Review by Bill Hunt
The Lion King is arguably the most successful animated feature film of all time. It is certainly one of the most profitable. The film succeeds largely because of a fluky convergence of elements that, to this day, even the creators don't fully understand. When the story was first in development at Disney, it was considered a less than desirable project to work on - pitched as Bambi in Africa. Much of the so-called A-talent at the studio passed on it to work on Pocahontas instead. But then, some interesting things began to happen. Rather than working from pre-existing material, as was the norm at Disney, the producers crafted an entirely new story - a coming of age tale set in the world of the animal kingdom. Originally, the film wasn't intended to be a musical, but Tim Rice was brought on board to write a number of songs, and Elton John came soon after to put those lyrics to music. The resulting musical numbers were so good, that they inspired the animators and producers creatively to take the project to the next level. Add to this mix the amazing cast of voice talent, and the accomplished scoring by Hans Zimmer and Lebo M., and suddenly the film began to take on an amazing life of its own. The Lion King went on, of course, to thrill audiences right from the very opening note and visual image.