I'm not sure if many of you know this but The Lion King has always been my top Disney childhood movie. Something else you may not know is that the past two weekends since this movie has been released in 3D it has ranked #1. Apparently a lot of people share my affection. Not only is this proven by box office stats, but also by atmosphere in the theatre this evening.
Yes that is where I was. I went with some friends to watch The Lion King in 3D. We went to the late show (9:40pm) and so the theatre was filled with an older crowd (I'd say the average age was 25, which is old in terms of a Disney movie people!). All of whom came to relive the wonder of days gone by.
I remember seeing this movie in the theatre the first time around. The main thing that runs through my memory from that experience is hiding behind the seats whenever the hyenas came on screen. Although I have desensitized myself of the fear regarding these cartoon villains, I found myself jumping in my seat tonight throughout the (now 3D and most terrifying) chase in The Elephant Graveyard.
I would go as far as to say that everyone else was experiencing the same kind of thing. There was a feel in the room and as one of my friends said this evening "Everyone is so in to this!" ...and it's true. People were laughing at the old jokes, and the new ones (that are only realized with age), singing and dancing along to songs firmly embedded into memory, fully feeling the depth of Scar's betrayal, perhaps for the first time, and allowing the beautiful moments to hit home, letting a tear or two roll down...
Okay, okay I admit that I like to inflate the truth, I'm an emotional person! Perhaps only one or two people cried, and so what if I was one of them!?!?!? My sister says that I am a 'gasper' and I suppose I cannot argue with that. BUT I would confidently say that each person in the theatre tonight felt what I've expressed to some degree! And agree with me or not, I feel that this is important...
As participating humans on this planet we are privileged to be aware of what is going on in our world. Yet many people are daunted by the task of becoming involved, and like the young cub Simba choose to turn away, ignoring other's cries for help. Case in point, I could have stayed home tonight and put that $15.00 to something else! If not for my own productive use, then for someone else's cause. But I chose to go see a movie that I have seen many many times before. How is that useful? Well we work and we play, those are choices we make, and as I said before, I wasn't out throwing my money all over the town. I'm not sure if you see a difference or if you believe me to be trying to justify selfish entertainment, but allow me to move on... it may help explain my thought process.
You see, those old Disney movies (and probably the new ones) are just dripping with moral value: Respect the uses of all creatures, be friends with others even if they aren't like you, the past can hurt but you learn from it, hold onto the truly important things in life, never listen to your Uncle Scar, and don't kill him - even when you're justified in doing so ;)
The coolest thing though? 17 years later the audience still got all of that, and were "...so in to it!" allowing themselves to be reminded of the importance of (in grown-up words) honor, dignity, pride (the good kind), honesty and of course... love. Perhaps this ploy of generating more revenue for an already filthy rich company, is really the perfect nudge for all the kids who watched it 17 years ago! One that allows them to enter into an age of responsibility and actively participate in the world... for it is a beautiful place to exist.
Going to this movie wasn't simply in response to the 'new and improved' graphics, but a desire to remember the beauty of such a redeeming story: Life is good, then there is a catastrophe and a boy is lied to, guilt tripped into running away, he decides it's easiest to forget, then he has some sense knocked into him so he goes to right some wrongs. I'd say that seeing that as a child gives the thrill of adventure! Seeing it as an adult gives the hope for the future.
A big lesson told in a great way. Creating an experience that brings of those values back home, in the circle of our lives with a new grown-up 3D perspective.
That... or I'm crazy. You decide.
Photo from here