We don't rent the girls that many Disney movies -- mainly because we don't like most of them. They very much enjoyed Bambi, which I think was quite a good one. They also enjoy Beauty And The Beast, which I don't like at all, but we agreed to borrow it for them after they watched the beginning at a restaurant.
Just recently, however, we let them see The Lion King. I'd been a good 10+ years since I'd seen it, but I'd remembered it being a pretty good movie. On re-seeing it, I again pretty impressed.
It seems like I heard Lion King summarized as "Hamlet meets Bambi with lions". This may have points in its favor, but one could double up on the bard and avoid the dear by putting it slightly more accurately: "Hamlet meets Prince Hal with lions."
And really, what is there not to love about a movie that provides important childhood lessons like "Avenge your father, while remaining more virtuous than his killer." This is exactly the sort of lesson we all need more of if we're to be ready to move on to sound advice like that of Njal ("Never kill twice in the same family, and if you do, keep the settlement") by the time you're twelve or so.
Joking aside, there's something pleasingly elemental about the issues that young Simba has to figure out. None of this "I'm a spoiled princess and I want my way" stuff (ala Little Mermaid). Simba gets put up against dealing with the death of a loved one, guilt, the importance of accepting one's duty, and dispensing justice. Then he settles down and has kids.
None of the Disney movies about human characters seem to be able to buckle down and deal with basics like that.
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