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

Conan The Barbarian (1982)

I Missed the Boat.


Conan The Barbarian was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s higher profile early roles. One of the first where they even let him use his own voice. It follows the story of a boy whose family gets killed by marauders. He gets sold into slavery and obviously, becomes a killing machine. Netflix Canada recently added this gem to their streaming service up here in the Great White North.  (I wonder whatever could have that idea?)  I saw this sitting there in the recently added section and realized that it was probably now, or never.
You see… I missed the Conan boat.  Repeatedly.  I was too young to watch it in ’83.  By the time our family owned a VCR, our local video store had already sold its copy for someone’s “Home Video Library”.  When I went to college, no one on the floor ever got drunk or stoned enough to suggest Conan The Barbarian.  If any of us did… we probably would’ve just watched Army of Darkness or Black Belt Jones again, anyway.

Oh, Conan… The times we could have had.


Regardless, when I heard about the Conan movie, I didn’t really give a shit. Shortly after that, I saw this trailer:

So… that really made me want to see the new Conan. But being a Fat Guy With Glasses, I couldn’t very well allow myself to see the high-profile remake without watching the goddamn original. So, despite all the men in my family practically chomping at the bit to go… we still haven’t seen it, because I’m an asshole.

Do You Want to Live Forever?

Why didn’t I watch this in the 80s? Or at University? I would have fucking loved this movie had I watched it then. The action sequences are simultaneously some of the best and worst in action movie history. The dramatic acting switches from bad to awful to shockingly great at the drop of a hat.

I know this image looks incredibly awkward, but this scene is seriously powerful.

But since I’m not a kid, nor did I watch this in a cramped dorm room with 20 other people, I ended up having to really watch it. When this movie is good, it’s fucking brilliant. Great cinematography, great action, great acting. But when it’s not… it’s utter shit. Terribly slow pacing (arguably even for 1980s standards), awful action, awful acting.

Say “It’s not a tumah” again! I dahble dare you mathu fakkah!

What is Best in Movie?

There is some excellent cinematography in this film. The outdoor scenery is gorgeous, for a ravaged wasteland, anyway. There are about half a dozen truly great moments in this movie. The first comes almost instantly. Hearing Mako as the narrator was absolutely epic. It excited me for what was to come. The moments after the opening action scene are amazing. And the final two action scenes were also fantastic. It’s really too bad it drags so much in the middle. In the 80s the good would have far outweighed the bad. At Uni, I would have had a blast lambasting the bad.  Either of those would have been good enough for me. If only I could trow open a portal in time.

3/5