If you’ll recall, little earbuds, I mentioned last time that I was going to write about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween this week. Well, I still intend to, but not today. I’m sticking with the Disney theme, though. This week I went to the cinema and saw The Lion King in 3D. And let me tell you, it was glorious. The artwork still looks good after all these years, and in 3D it really popped. I was instantly caught up in the story of life as seen through the eyes of the lions of Pride Rock, but above all I’d forgotten how much the music meant to me. I used to listen to the soundtrack all the time when I was younger, but having not heard it in over a decade, the music was even more powerful this time around.
I was constantly weeping, truth be told. I probably cried more during The Lion King than I have during any other film that I’ve seen in the cinema in the past, oh, I’d say at least four years. And yes, that includes the final Harry Potter films! I would attribute this river of tears to three factors. The first is, of course, that it’s a very touching story as well as a part of my childhood. I cried when I first saw it and I still cry today. It’s very moving, and I can’t imagine anyone not crying or at the very least getting a lump in the throat. Watching the film today not only engrosses me in the story but also reminds me of those childhood times. The second is the fact that I now live with four beautiful indoor cats. When I was younger and had outdoor cats running around on our farm, of course I was attached to them, but I didn’t get to observe them as closely as I do our indoor cats of today. Plus when you live with a creature, any sort of creature, you’re bound to build even stronger bonds with them, especially if they tend to sleep on the end of your bed at night. So every time that Simba and Nala rubbed heads or purred my heart melted, because all I could see were my own sweet babies.
Finally, the third thing that made this viewing of The Lion King very emotional for me is perhaps the most obvious. When I first saw the film I had never lost anyone close to me. Now I have. So as an adult who has experienced the loss of a close loved one, the parts of the film that referenced not only Simba’s ancestors but also his father watching over him were incredibly powerful. I found myself thinking of the song “He Lives In You” from the Rhythm of the Pridelands album that came out shortly following the original film’s soundtrack. The song is by the incredible Lebo M (who did much of the music in the film and is in fact the famous voice that you hear at the opening of the movie) and it was later used to great effect in the Broadway musical of The Lion King.
You can easily view this song as religious, calling upon any number of deities, or it can stand as a reference to those you love who have passed on. There is no right or wrong way to experience music, but I personally find it to be particularly poignant in the latter context. The song is very timeless and beautiful in both melody and message. I can hardly believe that I’d forgotten about it, but now that I’ve heard it again I can’t stop listening to it. Though like the very film itself, this song now has oceans of meaning that weren’t present before, and I’m grateful for it. I never expected such momentous feelings to arise from a simple movie outing, but I’m very glad that I was able to make it to the cinema to watch The Lion King on the big screen again. Despite the flood of emotions that this film and its music create in me, I was thrilled to have such a moving cinematic experience, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.