In addition, the tale, about a lion cub who is deceived into thinking that he is the cause of his father's death and so forsakes his rightful place as king, is epic in nature, and the giant screen serves to only further the emotional wallop. After the movie's operatic wildebeest stampede, a scene of cinematic magnificence, the gorge lies empty, and the size of the picture is such that one painfully feels right there with Simba as he nuzzles the corpse of his father.
That said, when compared with "Treasure Planet," also in giant-screen theatres this season and filmed with the format in mind, "The Lion King" makes plain the evolution that animation has undergone over the past eight years. Although adjustments have reportedly been made, such as filling in facial features on background characters that previously were not needed, one can see more detail, or the lack thereof, right down to the sometimes jagged lines with which the characters are drawn. Also, the layers between the foreground action and background painting have become too obviously defined. While the large format augments its landscapes, sound and themes, it also augments details that weren't meant to be seen. Voiced by Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons and Nathan Lane. Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. Written by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton. Produced by Don Hahn. A Buena Vista release. Animated; large format. Rated G. Running time: 90 min