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The Lion King

The Lion King is the 32nd animated feature in the Disney animated feature canon, and the third highest-grossing animated feature film ever released in the United States. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, originally released to selected cities by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution on June 15, 1994, and put into general release on June 24, 1994. It made a short return to theaters starting from November 18, 1994, less than half a year after its initial release, with a 3-minute preview of Pocahontas.  The film was later re-released with digital enhancements to giant-screen IMAX theaters on December 25, 2002. Among fans, the film is commonly referred to as TLK.

The film focuses on a young lion in Africa named Simba, who learns of his place in the "Circle of Life" while struggling through various obstacles to become the rightful king. It is frequently alleged that The Lion King was based on Osamu Tezuka's 1960s animated series Kimba the White Lion, although many of the filmmakers deny this. The filmmakers do, however, acknowledge the prominent influences of the Shakespeare play Hamlet, the Bible stories of Joseph and Moses, and the 1942 Disney animated feature Bambi.

The Lion King is a musical film, with songs written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, and a film score by Hans Zimmer. The score and one of its songs went on to win Academy Awards.

Cast of characters

 A promotional image of characters from the film. Clockwise from left: Ed, Scar, Shenzi, Banzai, Rafiki, Mufasa, Simba, Sarabi, Zazu, Timon, Pumbaa, Sarafina and Nala.Unlike previous Disney animated films which featured only a select few famous voice actors alongside lesser-known performers, nearly all of the voice acting work for The Lion King was done by well-known actors.
lion king characters
Simba, voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a cub and Matthew Broderick as an adult, is the protagonist of the movie, and destined to be the ruler of the Pride Lands.
Mufasa, voiced by James Earl Jones, is King of the Pride Lands and Simba's father.
Scar, voiced by Jeremy Irons, is the film's antagonist and Mufasa's brother, who aspires to take his place as King.
Timon and Pumbaa, voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella respectively, are the comical meerkat and warthog pair who live under the philosophy of "Hakuna Matata" (no worries).
Rafiki, voiced by Robert Guillaume, is a wise mandrill who presents the newborn prince of the lions.
Nala, voiced by Niketa Calame as a cub and Moira Kelly as an adult, is the childhood friend and intended mate of Simba.
Zazu, voiced by Rowan Atkinson, is a loyal hornbill who serves as Mufasa's majordomo.
Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings respectively, are a trio of hyenas who assist Scar.
Sarabi, voiced by Madge Sinclair, is Simba's mother and the leader of the lionesses.
Sarafina, voiced by Zoe Leader, is Nala's mother.
[edit] Music
Elton John and Tim Rice wrote five original songs for this film, and John performs "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" during the end credits. However, the major musical praise focused on Hans Zimmer's score which was supplemented with traditional African music and choir elements arranged by Lebo M.

The Lion King is heavily influenced by American musical theater. The film's look changes drastically from the "realistic" world of the drama to the stylized world of the musical numbers. For instance, the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" number transitions from a background of natural savanna to abstract blue and pink African tribal patterns the instant the singing begins but the scene transitions just as quickly back out of it when the music ends. Also, in the "Hakuna Matata" number, the characters sing in a jungle surrounding lit by spotlights that follow them from the sky.

The film went on to win Best Original Score and Best Original Song ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight") in both the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. Three songs from the film were nominated simultaneously for the Best Original Song Academy Award ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight", "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata"), with "Circle of Life" also being nominated simultaneously in the same category at the Golden Globe Awards.

Songs

These are the musical numbers of the film, listed in order of appearance.

"Circle of Life" is sung by an off-screen Carmen Twillie, with African vocals by Lebo M and his African choir. This song is played during the ceremony where a new-born Simba is presented to the animals of the Pride Lands. Not a single line of dialogue is uttered by the characters. The song is reprised at the end of the film, only it is Simba and Nala's new-born cub who is being presented.

"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is sung by young Simba (Jason Weaver), young Nala (Laura Williams), and Zazu (Rowan Atkinson). Simba uses this musical number in the film to distract Zazu (so Nala and himself can sneak off to the elephant graveyard), while expressing his wish to be king as soon as possible.

"Be Prepared" is sung by Scar (Jeremy Irons/Jim Cummings), Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), Banzai (Cheech Marin) and Ed (Jim Cummings). In this song, Scar reveals his evil plot to kill Mufasa and Simba to his loyal hyena minions. The scene where Scar sits on a cliff overlooking his hyenas marching mimics the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, with Scar taking the place of Adolf Hitler; the hyenas' march is a reminiscent of the Nazi goose-step. The voice of Scar in this song switches from Jeremy Irons to Jim Cummings from the line "You won't get a sniff without me!" This was reportedly due to Irons's vocal cords giving out.
 
"Hakuna Matata" is sung by Timon (Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) and Simba (Jason Weaver as a cub and Joseph Williams as an adult). Timon and Pumbaa use this song as a warm welcome to Simba as he arrives at their jungle home. Simba learns to eat bugs and grows up into a young adult by the end of the song.

"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is a love song sung mainly by an off-screen Kristle Edwards, with Timon (Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), adult Simba (Joseph Williams) and adult Nala (Sally Dworsky). This musical sequence shows Timon and Pumbaa's frustration at Simba falling in love, and the development of Simba and Nala's romantic relationship.

"Morning Report" is a song originally not in the film, but was a song written for the film's Broadway musical. It was added to the film, with a whole-new animated sequence, in the 2003 Platinum Edition home video re-release. Sung by Zazu (Jeff Bennett), Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and young Simba (Evan Saucedo), the song is an extension of the scene in the original film where Zazu delivers a morning report to Mufasa, and later gets pounced on by Simba.
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