Hey guys! As some of you may know, film is one of my biggest passions. I have a degree in it and I’m actually training to teach it at the moment. It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in ever since I was little. My mum said that I would always sit in front of the TV and happily rewatch films again and again. Not much has changed. I wanted to start a series where I would break down films into the mis-en-scene and review the cinematography, some of the directorial choices, etc. So, where better to start than one of my favourite films in the world? Hope you enjoy!
- Scar and Mufasa’s confrontation.
Scar in general deserves his own post, I think. I’ve always had an affinity for villains, especially of the Disney variety, but Scar is one of my favourites. To those of you who have looked into his backstory, it’s incredibly sad and unlike some of the other villains who take over because they can, he is the only one who has a legitimate reason. But, as I said! That is another post all together. I’ve never really paid much attention to this scene before I started watching it critically and one thing I loved was the lighting in it. One of the beautiful things about the Lion King is its cinematography through animation and how much detail is applied to it. The first confrontation with Scar and Mufasa is testament to this as all the way through, Scar is in shadow while Mufasa is shrouded in light. If we needed any more inclination as to who is the bad guy then there it is. A really subtle beautiful moment.
2. The irony of the song ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King. ‘
I actually hadn’t noticed the relevance of this until I was watching it with my friend and as Simba started to sing this catchy song, they said ‘you won’t be saying that in a minute.’ It really opened my eyes to how morbid this entire thing is. Obviously, Simba is only a child and doesn’t know exactly that the only way for him to become King is for his Father to die but I think it is one of the subtle lessons within this film – be careful what you wish for. Simba later discovers that being King isn’t what he wanted, having his Father is but he realises it all too late. Also, can we talk about the colours in this scene? They are incredible. I really miss 2D animation like this, I think it was just so stunning. If you look at the screencap below, you can see the painted background and then Simba animated on the top of it. No wonder this film won so many awards.
I think everyone and their Mother has pointed this moment out but it is really strange one and I’m not entirely sure why Disney put it in. Obviously, for children, it’ll go over a lot of their heads but it makes Scar even more of a terrifying villain with his dictator stance standing over the top of all of the hyenas. Again, I don’t want this to become a Scar post but I think his link to the hyenas is another one of his interesting traits. He promised them food which shows that for whatever the reason may be, Mufasa doesn’t allow hyenas to share the Pride Lands’ food. You can tell me this is because the hyenas attack antelope, etc, but so does Mufasa! And he openly admits to it! I want to know more about the hyenas, dammit.
4. Simba grieving for Mufasa.
I think this is another one of the moments that I really admire Disney for putting in. While I don’t agree with them killing every parent to ever exist, I think it is something that a lot of children sadly go through. But I think the thing that differentiates Lion King from the rest of the films is that they actually let Simba find the body. While it creates a really poignant, sad moment for the audience, it may bring some catharsis to people who have been in the same situation as Simba. Life doesn’t work the way that some children’s films pretend, the body of a loved one doesn’t just disappear. Even though it’s disturbing seeing Simba try to wake up his dad, I think it’s a moment that is needed.
5. The colour contrast since Scar becomes King.
Aside from the previous screencap, the film was full of life and colour. But the moment that Mufasa dies and Scar takes over, it is drained and turns into this horrible grey-green colour to portray the difference in their rules. While this isn’t difficult to see why they’ve done this, I couldn’t help but think about when Jesus dies in the Bible and there’s an eclipse, shrouding everything in darkness. That’s what it feels like in the Lion King. I also want to talk about the particular screencap below. As some of you may or may not know, the Lion King is based off of the same story as Hamlet. If any of you have seen the iconic scene in Hamlet, then you’ll appreciate this moment with me.
So, there you have it! What are some of your favourite moments in Lion King? Do you agree with what I’ve said above or did you see something different? Film is like any other art and is subjective so everyone receives things differently – I’d love to hear what you guys think!
P.S. What film would you like me to do next? Let me know in the comments.
P.P.S Did you see my last film post? Click here to check out five theories I have about Moana (2016.)