Our list moves into the top 10, where there are no cheapies — everything here got a whole bunch of support from the panel. Tomorrow: #5.
6) The Lion King (6 votes, 272 points)
Chris: Two of the top five movies in our list were unanimous choices. The Lion King would have joined that club as well if not for one person who just never connected with this movie, even though he recognizes that it’s really good.
It puts me in an interesting position on these write-ups. I remember watching Lion King as a youngster and being really sad when Mufasa died, while thinking Scar was a jerk. That’s…about it. Getting a couple more viewings in when I was a bit older rekindled some of those memories, and I also had the benefit of a little more perspective.
Let’s be clear: this film has a lot of things going for it. It might have the strongest voice cast of any animated movie ever made — Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi, Cheech, James Earl Jones (!) and even a young JTT. Everyone does a phenomenal job. The plot is great, a perfect coming-of-age story about redemption and family and the importance of home.
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you why I don’t love this movie. I know I’m not ecstatic about the soundtrack — pretty much the only song I really like is Be Prepared, and hell, Jim Cummings is responsible for singing half of that anyway. But beyond that…I don’t know. It’s just not my favorite. I’m sorry if I’ve failed this poll.
Michaela: I will admit that when I was a kid I used to argue with Shaun that Lion King 2 was better than Lion King. A horrible thing to say, I know. But as a kid, I couldn’t understand the significance of Mufasa’s death and what that meant for the film as a whole. Years later, I’ve changed that outlook of course, and now realize that Lion King is a great film. It revolves around love, acceptance, and having the courage to move forward in life. Watching Simba go through the ordeal of losing his father and confronting his past many years later is something that audiences can relate to, and it makes the characters in the movie strong and memorable as well.
Cary: Most of my memories of this Disney tale have been supplanted by Broadway’s The Lion King. As it stands now, the film remains memorable if not as special. However, I will take Nathan Lane as a wise-cracking meerkat and Jeremy Irons as a despicable villain (in cat form or other) any day of the week.
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