Now septuagenarians, Bob and I just exited the Flagship Premium Cinemas–the same movie theatre location in Prince Frederick, Md, where we took our four grandchildren, one niece, and one nephew (ages 2-9) a mere 25 years ago to see the original June 24, 1994 release of “The Lion King,” animated movie. The day was Saturday, July 2, 1994, and we went first next door with parents and children to the Pizza Oven to celebrate our eldest grandson Joey’s ninth birthday before taking in the show. Imagine serving sodas, pizza, cake, and ice cream to 5 little boys and one young girl before taking them into a theatre and asking them to sit still for two hours in a darkened theatre.
As we entered, our second oldest grandson, Justin, (6-1/2 years old) who had never been inside a movie theatre before, became frightened as the lights went out. So frightened, in fact, that I had to take him out of the theatre and coax him back in with more sweets. About five minutes later, he calmed down and all of us totally enjoyed the movie without a peep of any disapproval.
If you recall, with the 1994 release of “The Lion King,” the Associated Press and other media reported that some parents and psychologists observed, “not family fun but shocking violence.” I guess society has become so hardened and seen so many more culture shocks, that this time around there’s far less discussion about the violence and scare tactics present.
On our 1994 ride home, we asked the kids which characters were their favorites. The 7-9-year-olds had differences of opinions. One liked Mufasa (James Earl Jones, voice); another liked Simba best. But Michael surprised us all when he said his favorite was Scar (Jeremy Irons, voice). But, that day we were the best grandparents, aunt, and uncle ever, for taking them to see “The Lion King.”
As for my opinion of the 2019 release. I loved that they brought James Earl Jones back as the voice Mufasa. The original songs of Tim Rice and Elton John will always remain special in my heart–as will Simba, from both releases. I was most impressed by the realistic-looking animals and scenery produced through this new kind of imaging known as ‘photo-realistic commuter animation’.
Wow, the Circle of Life–for this movie and our family!!!