Watching director Jon Favreau's spectacularly buoyant homage to the circle of life, I bemoaned not having had a little niece or nephew on loan to give me the moppet point of view. As Art Linkletter noted, kids say the darnedest things, and a quote from Taylor or Max would have at least facilitated an opening paragraph. Hey, I'd of credited them.
But then, as "The Lion King's" joyous, action-filled and altruistic wisdom unreeled before my consistently amazed eyes, it came to me. It was a Ponce de León of the mind. Blown away by the seamlessly elegant, completely
infatuating majesty of the special effects, the eight-year-old in me was, for 118 engaged minutes, reawakened. I also had a sudden craving for some Goobers and a Coke.
It is all too often that we tout the commonly available special effects of an otherwise mediocre movie, a polite but tiring indulgence that happily is not the case here. The photorealistic, computer-animated process employed in this remake of the 1994 conventionally animated Disney film represents a moviemaking watershed. It is the biggest FX leap since the filmic abracadabra conjured in "Avatar" (2009). Come the Oscars, when they perfunctorily segue to the technological awards given out earlier in some hotel lobby, wherein a gaggle of tuxedoed and gowned eggheads receive their statuettes, a renewed respect will prompt my hearty applause.
In the plain parlance of the Uber driver who did have benefit of his urchin offspring during a recent viewing, "They really look like real animals. It's scary. We won't need zoos, though I'm kind of against that anyway. It's like a variation on the bio-mechanics of 'Jurassic Park.'" To which I replied, "Yeah, just have to hope that those who would foist Big Brother on us for their perpetual power don't latch on to the same wizardry."
To which he then replied, "Hey, how do you know they already haven't? I mean, if you think about it, this guy we have now doesn't act or look that real?"
Coupling this magic with the humanitarian import of animals proffering witty and wise axioms about the business of living a righteous and productive life, "The Lion King," which will gross millions of dollars, proves folks still want goodness in their entertainment. Too bad so many of them don't hold their political choices to the same beneficent standards. There is an aberrant disconnect in the parent who will make sure his tots benefit from the goodwill espoused in "The Lion King," but give not even lip service to the tragedy of children systematically abused on our borders. I'm sure Mufasa, the sage and judicious king of the jungle cut short in his reign by his avaricious brother, Scar, voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor, would have some poignant criticism of that.
Now, perhaps to be picayune, but nonetheless true to my own, idiosyncratic view of modern culture, I have to voice my objection to this king stuff. While it may be awkward, and the whole idea of royal progression would be skewed if the film were to be titled "The Lion President" or "The Lion Prime Minister," fact is, the crown in fairy tales is a literary appendage that no longer has a basis in real life. Most civilized nations have by now gone the constitutional democracy route, even if some forlornly unenlightened folks haven't received the memo. The United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth may have the power of decision when it comes to the color of the curtains at Windsor Castle, but the rest of that throne nonsense went out with bleeding sick people with leeches.
Thus it only follows that at the après theatre dinner at McDonald's, I might apprise a resultantly bored Sarah and Sam about the concept of a benevolent dictator, and how it's OK for fictional purposes, but otherwise a slippery slope leading to the loss of liberty. Hmm … no wonder no one wants to go to the movies with me.
The social studies, pontificating portion of my review completed, I guess I should say a few things about the film. Although most of the world is by now familiar with the saga, the combination of resplendent landscapes and superb voicing of the magnificently imaged players breathes a reinvigorating spirit into the franchise. Verbalized in his best, classically momentous plosives and fricatives, James Earl Jones' Mufasa royally convinces us of his magnanimity as
he tutors Simba in the finer points of noblesse oblige. And, in supplying the sort of lighthearted counterpoint that imbues a work of this philosophical heft with universal appeal, Seth Rogen's whimsical interjection as Pumbaa, Simba's warthog version of Sancho Panza, is comedy relief par excellence. All of which should alert parents, grandparents and other assorted caregivers that their own princes and princesses will be commanding their accompaniment to "The Lion King."
"The Lion King," rated PG, is a Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures release directed by Jon Favreau and stars the voices of Donald Glover, Beyoncé and Seth Rogen. Running time: 118 minutes
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
The 24-inch main sprung a leak sometime on Tuesday that was reported about 7 p.m. that night. Crews began working the problem on Wednesday morning. River Street between Marshall and Holden was closed to traffic.
click for more
The total amount to be raised is $40,939,756, up $134,218, or 0.33 percent, from last year. Some $11,369.776 has already been spent over the past three months through continuing appropriations caused by delays in the state budget because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
click for more
Local governments will be taking up the question of Halloween activities in the coming weeks but it looks like traditional trick-or-treating is out this year. And don't think that plastic costume mask is a substitute for the cloth one you're wearing now.
click for more
Lever and the City of North Adams have been awarded $65,000 and $20,000, respectively, through a state grant program to support forest stewardship and conservation, trail improvements, and nature-based tourism in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) region. click for more