Austin Klein Professor Fleming English 15s October 2, 2012 Lions: King of the Jungle and Disney Movies Each generation has its unanswerable mysteries. What happened to Roanoke? Where did Amelia Earhart’s plane go down? What really happened to JFK? But my generation has the hardest question of all. Which Disney movie is the best? This question has brought some of the most intellectual minds to a downright standstill. How can anyone possibly choose one over another? They are all such classic combinations of historical and modern storytelling that it would be a travesty to name one above the rest.
However, it needs to be done. I have spent my entire life, nearly two decades, dedicated to deciding this dilemma. The solution may come as a surprise to some, but I am here to declare once and for all that The Lion King is the greatest offspring of The Walt Disney Company. The Lion King is the best Disney movie because of many simple, but integral ingredients that are necessary in the making of any classic children’s movie. Music. Morals. Myth. The Lion King is a classic coming of age tale about a young lion prince and his father the king Mufasa.
Simba lives a carefree life until he nefarious Uncle Scar plots murder. After Simba is outcast into the desert his stumbles upon two hilariously quirky friends named Pumbaa and Timon. After many adventurous years in the jungle his childhood friend Nala, finds him and pleads for help. Simba races back, but not before he takes a journey deep into himself with the help of a wise babbling baboon who sings about squashed bananas. The music that was written by Elton John and Tim Rice for the Lion King is some of the most awe-inspiring compositions of the twentieth century.
From the heart-wrenching lyrics of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” to the energetic beat of “I Just Cant Wait To Be King,” Elton John manages to bring you right to the precipice of sadness before raising your spirits through the roof. He takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster using catchy lyrics, witty puns, and philosophical platitudes. The melody is so good it leaves the audience, no matter what age, humming for the rest of the day. The Circle of Life takes the same idea that James Cameron spent 300 million dollars on, that all living things are connected, and explains it in 5 catchy words, “it’s the circle of life. Another one of their great songs “I Just Cant Wait to be King,” delves deep into the psyche of a young man (cub) trying to live up to his father’s reputation. He dreams of being the King as far as the eye can see, except the elephant graveyard, of course. This song makes everyone feel happy and spirited with clever lyrics and a plethora of visual stimuli. I have never seen anybody not smiling while they watched a giraffe prance about on a hippo’s back. Elton John does a particularly good job with the lyrics of this one.
I still remember the feeling of pride I felt when I realized the lyric “This child is getting wildly out of wing” sung by Zazoo the bird. While this song is good-natured and happy it sends many important messages to the children in the audience. The Lion King has taught me many important lessons, which have shaped me as a person. When the herd of wildebeests tramples Mufasa, it is the most heart-rending, tear jerking, scene I have witnessed since Bambi’s mom dies. However there are many lessons to be gained from Simba’s loss. It shows us the importance of family, how lost a child is when they lose their father.
The most important lesson that I learned from the Lion King is put simply, “Hakuna Matata. ” It means no worries, this simple phrase taught me not to dwell on the past no matter what happens. If you miss a shot, go get the rebound. If you fail a test, study more. Do not worry about the past, mistakes can be rectified but thinking about it is useless. Simba fixes his past by listening to Nala and saving Pride Rock. Nala and Simba’s relationship shows how important it is to make friends. That the childhood bonds we all forged know no bounds. Pumbaa and Timon show the audience that goofy friends can step up in the clutch and save the day.
Simba’s heroic roar in the faces of Scar and the Eds instills bravery into the hearts and minds of the watchers while simultaneously making everyone laugh at his pitiful attempt. Simba fulfills his obligation by going back to Pride Rock, vanquishing Scar, and bringing the kingdom back to its former glory. This teaches anyone watching about how important it is to do what’s right and to follow your heart. Simba’s journey back home shows the determination and drive needed to do what is right, but that in the end all the sacrifices were worth it to save the ones you love.
When Simba crosses over the tree-bridge and becomes an adult it shows children that nothing should hold them back. The tree is a metaphor for how life changes everyone and it is important to embrace these changes. Even through the evidence is clear as day, there are many who disagree with Lion King as number one. Tarzan is a constant competitor with Lion King because of its beautiful soundtrack and romantic story. The fact remains that Lion King has a plot that far outshines Tarzan. Tarzan has some incredible songs in its repertoire but there are also some that sadly disappoint.
One thing that can be said about Lion King’s soundtrack is that each song is as interesting and meaningful as the next. From “I’ve got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” to “The Morning Report,” each song brings its own unique character and input into the final story as a whole. Many people also say that the plot to the Little Mermaid or Aladdin is better. Both movies have hilarious characters and despicable villains, but neither have the finesse with which Lion King deals with major issues, like the loss of a parent or the endangerment of family.
The final thing that separates The Lion King from all other movies is its diverse demographic. This movie appeals to everyone. Children love it because of the crazy hijinks Simba, Nala, Pumbaa, and Timon get up to. They also love the catchy music and interesting animals. Parents love it because their children are happy. Parents are also mature enough to pick out the motifs and morals that their families are inadvertently learning. Teenagers love it because Simba’s teenage years correspond closely with many adolescents, his fight with his family and awkward encounter with Nala.
The Lion King is the greatest Disney movie ever to grace the big screen. It is no coincidence that The Lion King has 2 Oscars, twenty-six other awards, and twenty-two nominations. Every award has that has been bestowed upon the Lion King is well deserved. The music alone has 2 Golden Globes and 2 Grammy’s. This means that I am not alone in my passion for the Lion King. When all is said and done the votes were counted and Lion King came out on top. Besides it having the best soundtrack ever, the lessons that this movie teaches are unforgettable will hopefully mold the morals of countless generations to come.