Raising Your Pride
The Lion King in IMAX
Review by Ross Anthony

In IMAX in short, it's just as wonderful as on the big screen. Too many years have passed since I viewed the 35mm print; but this one still looks smashing to me. Rich in color and color scheme contrasts, rumbling with rhythm, music, humor and deep emotion. I cringe at the site of Scar, smile at Rafiki and rise to believe in Simba - breathing in deeply the encouragement his story has for all of us.

Actually, about a year ago, I'd seen the stage play of "The Lion King" in Los Angeles. I think I enjoyed this IMAX version slightly better than even that. They both have their moments of magic -- but that wildebeest scene in the film -- that's cinematic greatness.

Having spent one wonderful year in Kenya myself, the peppering of Swahili in the script is certainly great fun to hear again. "Hakuna Matata" really does mean "No Worries," and Simba is the Swahili word for lion. Rafiki (the baboon) means "friend." And the later scene when Rafiki is swinging in the trees laughing "Asanta Sana Squashed Banana" -- "Asanta Sana" means "That you very much."

Actually, at my particular screening a comedy of distractions tried it's best to derail my enjoyment of the film. I'll describe them here for two reasons: first as a testament to the strength of the production and second in hopes of finding a happy solution to the problem.

At the outset, a small child opened his mouth and howled for the first ten minutes. The mother tried to calm him by picking him up and carrying him in the back against the wall -- where I was sitting. Before I could even chuckle to myself at that unlucky turn of events, another child started crying. Then some latecomers found seats directly next to mine and started up a conversation. I should have been angry, but since I'd seen the film, and knew the story, I simply marveled at the circus the audience made of itself. But wait - there's more.

Directly in front of me (I'm not kidding) the woman stood up and leaned over an empty seat to talk with her husband. I'm not sure what they were discussing, but she did not break that bend (in front of me) for nearly ten minutes (I'm not exaggerating). During that time, something more offending distracted me, the wafting sent of fresh human poo-poo. It came in waves and was gone, so I was still trying to decide if it was really poo-poo. Then the woman finally stood upright holding in her hands what appeared to be soiled diapers. Oh my goodness, the seat in front of me wasn't empty, it was occupied by a baby expressing himself in an altogether different way. So... are you ready for the rest? The woman takes the diaper and sits back down in her seat! That's it! No trip to the restroom, just sits down. How could you not laugh at that? Well, while I was still in a surprisingly amused and amazed demeanor, I got up and moved.

The moral of the story. The past is the past, don't dwell on your mistakes -- stand up and be the best darn lion you can be. Let me hear you roar! (But not in a movie theater. In a movie theater there are many other people sitting around you. And guess what? They don't want to hear or smell you or your children.)

Oh, I know, I know, kids are kids and sometimes there's nothing we can do when they decide to howl. I'm not blaming parents or the children. Each and every one of us is either someone's parent or child (or both). I'm just saying there's a consequence to letting children howl in the theatre. And that is ... annoying scores of nice people who paid hard earned money and time to enjoy a film. Many times they're so nice they don't even ask you to kindly remove your screaming kid from their eardrums.

Actually, I've got a friend who refuses to watch films at the cinema for these reasons. That's too bad. Perhaps there's a compromise. Of course, there's seldom a need for a conversation in the theater, the only understandable problem is small children who decide to howl. Perhaps theater-managers could offer free tickets to parents who get up to leave? Better yet -- theaters could be constructed with sound proof coves ... or booths. Why not? Ten seat viewing booths with Plexiglas windows. The baby cries, the family moves to the booth. I think it's a great idea -- go tell your cinema managers. Until then, load up on pacifiers and lollipops. And goodness, bring the child to the restroom.

Btw, I do have sympathy for the woman with the soiled diaper -- no doubt she deserved to relax and enjoy the film more than any one of us there. That is for sure. But more than all of us combined?

  • The Lion King in IMAX. Copyright © 1994/2002. Rated G.
  • Starring the voices of Jonathon Taylor Thomas/Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Moira Kelly/Niketa Calame, Earnie Sabella, Nathan Lane, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi/Cheech/Jim, Madge Sinclair.
  • Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.
  • Screenplay by Mecchi, Roberts, Woolverton. Produced by Don Hahn at Disney. IMAX.


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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Oct-2010 15:44:25 PDT