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Thursday 20 July 2017

Review: The Lion King 3D * * * *

(G, general release)

Paul Whitington

It was with an attitude of mean-minded cynicism that I approached this 3D re-release of Disney's massively successful 90s animation. Odd, really, considering I'd never even seen the original, but I was perhaps put off by the soundtrack's sugary ballads and an undercurrent of moral righteousness.

How wrong I was, however, because The Lion King is actually a wonderful and heartwarming film that bears comparison with the great Disney animations of the 30s and 40s. Whether the 3D makeover greatly enhances the experience or not I cannot say, but it's a good excuse to enjoy its splendid, hand-drawn tableaux on the big screen.

There are echoes both biblical and Shakespearean to the story of Simba, the lion prince who's banished from the kingdom after his evil uncle kills his father and usurps the throne, and The Lion King's gorgeous animations are enhanced by a first-rate voice cast.

James Earl Jones' rumbling bass brings Simba's father to life, Matthew Broderick plays the grown-up Simba, and Jeremy Irons is wonderfully odious as the treacherous Mufasa. But the star of the show is Nathan Lane's all-singing, all-dancing meerkat, Timon. All in all, The Lion King is a joyous thing, and a cinematic treat for both nippers and grown-ups.

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