessons of not running away from your past or your problems and rising to both a challenge and doing what’s right are still powerful today. The themes of the loss of a loved one may go over the heads of some little fans, but older kids and adults can see how those who have passed are always with us, no matter how far away they may seem.

The DVD bonus feature is a fun behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the film, hosted by Don Hahn, producer of The Lion King, many other Disney animation productions and the DisneyNature films, including the upcoming Chimpanzee, due out in 2012. The Blu-ray bonus features offer a look at deleted scenes, and songs, as well as “bloopers,” a gallery, sing-a-long and more. Check out this trailer below:

The Lion King Diamond Edition hits the savanna tomorrow- 10/4 and one lucky winner could win a Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack here on Zannaland. Just enter below by commenting with your favorite memory of The Lion King – it could be a song, a character, a joke, whatever made you love the film. Contest ends October 7, winner randomly drawn and announced October 8. Good luck – it is time!  Contest has ended.

Congrats to Adam Goldman for having comment #5 – he is the winner of the Lion King Blu-ray+DVD Combo pack! Thanks to everyone for sharing your wonderful Lion King memories, I really enjoyed reading them.