I was 14 years old when “The Lion King” debuted at the theater.
Mom and Dad took my brother and me to see it. Please don’t underestimate that last statement because I think by today’s standards it loses its merit. But in my youth, Disney reigned supreme and in 1994 I fell directly in the new movie’s marketing roundhouse.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – the adorable middle child from Home Improvement and teenage heartthrob from the 90s – was the voice of the adorable lion cub destined to be king of “everything the light touches.” James Earl Jones was forever renamed “Mufasa” … second only to Darth Vader. But this dynamic duo exquisitely captured the father-son relationship. There was respect. There was some fear – but most of all – there was love.
Fantastic music and fun were coupled with love, and I learned at a young age that sometimes we don’t learn everything we need in life easily or even early.
Once in a while a friend – otherwise known as “Rafiki” in the ’94 movie ¬– will come along and whack some truth into your noggin. A good friend will be honest, even when it hurts and then have your back when the hyenas attack.
The other important value from “The Lion King” brought everyone to tears (spoiler alert) when we think of the tragedy of one day losing our parents. I believe it’s important for us to hear the truth that they live in us long after they’re gone. All we can do is hold onto what they taught us, honor their memory and carry on the circle of life.
Will the next Lion King encapsulate the same heart and life lessons for my kids as the first one did for me? Especially for this Disney gem, it’s hard to beat the original in my opinion. My kids enjoyed “The Jungle Book” remake and I have a feeling they’ll enjoy the whole lineup of Disney remakes they have planned for 2019 … but for me that moment 20 years ago was pure Disney magic and I’ll never forget it.
Rebecca Haines is a contributor to The Carthage Press.