The Lion King (1994)

Disney may be making another mad grab for cash, digging through “the vault” and re-releasing a remastered, 3D-ified The Lion King in theatres this weekend, but that just means it’s even more timely that I review the unremastered, original, March 3rd, 1995 released, VH-fucking-S cassette tape that my family sat down to watch last weekend.

Hashtag:  Old School, Mother Fucker.







The Circle of Life:

Recently, Mel decided that we should have a Wonderful World of Disney type viewing of various Disney classics, and not-so-classics, and ugh-I-hate-that-garbage-ics on Sunday afternoons.  The reason being, because when we were growing up and had to deal with TFC cable, (that’s Two Fucking Channel for the uninitiated) a highly concentrated source of cartoons could be found on CBC when they aired WWoD.  Since we (she) liked this as kids, obviously we need to try to replicate the situation so that Charlotte grows up thinking that all awesome things are awesome and whatever the hell kids are doing these days is lame.  (Hey, I can dream.)

Now, most of our collection of Disney movies is on VHS.  So that meant making sure the VCR was hooked up and working.  A quick run through with a headcleaner a few weeks ago and we were ready to go.  Just pop in The Lion King and enjoy the majesty.

Fuck no.  I forgot Disney movies have commercials.  Shit tons of commercials.  One of the commercials was the entire “Colors of the Wind” sequence from Pocahontas.  So yeah… 20 minutes later and the movie starts.

ZAAAAAAA!  ZE B’WINGYA!  OBADEECHI BADA!  OH WING YAMA!


The Lion King is a great goddamn movie.  In my opinion, it’s probably the best of the Disney movies.  It’s moving.  It’s hilarious.  It’s suspenseful.  The songs are catchy.  The catchphrases are catchier…  I had actually half-forgotten how many quotable lines there were.  The opening sequence is textbook great film making, let alone great animation-making (is that a thing?  That doesn’t sound like a thing.  It can’t be a thing.  I probably shouldn’t use it).  It is outright iconic.  Everyone who has had a child since 1994 has held their baby up into the sunlight muttering “CHUNG!”  Very few scenes are repeated this often in real life.  There’s this, “You Talkin’ To Me?”, The Orange peel from The Godfather, and “I’m King of the World!”

Pictured:  Mandatory Baby Display Technique

But to sum up how great I think this movie is:  Even though it reminds me of a girl that tore my heart out in High School, it’s so fucking good that I watch it anyway… and fucking love it.  But I digress.  I know it’s a complete ripoff of Kimba the White Lion, and it’s still so good that I don’t care.  I know that whining crazy people have tried to ruin it for me by saying Scar is a bad influence on kids because they think he’s gay.  Oh… that makes him a bad influence.  Not regicide… or fucking fratricide… or being such a shit ruler that completely ignores counsel and runs his kingdom into the ground.  Those don’t make him a bad influence… but the fact that his paws are limp during a fucking song and dance number means he’s going to ruin us all.  I know all that… and the movie blocks it out with only the power of its own sheer awesomenitude.

VHS Forever.

So, aside from the total nostalgia trip of the movie… there’s also the nostalgia trip of the technology.  Have you played a VHS tape recently?  Goddamn that is an awesome experience to revisit.  Yes, I’m admitting that, until just recently, I hadn’t really sat down to watch a movie on VHS in years.

I got to run the whole gamut.  I got to get mad at myself for not rewinding.  I got to get mad at myself for not remember to stop rewinding before the previews started.   I got to wonder if auto-tracking was going to be enough, or if I’d have to fiddle with the settings myself.  I got to pause the screen, and have a shaky image with distortions running all through it.  I was warned that the movie had been formatted to fit my screen.  (No it hadn’t.)  When it was over and I rewound it, I got to worry about whether or not the tape was getting eaten.  Damn those VCRs can make some freaky ass sounds.  I swear at one point it sounded like Cookie Monster.

OM NOM NOM!

So… yeah.  I do wish that The Lion King had been re-released a few years from now, instead of now, so that I could have taken Charlotte to go see it.  Regardless, even during an old, worn out, VHS, low definition, mono-sound, 2D viewing The Lion King is still epic.

5/5

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5 comments on “The Lion King (1994)

  1. You've outdone yourself this time. Truly. Awesome review.

    I hadn't thought of the VH-fucking-S “experience” but you're totally right!

  2. The Lion King is my favorite Disney ever. And yes, I still proudly have two VHS players in my house… Otherwise, how could I watch all those wonderful 90s classics my family and I recorded from TV?

  3. @Mel: Thanks!

    @Jersey: We've… um… “acquired”… Yes. I'll choose “acquired”… several of those 90s classics through digital means. We were well overdue for watching this again. Several others as well. Now that the VCR is in tiptop shape, we'll probably run through them all.

    @Fogs: Thanks. Glad to make you laugh. VHS is definitely fun for a nostalgia trip. It's amazing how quickly we get used to new technologies, and forget about some of the quirkier aspects of older stuff.

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