June 28, 1994 -- ``The Lion King'' is supposed to be the big hit of the summer and it is a good film, but I found it a little disappointing.
The Disney feature-length cartoon has dazzling computer-enhanced imagery. Interesting characters and one great song, ``Circle of Life,'' that comes at the very beginning of the film.
The voice characterizations, by James Earl Jones (Mufasa) and Jeremy Irons (Scar), Matthew Broderick (Simba) and Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi) are all very good.
So what's wrong with it? It's just that Disney has set the stakes so high with all the hype for this show, following on the heels of the studio's overwhelming success with ``Beauty and the Beast'' and ``Aladdin,'' that it can't measure up. They aimed high, but they missed the mark. Technically, this film is excellent. The artwork is outstanding. The film uses shifting fields of focus and some computer animation to achieve a very lifelike look. What it lacks is a good, compelling story. The main character, Simba, the lion king, is weak. He's not as interesting as his evil uncle, Scar, or some of the other side characters. Aside from ``The Circle of Life,'' the songs are not very memorable.
The story has to do with Simba, an outcast lion, finding his true nature and returning to the pride as king. Along the way, he meets two very interesting characters, a meercat named Timon (voice by Nathan Lane) and a warthog, Pumbaa (voice by Ernie Sabella) who really add a lot to the film.
No, it's not as good as ``Aladdin'' and ``Beauty and the Beast,'' but it's a heck of a lot better than most of the crap that passes for family entertainment these days. Kids ought to love it.
It rates a B.
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