A grown Simba seeks his destiny in the 3D re-issue of Disney classic The Lion King.

A grown Simba seeks his destiny in the 3D re-issue of Disney classic The Lion King.

Aisle Seat: Lion King in 3D? ‘Hakuna Matata’

The Lion King 3D: Five stars out of 5

  • Sep. 18, 2011 1:00 p.m.

I’m not a huge fan of re-issuing films, and I’m certainly becoming less and less of a fan of 3D with every over-bloated gimmick-like release (hello, Shark Night).

That said, boy, do I love The Lion King 3D.

Granted, this is one of Disney’s crowning achievements, a hit that came at the high point of the studio’s animated renaissance.

Originally released in the summer of 1994 (It beat my son by a couple of weeks. He was born July 6 that year.  Now, he’ll probably drive me to the theatre.  And yes, I feel old.), the animated film is a ball of energy –– a colourful, musical re-telling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Even glazed with 3D icing, The Lion King makes for a warm, nostalgic sitting, simply because they don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

Let’s not forget, Toy Story was released just one year later – and the world of animation changed forever.  The Lion King doesn’t depend on visceral appeal –– not that, for a hand-drawn project, it isn’t splendid –– rather, it’s the heart behind it that makes it an instant masterpiece.

Very big and very ambitious, who would’ve thought that a tale with roots drenched in Greek tragedy and carried out by cutesy jungle animals would go on to become one of the best movies of the ‘90s?

For those who haven’t worn out a VHS copy of the flick –– for whatever reason, I never did pick this one up on DVD, which makes seeing it in pristine condition on the big screen again makes it even more special –– the plot has young lion cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) running away from his pride after feeling guilty over the death of his father (James Earl Jones), a tragedy orchestrated by evil Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons).

With young Simba out of the way, Scar becomes king. And once grown, the adult Simba (Matthew Broderick) has to find the courage to return home and take back what is rightfully his.

Really, you can’t miss with this one. It was awesome 17 years ago, ridiculously entertaining and emotionally resonating, and now, in 3D, I think you’ll appreciate even more just how good this cat is!

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is The Morning Star’s movie reviewer. His column, Aisle Seat, appears in the Arts section every Friday and Sunday.