The Lion King came back to theaters in September for a 3D release that made about $29 million.

Spending the better part of a 20 dollar bill on a movie ticket for a flick that came out 17 years ago might seem unreasonable, but Disney’s “The Lion King” still dragged in more than $29 million at the box office in its first of two weeks in theaters. According, 92 percent of those earnings came from the special 3D version.

Was it worth it? The short answer would be, “Heck Yes!”

The Lion King is filled to the brim with a star-studded cast that continues to sparkle in 2011. The voices of Johnathan Taylor Thomas, Mathew Broderick, Nathan Lane, James Earl Jones and Whoopi Goldberg are arguably some of the main reasons why it is regarded as  head and shoulders above other animated films. The characters, despite being  the cartoon caricatures of safari animals, become real with superb acting and create relatable characters with projected traits such as curiosity, greed and guilt.

Like any 90’s Disney movie, there was no shortage of jokes to keep both children and the elderly laughing (please note “Ed” the hyena) and one is always able to take joy in the subtle puns and zingers geared towards older audience members riddled throughout the  film. For example, this time around I realized the hilarity in Scar’s reaction to Zazu singing it’s a small world. “No! No, anything but that!”


Of course there were tears too.  Watching Simba lose his father seems to hit home a little harder as you watch your parents get a little older each year. The 3D effects used in the stampede scene totally added to the drama as well – leaving us all a little breathless.

The music was as it had been – timeless, fun and impossible to not sing along to. If I hadn’t been too busy belting out “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” to listen to what everybody else was doing, I would have guaranteed you that the entire theater was in chorus.

As for the 3D aspect – it wasn’t as terrible as I had  thought it would be. The special effects didn’t take away from the magic that had been infused on to the silver screen in 1994, and I have to begrudgingly admit that at times, it left me feeling like a small child with a mouth gaping in awe. Was it worth having to pay an extra $4? Probably not. If you like 3D – there weren’t enough scenes. If you don’t dig 3D – it was just distracting without actually contributing to the plot most of the time.

Overall, I’d say it was a thrill to see a childhood favorite on the big screen again. And of course, I left the theater with a decidedly new mantra for finals week, “Hakuna Matata.”


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