I have a confession to make.
I paid more money than I make in a year to see The Lion King in IMAX/3D.
I’m aware that this is a tech blog, so don’t worry, it’s headed in that direction. But instead of starting from the straight technological path, let me guide you from my starting point.
As a young boy at the age of 8, yet another Disney movie headed to theaters. This meant one thing for my mother and Aunt: dragging about 10 children under 13 to watch their animated masterpiece.
I was already fascinated with the Ninja Turtles and cartoons in general. The fact that it wasn’t real, but personified animals that came to life from a pencil always wowed me.
I wanted to be the voice of the characters and a lot of my impressions come from my love of imitating the characters. My favorite as a child was Nathan Lane’s “Timon”, my adult favorite Robert Guillaume’s “Rafiki”.
Parts of this story were helped to life by the latest change in technology at the time. One of the most memorable scenes, the wildebeest stampede, was actually used in conjunction with computer generation to help make the stampede look authentic.
These changes have progressed rapidly, and now it’s more difficult to find a major hit animated through graphite and ink than it is through computers and 3D technology.
The Lion King was revolutionary in its own time and many people were probably thinking that Disney would be crazy to bring back the flick to screens as a 3D film.
But Disney didn’t listen to the criticisms, and brought Mufasa back from the dead so that he could be trampled for a second time, but this time by cloven hooves in 3D.
As I settled into the seat where I knew I had overpaid, I got chills. I wasn’t reliving my childhood like I had expected. No memories of Raisinets, Junior Mints, or Snow Caps danced on my tongue. I wasn’t just there because I was 8 and it was a Disney movie.
I was there to watch how they adapted a film I grew up with to the technology that’s grown up with me.
Obviously it’s not designed to be in 3D, so there are some areas where it didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to have the technology, but it’s still a visual treat.
The opening sequence places layers of birds in flight and resting on an elephant’s tusk that seem to jump ahead of the background. Pumba looks rotund. Even Timon seems to jump off the screen.
This mash up of timeless film and new age technology makes more sense than just dollars for Disney.
It opens the film to a new generation and allows new parents a chance to share this film with their own Simba’s and Nala’s. And technology made it possible and profitable.
Of course there are flaws, but they weren’t even worth bringing up. The release doesn’t just take you back, it gives you a whole new feeling and helps sum up a great philosophy on life.
Your past is your past, but don’t ever let progress pass you by.