"The Lion King" will stand as one of the great animated stories ever told. Period.


It returns now 17 years later having been digitally enhanced by 3D by Disney and re-released in theaters prior to it's Blue Ray 3D release. Well, at least on DVD you won't have to watch it in 3D.


This is more an editorial about the greed of studios cashing in on an allegedly premium product rather than leaving well enough alone.

There is at least a generation that missed "Th Lion King" in the theaters in 1994 that Disney has decided would be willing to pay an extra three dollars to see this classic work in Digital 3D. Keep in mind that "The Lion King", just like "The Little Princess", "Aladin", "Fantasia", "Mulan", "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", and probably a couple of others I can't recall at the moment, have terrific 2D animation that was rich in color and depth. They don't need enhancing.


So this is the equivalent of colorizing "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca". It really just doesn't need to be done. Be that as it may... the deed is done.


We are transported to the Savannah of Africa where all the herds of animals come to celebrate the newborn son of Mufasa (voiced regally by James Earl Jones... who else?). His new son, named Simba is the heir to the throne and will soon rule over all the animals of the jungle.


But that's not how one treacherous group of hyenas led by his evil brother Scar - who wants to be king.

In a coup d'etat Scar kills Mufasa and sends Simba into exile where the cub will have to fend for himself. He is accompanied by a weasel Timon (Nathan Lane) and boar Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) as he grows into lionhood.


He hools up with a lioness, Nala (Moira Kelly) and soon realizes he must return to take back the kingdom from Scar and the hyenas, which will be a daunting task since all the other animals think he's either dead or a coward.

Backed by a magnificent Oscar winning soundtrack scored by Elton John and Tim Rice, featuring the the Oscar winning "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and nominees "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata"; the movie soars for all ages. The story recalls everything Disney animated films have always represented... a certain sad realism and rewarding morale. "The Lion King" is the new "Bambi".

Unfortunately, the 3D actually takes the polish off. It's obviously not real... it looks like an afterthought. The colors and lighting are darker which defeats the wonders of old Disney animation.


"The Lion King 3D" is a marvelous film that is being shone through the veil of 3D, in other words you don't see all that you should. It is nevertheless still a great film that today's children and adults will enjoy.   -- GEOFF BURTON