Friday, October 28, 2005

Mindhunters

Ah, it has been a very long while since I updated this thing, no? Well, here is the next instalment of my movie reviews. My first review since I last stopped shall be... Mindhunters.

Intro: Mindhunters is a thriller which keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Combine it with mystery, murder, suspense and action, you get one heck of a ride. Think "Final Destination", only without the 'supernatural' force there. Starring Kathryn Morris, Jonny Lee Miller, LL Cool J, with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater.

Summary: Seven FBI trainee profilers are on an isolated island in the middle of no-where. Here, in order to make profiler, they have to complete the challenge set by their eccentric trainer (Val Kilmer) by solving a 'murder' committed by a 'serial killer'. Of course, this is only training, and their 'serial killer' is not really there and the mangled corpse they find is only a dummy. But things soon become terrifyingly real when one of the agents is killed and the team soon realizes that they have a killer in their midst. The question is, who? Plus, the killer keeps leaving behind watches after each kill, telling the time he will take his next victim. With no escape from the island, the team must play the killer's twisted mindgame and solve the clues he leaves behind before they are all killed. And time is running out. "Iny, miny, mino, mo. Who's the next mother****er to go?"

Comment: I honestly have no idea why the local movie magazine criticized this movie so much. I read the review and decided to watch it anyway, just for Val Kilmer, and the gore. I was surprised! Though there isn't much gore at all, the movie is actually good! It keeps making you ask questions and each time you think you know who the killer is, something creeps up which totally makes you change your mind. Throughout the whole movie, there is suspense. You just don't know who'll be the next to go and how! You'll be guessing throughout and I'll bet your guesses will be wrong for the most part. An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller you sure have to watch! It is a combination of the freaky thrills of "Final Destination" and the clever mystery of the "Scream" trilogy.

Favorite character: Don't have one, but I'd say Jake Harris, because he's eccentric, his trainees think he's crazy and well, he's played by Val Kilmer! "Are you havin' fun yet?"

Personal Opinion: I love this show! Not one of my favourite movies, but one of my recommended ones to the light-hearted thrill lovers. In this kind of psychological thriller movies, what impresses me most is the mystery. The most intricate, the more impressed I am. So far, I like the mysteries in "Scream" and "Saw" best. "Mindhunter", though not a favourite, is clever enough. It's one heck of a thrill ride. C'mon, who's next?
My Rating: 3.5/5*

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Curse of the Ring

Intro: "Curse of the Ring" is also known as "Curse of the Nibelungs", a small Norse epic movie made for television. This Nordic legend inspired J. R. R. Tolkein to write his famous "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Summary: A young blacksmith, Eric (Benno Fürmann), is disturbed by an obscure past - he does not know that he is actually Siegfried, heir to the conquered kingdom of Xanten. He travels with his adoptive father to Burgundy, ruled by King Gunther, and there single-handedly slays the kingdom's bane - the dragon, Fafnir. For years, Fafnir kept a huge treasure in his cave - the treasure of the Nibelungs, a mystic race. Now, having been slain, Eric claims the treasure for himself. However, the treasure comes with a deadly curse which Eric stubbornly ignores, and for that, the curse endangers him and his love to the beautiful warrior queen, Brunhild (Kristanna Løken ).

Comment: A small and simply movie. I was left dumbfounded at the end, since I expected it to be longer. My reaction right when it ended was, "That's it?" I had expected it to be three hours long, but it ended at two. Still, I find that it really is quite a nice movie. Not the best I have seen but it definitely is not one of the worsts. In fact, it was really entertaining. I recommend this to all those period and epic lovers like me. Especially love the twisted love story in it. Pretty cool! I love the theme song. Sounds like something out of 'The Celtic Circle' type. Really, it's a pretty good show. Gotta catch it.

Favorite character: My favorite character is Brunhild, queen of Iceland. She is strong-hearted, fierce, proud, intimidating, beautiful and has got this 'no shit' kind of personality. Plus, she makes all men cower at her feet! I love seeing her in her armour with her swords and war paint on her forehead. In fact, the main reason I watched the movie was to see Kristanna Løken appear as this warrior queen. She is awesome!

