#257 / 365 – ‘The Lion King’ 3D – 89 mins
Cinema Challenge #104 / 115
A young lion prince is born in Africa, thus making his uncle Scar the second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. The King is killed and Simba is led to believe by Scar that it was his fault, and so flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile he is persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own thus completing the “Circle of Life”.
Having only seen and loved this Disney classic for the first time on Day 222 of the challenge, so then imagine my delight along with millions of others as we got to say “Hakuna Matata” all over again when Disney announced The Lion King was getting a cinematic re-release.
Like then again today I was just totally blown away by the compelling story which is very reminiscent of Hamlet. The vocal talents of James Earl Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Matthew Broderick, Whoopi Goldberg are superb, but pick of the bunch as to be Jeremy Irons as Mustafa evil ambitious brother, Scar.
The Lion King gets everything perfectly right and it’s an adventure full of excitement with a nicely pitched sense of comedy along with an undercurrent of seriousness, and oh and there are those roaring songs “Circle of Life”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Hakuna Matata” by Elton John and Tim Rice to sing along too, well in my case attempt to sing.
Whilst the 3D genuinely does work and it does have a couple of stand-out moments, but in all honestly it didn’t need it as the magic is in the story, and this heartwarming classic will infinitely charm the hearts of the old and new generations for years to come.
#258 / 365 – ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (1948) – 93 mins
IMDb Challenge #151 / 250 – Ranked #88 – Lovefilm
Antonio Ricci has been unemployed for more than two years when he finally gets a job putting up posters. The one condition of employment is that he must have a bicycle – which he is more than happy to pawn the family linen for. After a single day of happy employment, tragedy strikes when the bike is stolen. He and his son set out to find the missing bike…
The performances are wonderful and utterly convincing from Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) and his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) as they search through the bustling impoverished streets of Rome in sheer desperation to save his job, against what appears to be all the odds.
In one scene society’s failure to realise how significant the bicycle is to the welfare of Antonio and his family is perfectly underlined when Antonio reports the crime to a policeman who just waves him away saying – it’s just a bike, don’t you think the police have more important things to be dealing with?
Bicycle Thieves revolves around a simple plot but it is one that superbly executed in what is a beautiful and moving exploration of the devastating effects of unemployment, poverty as on the dignity of ordinary people.