This week, every 90’s baby’s fave turns 20 years old.
The Lion King premiered two decades ago on June 15th, as if we didn’t feel old enough already. For those of us who still feel like the 90’s was ten years ago, this news hits us right in the childhood.
We laughed, we cried, we knew betrayal early in life because of The Lion King. The Lion King franchise is one of very few to master the art of the sequel, in my humble opinion. Both movies had dope story lines and plot components that could be applied to our real lives, not to mention EPIC SOUNDTRACKS that embodied all that was good about the time period. For those of us starting elementary around ’94/’95, the first Lion King is part of the canon of Disney and cartoon movies.
So let’s recap for the youth and/or others that clearly missed the boat on this greatness: the movie tells the story of the birth and life of young Simba, who struggles to find his place as king of the Pride Lands. Along the way, Simba makes two unlikely friends in Timon & Pumbaa and loses his father, Mufasa (only for him to come back to him in a vision to remind him of his purpose).
If you ever think your parents are too hard on you just remember that Mufasa materialized as a cloud to tell Simba to get his shit together. — a vastly reused & reproduced Tumblr text post
Simba eventually takes his place as king after killing his Uncle Scar (“The monkey’s his uncle?!” … “Who’s got a scar?!”). He goes super saiyan on Pride Rock after learning that Scar & his loyal hyena posse set up Mufasa’s death when Simba was a child. Dysfunctional family story line of the decade, yes, but with the right combination of catchy songs & comic relief, The Lion King won the hearts of millions. In fact, the movie was re-released TWICE: once in 2002 for IMAX & again in 2011 for 3D conversion. My friends and I crowded the theater, among several dozen parents seeking to give their children the gift of The Lion King, armed with 3D goggles and all the song lyrics still embedded in our memory. It’s Broadway adaption is still the fourth longest running show and highest grossing show in Broadway’s history.
If you young people STILL doubt the epic importance of this film, here are a few critical excerpts from the movie and its stage rendition for your viewing pleasure:
There are two types of people in this world: those that shed a thug tear when Mufasa died, and those that didn’t. Folks’ lack of emotional attachment to The Lion King says more about them than it does about the movie, and they have my pity.
Relive your childhood this weekend and watch The Lion King. Laugh at Timon & Pumbaa, ponder Rafiki’s life lessons and cry if you need to– the Bees don’t judge. Let this movie take you back to a simpler time, when life was all about recess, popsicles & afternoon cartoons.
You deserve a break, so treat yo’self.