Personel Opinion: Seriously, I wish it had gone on longer. Still, it turned out quite well. One thing that kind of bugged me though, was the design of Fafnir. He's a fire-breathing dragon, for goodness sake, not a giant comodo dragon. I don't think they even gave him wings! He looked more like an iguana-godzilla or, the best resemblence, a comodo. You know, with those short, stumpy legs. Oh yea, Siegfried bathed in Fafnir's blood which made his skin invulnerable to harm except for a spot on his back which he failed to wash. Kindda reminds you of Achilles and that furshluginner heel of his, eh? Yea, he was a loser (personel opinion!). Well, all in all, it was a good show.
My Rating: 3.5/5*

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cursed

Intro: Today, Calista and I went to Tampinese Mall with the intention to catch "Amityville Horror", but since it was no longer showing, she talked me into seeing "Cursed". At first I was reluctant, but I am pretty glad I went in. After all, it is by Wes Craven, the director of the awesome "Sream" trilogy! "Cursed" is just so thrilling, and just so Wes Craven.

Summary: Driving home, brother and elder sister, Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) and Ellie (Christina Ricci) meet with an accident and are bitten by a huge animal which the police pass of as a bear or mountain lion. Ellie does not seem to pay much mind to what animal is was, but Jimmy goes on to investigate and comes to a possibility of a werewolf, which he soon discovers to be true. Now no matter how Ellie will not believe his claim, she begins to experience new things, such as an extremely good sense of hearing and a particularly good sense of smell for blood. Jimmy, the nerdy loser of high school also experiences things like animal-like agility, a sudden rush of confidence and great strength. They begin to show signs of the creatures they will change into if they do not break the curse, the only way being to kill the werewolf which gave them the curse.

Comment: Storyline is simple, as you can see. At first glance, it may look kind of like the dumb old traditional werewolf story - man gets bitten, goes to seek a cure. Well, the movie it just about as such, but what of the content? The movie takes you on a wild thrill ride, distinctively Wes Craven style. I saw a lot of "Scream" tricks in the movie, such as the killer (supposedly dead) coming back for one last scare, or from silence to a sudden burst of music or sound. It was very difficult for me to not cover my ears. Although the ending is rather... uh... hmm... you know, the werewolf death where the cheezy finale 'Praise the Lord' type music playing. But overall it was really quite good. Maybe you'll not find it nice the second time you watch it, as you already know what's around the corner and who's the mysterious werewolf etc, but if it is your first time, you'd love it.

Favorite Character: Hmm... I would have to pick Jimmy. He's adorable, always gets pushed around by the big boys and called names like homosexual. That is, until he beats three of them at wrestling using his new wolf-like powers. And check him out playing Spiderman! Way cool. He is the small, meek kind of guy who finds it difficult standing up for himself. Also he is hilarious, like when he wakes up one morning naked in the bushes with his old neighbour staring at him while watering his plants, and he even gets pummeled by a girl. Funny guy, and look forward to his 'new relationship' with his number 1 bully, Bo. You'll see what I mean... :D

Personel Opinion: Although I really liked the movie and recommend it to those who are looking to catch a light-hearted yet shocking thriller, I really do not like the design of the werewolf. It doesn't really look like a wolf, more like a wombat/koala or a killer teddy bear with sharp beaver teeth. They might have taken some details (especially facial details) from the Lycans in "Underworld". The werewolves in "Van Helsing" are much nicer. Personally, though, I liked it!
My Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Interview with the Vampire

Intro: I was in the mood for vampires and so I rented "Interview With the Vampire", which I heard it to be a very good movie and hailed one of the best vampire movies. Also, there are good stars like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas! I love vampires, and I would have never imagined Brad Pitt as a vampire!
This movie is based on a novel from the vampire series written by Anne Rice. It is more or less a vampire’s biography.

