This story inflicts an additional affront: it's a pure patriarchy in which Simba's mom was merely a pregnant vessel.
Disney has served up one of each of the things it does best for this summer's younger movie fans and the grownups who love to accompany them. "Angels in the Outfield" is an unashamed lunge for your heartstrings, while "The Lion King" is an invitation to watch the extraordinary marriage of computer graphics with human animation.
"The Lion King" is powerful proof that animation succeeds when it is brought to life by adult voices rather than baby talkers. Jeremy Irons is absolutely smashing as Scar, the pretender to the throne of Pridelands, the kingdom ruled by Mufasa (James Earl Jones), who is training his son Simba (Jonathan Taylor-Thomas) for his ascendancy.
We enjoy Simba's playful childhood and his rescue from death by two wonderfully light and nutty creations, Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumba (Ernie Sabella). What else could they be but a meerkat and a warthog? But, as always with Disney and all fairy tales, a cruel space lies outside the kingdom promising tragedy that always materializes. This story inflicts an additional affront: it's a pure patriarchy in which Simba's mom was merely a pregnant vessel. In this vision of the animal kingdom, women don't even raise the children.
Even if we can admire animators who make their computer keys dance, we miss the early ones who poured their hearts into the likes of Gepetto and Jimminy Cricket. Some humanity is lost in the transition to electronic wizardry. Still, it's a wonderful movie.
Film Critic: JOAN ELLIS
Word Count: 244
Rating: PG 1h2m
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