As mentioned in my What's New In Disney News - Vol 2 post a couple of weeks ago, Disney's animated classic The Lion King is having something of a rebirth. Now remastered in 3D, Disney re-released the 17 year old film in theaters for what was supposed to be a two week limited engagement before the new 3D version hits retail stores with all the special packaging sometime here in October. Well that limited engagement has been 3 weeks now as The Lion King remains on top, or close to the top of the weekly box office reports. My post a few weeks back ended with "Three cheers for The Lion King" as I can only tip my hat to the magic of Disney taking down all comers with a 17 year old movie.
I am not a big fan of The Lion King. You can admire its brilliant animation qualities, its triumphant story line, its wonderful musical score, and I certainly do but for me, The Lion King possesses one key element that I find horribly unsettling and is present in many Disney animated features going back to the time of Walt Disney. And that is the need to tragically, and often quite sadly, kill off a featured character. Does death belong in an animated movie that is primarily targeted for children? I come up on the 'No' side of that argument and I find the Mufasa death scene absolutely heartbreaking in a movie I really want to enjoy. The Circle of Life doesn't always trump death.
And for the life of me, I cannot explain why Disney imagineers would want to include the Mufasa death scene in World of Color. It almost seems like an over the top grab at an audience's emotional heart strings rather than letting a story naturally play out. For me, this almost cheap grasping at sentimintality keeps the show from being all it could be. Three cheers for The Lion King but in the theaters or buying the new version in the store, I'll pass.