Summary: Daniel Malloy is a journalist, a collector of stories of people’s lives by interviewing them. In one interview, he discovers that his interviewee is a vampire with indeed a story to tell. This vampire, Louis (Brad Pitt), tells his story starting at the point he becomes a vampire, 200 years ago.
The young Louis has lost his wife and child and sees no reason to live on. However, he is lured by lonely vampire longing for a companion - the evil, dashing, charismatic vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise) - who bites him and turns him into a vampire. Now Louis has to learn to survive this way and accept unalterable the truth of vampire life: to survive, he must kill. Though Lestat teaches him the way of the vampire, how to move and how to hunt, Louis refuses to take a human life and constantly feeds off the blood of animals and the blood of those whom Lestat kills. At first, Lestat tolerates this, but soon he loses patience. Louis decides to leave his side, but the clever fiend turns an orphan girl, Claudia (Kristen Dunst), into a vampire to make him stay. The three becomes a sort of family and travel together, seeking for more of their kind. Dark events occur as Lestat’s intolerance grows for both Louis’ and Claudia’ habits – one refuses to kill while the other over-kills. Hatred grows within the vampires; they are no more one happy family…
Louis continues his haunting story – his meeting with other vampires, his acts of vengeance – telling it to the eager journalist. His story is truly one not to forget.

Comment: I really, really liked it a lot. A great film, truly lives up to the rumor of it being one of the greatest vampire movies out there. Simply makes me long to be a vampire, lol! No, despite my wishing, Louis advices strongly against it. Well, watch and you’ll get what I mean. Antonio Banderas looks creepy in this movie, I mean dead creepy. Brad Pitt looks alright, he always does. They both give a very fine performance, really very well done! Brad Pitt was indeed impressive, but I was most impressed by Tom Cruise. You know, every character of Lestat in Hollywood should be played by Cruise! Stuart Townsend did make a good Lestat in "Queen of the Damned", but I really find that Cruise gives the character the X-factor.
Story-wise, it is very fresh and just juicy. I have never seen anything like it. An experienced, lonely vampire finding – or making – a companion and then teaches this newborn vampire the ways of survival. They express in the movie the cunning, the passion and the fury of vampires. Brad Pitt’s character, Louis, is the vampire with the most emotion, his struggling battle between his damned, immortal side and his mortal emotions. If you are someone who loves vampires, you will be very, very impressed by this movie and I strongly recommend it.

Favorite Character: Definitely Lestat. Clever, street-smart, practical, cunning, dashing, charismatic and with a strong sense of humor, Cruise’s Lestat differs from the other Lestats that have appeared on screen in that he is much fresher and more light hearted instead of the usual going about using his good looks to seduce young women then drink their blood. I mean, I honestly love this Lestat! Although evil and cold blooded, he’s a good teacher (in an evil way) and a fun companion.
Tom Cruise looks so dashing with blonde hair. Well, he looks strange at first, but then I got used to his new look, and now I find him so ‘princey’! He certainly looks sexy in that 1700s suit. And those fangs, wow!
What I love most about Lestat is his great sense of humor and his charisma. Here are some quotes from him during one of his humorous moments:

(Louis, in his depression, has set his rich house on fire and is lying helplessly on the floor as the house burns around him. Lestat bursts in through the window.)
Lestat: Perfect! Just perfect! Just burn the place! Burn everything we own! Have us sleeping in the field like cattle!
Louis: You thought you could have it all...
Lestat: Oh, shut up, Louis! Mon Dieu (My God)! Come here.
(Louis has passed out. Lestat picks him up and pulls him out of the burning house.)
(After the burning. Louis comes around.)

Louis: Where are we?
Lestat: Where do you think, my idiot friend? We're in a nice, filthy cemetery. Does this make you happy? Is this fitting, proper enough?

(Seeing Louis finally taking his first bite, Lestat rejoices and picks up a corpse and dances around with it.)
Lestat: Aha! There's still life in the old lady yet!

(Walking through the streets of a young America.)
Lestat: Lord, what I wouldn't give for a drop of good old-fashioned Creole blood.
Louis: Yankees are not to your taste?
Lestat: Their democratic flavor doesn't suit my palate, Louis.

