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Lion King 3D, The


Stars: Voices: Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson, James Earl Jones, Robert Guillaume, Jim Cummings, Cheech Marin, Nikete Calame, Moira Kelly

Director: Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers

With crisper, more beautiful images coming at you (although 3D does dull the film's brilliant colours a bit), this literally lends new dimensions to Disney's phenomenally successful cartoon cross between Bambi, Hamlet and The Jungle Book.

Beautiful African vistas are as good as anything else, in fact, in the story of a cub born to be king, who falls victim to the schemes of his evil Uncle Scar who, with the aid of a pack of hyenas, traps the cub in a wildebeest stampede that kills his father.

Fleeing Pride Rock, the cub is befriended by a manic meerkat and a windy warthog (Disney's then-concession to modern film comedy), who teach him the bare necessities (or whatever) until he can grow up and return to confront his wicked uncle. Since George Sanders had died, Disney went for the voice of Jeremy Irons as Scar, and Irons rewarded the faith with his best vocal performance in ages.

Other peripheral characters are amusing, especially a pedantic hornbill (Atkinson, coincidentally back on screen this week in Johnny English Reborn, a baboon medicine man (Guillaume) and a cackling hyena that looks like Whoopi Goldberg and actually is voiced by her.

The songs are jolly without being in the same class as those for such Disney classics as The Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid.

David Quinlan

USA 1994. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 01 Oct 2011