The Lion King
Animated, 89 minutes
Released June 24th, 1994 by Disney
I’m not going to summarize the movie in this review, because if you haven’t seen The Lion King already, I just feel sorry for you.
Warning: Don’t wear mascara to this movie if you have any emotional attachment to it. I teared up at so many moments. I can’t believe I forgot how frigging good this movie is. (SO FRIGGING GOOD, in case you forgot, too.) I felt like I was on the verge of tears the entire time. (Perhaps an exaggeration, but not by much. I’m not one of those people who cries during movies, but in the past couple of years Toy Story 3, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and now The Lion King have made me tear up.)
I went to a Saturday morning show, and it was packed with people my age who grew up with The Lion King during the golden age of Disney feature-length animation, and parents with their kids – many of whom were likely seeing it for the first time. It was such a responsive audience, for which I am grateful. Audience response is one of the reasons I go to the movies. You guys, everyone clapped and cheered after “Circle of Life!” There was that last drum beat (you know it), the title flashed in red across a black background, and the audience went nuts. People laughed at all the right moments, at things we laughed at nearly two decades ago and jokes I totally didn’t get when I was 11. I was riveted during “Be Prepared,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” hit me in a way it never did before.
While babysitting earlier this month, I made an offhand comment about having 100 Barbies. This is perhaps an exaggeration, but I certainly had no less than 60. The little girl I was watching told me that her mother doesn’t like Barbie and thinks Barbie is stupid. (Possibly not the word she used. I don’t think this family uses that word, but it was something close to it.) She’s almost 5 years old, and she said this a little sadly while holding her one Ariel doll (from The Little Mermaid).
Clearly my parents had no such reservations, and Barbie in the 80s was a totally different doll than she is today, in many ways. But the thing she has never been in my lifetime is stupid. Barbie taught me that a woman can be anything she wants – a doctor, an astronaut, a rock star, a veterinarian, a teacher (like my mom) – and can look good doing it. (Many episodes of What Not to Wear have shown me that this is a hard lesson for women to learn.) In recent years Barbie has added such professions to her resume as computer engineer, architect, and art teacher (like me!). These are not the career paths of a stupid woman! On top of all that, she still leads a vibrant social life, apparently raises a slew of siblings, and maintains a healthy relationship with no visible signs of codependency. (We won’t talk about the Blaine years.) Isn’t this the type of superwoman we’re told we should be?