“The Lion King” takes Syracuse on stage and screen
September 29, 2011
Filed under Arts & Leisure
By Nicole Panebianco
With “The Lion King” national touring company performing at the Syracuse Civic Center and the movie being re-released in 3-D this month, one could say it is “Lion King” month.
The musical performance is really an amazing spectacle to behold, following the plot of the movie almost to a tee. The Civic Center has removed seats for a makeshift aisle that leads to the stage allowing the performers to run, walk and dance by in closer proximity. In this way, you can see the performers even closer and get a better look at their very elaborate costumes (based on traditional African garb).
For the most part, the songs are the same old classics featured in the movie (“Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” for example). But there are also a few new musical numbers that were reworked and given lyrics from what was originally background music in the movie (e.g., “Shadowland”).
The performers, both main and background, are spectacular; their voices as well as their dancing are executed beautifully. In particular, the woman who portrays Rafiki stands out because of all the traditional Swahili and Zulu she has to sing. My only small annoyance with the musical is the removal of the majority of the song “The Madness of King Scar.” However, it does not play a pivotal role in the plot so it is a small complaint to the whole that, overall, is expertly done.
“The Lion King” 3-D movie experience is another entity entirely. For anybody who saw this when it was first in theaters or just grew up watching it, you will be pleased to know that it does not disappoint. The 3-D (put together by animators reworking the original animation cels) adds a whole new depth and perception to an already classic animated film without being overly obtrusive. It is a welcome addition to the film.
For anybody who is interested in a future in animation, the format gives a new look to the characters, almost like that of a 3-D model. The scenery comes alive, and from beginning to end, you feel as if you are in Africa and immersed right into the action.
For those people who, despite all of these facts, still do not want to see the film in 3-D because of a lack of funds or a general dislike for the recent 3-D pandemic, do not fret. The Regal Cinemas in Shoppingtown also offers showtimes of the film in 2-D so you can view it in its most basic and purest format.
For the hardcore fans of “The Lion King,” I would recommend seeing both versions while they are still in theaters. The 2-D version will allow you to feel like you are going back in time to watch the movie when it was first released in 1994, and seeing it in its new 3D form will give you an even deeper look into the film. Both versions are also restored and remastered, which means the film is nearly perfect in all of its coloration, shading and animation in general.
Be sure to try and catch both the musical and the movie in theaters before they are gone.