#foreignplanetfilm is a feature in which we get people to tell us which film they’d take with them if they had to leave earth today and go to a brand new planet empty of all our cinema. Would they choose something to comfort themselves or would they choose something to help whatever may live or come to live on this foreign planet?
The Lion King – 1994
Writers: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Moira Kelly
I was a very simple child. I never asked for too much, all I needed was my Vanilla Ice CD (it only had Ice Ice Baby on it – yes, embarrassing, I know), my toys and – most of all – my ‘Lion King’ videotape. I spent a significant portion of my childhood watching that tape over and over and over again. And that was time well spent.
A few years ago, I was visiting my aunt and her 5-year-old son. He asked if we could watch a movie together so I decided to look through his DVD collection – the era of the videotape long-since passed – and I couldn’t help but notice a certain DVD’s conspicuous absence. When I asked him why he didn’t have The Lion King, he said he had no idea what that was. I don’t think I’d ever been more shocked – or horrified – in my entire life. How could someone not know what The Lion King was?! The film may have been released in 1994 but it remains a timeless classic. I had to rectify the situation. I immediately grabbed my laptop, found a good streaming link and shared an amazing life experience with him. Afterwards, he asked me all the same questions I had asked my elder siblings. I could almost see the scales falling from his eyes. Why did Scar kill his own brother? Was Mufasa’s death actually Simba’s fault? What kind of story is this?
I was suddenly forced to have the ‘bad things happen and we don’t know why’ talk with him, knowing that he probably still wouldn’t understand. I didn’t know how to explain that life is fleeting, that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I didn’t understand it then, either, and to be honest, I still don’t really now. The last #foreignplanetfilm piece understandably deemed this film too traumatic a choice for a whole new world, but it is my choice, perhaps, for that same reason. Every time I watch The Lion King I’m reminded of the senseless evil that exists in our world, and the fact that even though we can’t rationalise it, we are sometimes forced, expected to move on when we experience such evil in such painful, personal ways. Hard though it may be, that lesson would be just as important a lesson to learn on a foreign planet as it is on this one.
This movie was the first that came to mind when I was invited to write this feature, because it’s probably the only one I can watch over and over and still experience the same emotions I felt the very first time I watched it. It’s the only movie that would provoke a dramatic gasp of horror from me upon learning that someone had yet to see it, to experience it. I don’t think I need to say much more; The Lion King is one of the greatest movies out there. I urge you all to share the experience with your children, your grandchildren – anyone and everyone, really.
The soundtrack is also crazy good. I still randomly belt out the beginning of ‘Circle of Life’, completely messing up the lyrics of course, but I refuse to learn the correct words. I’m too attached to the lyrics I created years ago; as attached as I am to the film itself. Melodrama aside, I can honestly say that any planet without The Lion King isn’t one I’d like to live in.
Mo Etomi is a 22 year old law student at BPP university. She loves music, reading books, and spends way too much time doing quizzes on Buzzfeed. She is also a proud member of the Beyhive, and further stans for the entire Knowles-Carter family. Like most normal people she wishes to be best friends with Beyoncé one day. Hopefully sometime soon.
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(Image sourced from: www.iceposter.com)
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