(Daniel plays the tape which has recorded Louis’ story.)
Lestat: Oh Louis, Louis. Still whining Louis.
(Lestat ejects the tape and turns to Daniel.)
Lestat: Have you heard enough? I've had to listen to *that* for centuries!

Also, Lestat’s favorite quote seems to be "I'm going to give you the choice I never had." and you might grin when you see when he uses that phrase. A ferocious killer yet a fun character, Cruise’s Lestat is truly is unlike any other vampire you would ever come across.

Personal Opinion: Although a good movie, a very good movie, it started going kind of down-hill when Lestat left the picture. It wasn’t a wreck though, just wasn’t as interesting as when Lestat was around, coz after him there was no one who delivered any funny dialog or had the same charisma as he did. But to me, this movie has one of the best endings. It left me grinning broadly.
My Rating: 4/5*

Racing Stripes

Intro: Racing Stripes is a very entertaining movie. Complete with a fun storyline, cheesy inspirational music and dialog, meaningful moral, cute talking animals, truly a movie for the whole family!

Summary: The movie is about a zebra who, when young, is accidentally left behind and found by a farmer – who was actually a great race-horse trainer until his wife died and he lost his will to train – who takes him home to his farm and allows his daughter to keep him. (You can only guess what name she gave him.) On the farm, Stripes (Frankie Muniz) meets the barnyard animals – a cranky Shetland Pony named Tucker (Dustin Hoffman), a wise old goat named Franny (Whoopi Goldberg), a simple-minded rooster named Reggie, and the deranged newcomer gangster-pelican named Goose who’s really a chicken who ducks. Well, Stripes grows up believing he’s a race-horse. He dreams to run on the track and take on the track’s famous champion’s cocky son, Sir Trenton’s Pride. With the help of his barnyard friends, the jumper filly, Sandy (Mandy Moore), his personal coach, Tucker and the farmer’s daughter, Channing, not to mention helping the broken farmer himself return to training horses and train Stripes, this spunky zebra sets his sights on the finish line to beat Pride and show the other race-horses once and for all. But the ruthless Sir Trenton won’t be taking that chance of letting his son be beaten by a zebra. After all, he was a champion, just like his father, and his father, and his father, for a hundred years since the founding of the track.

Comment: A fun movie to watch, keeps you entertained. Well, in my opinion, they put a little too much human emotions into the animals (like the horses’ private Blue Moon Races, and how the heck can a filly and a zebra hook up?), but still, it is fun to see the animals do what they do. The dialog will itch out from you a giggle or two. And the animals are very well trained, sometimes their movements actually go along with the dialog! I think Dustin Hoffman was perfect for Tucker. I love Tucker, he is so small and cute, I want him! The one I really love the most, though, has to be Sir Trenton.

Favorite character: Although Fred Dalton Thompson did put up a good performance as the fierce, jet black 1500 pound champion stallion, it is the horse which really gave the character THE factor. Beautiful, big, strong, majestic, the stallion used to play Sir Trenton is truly an absolutely amazing animal. See how he whinnies furiously and rears up in rage, the whipping of his ebon tail and the trashing of his hooves, the flaring of his nostrils and the glare of his eyes. When he gallops, just listen to the mighty beating of his hooves, you may even feel his hot breath at the back of your neck. Absolutely gorgeous! When this ruthless monster rears his handsome head, you’d better run for cover, coz he’s the boss of his very own gang of fearsome stallions, each one of them professional racers, bred to compete. If I were to ever get a horse, a horse like Sir Trenton would be my choice! You know, apart from Tornado (The Mask of Zorro), Sir Trenton is the most gorgeous black stallion I have ever seen on screen.

*Spoiler* Personal Opinion: Like every family movie, the star of the show always wins, thus Stripes does beat Sir Trenton’s Pride in the end and comes out first. Well, it is after all a movie, but had it been real life, a young zebra like that would never have beaten a whole track of pro race-horses. Beating one of two might be possibly, but not all! Especially not a stallion who’s been trained to hard and is descended from a long line of champions while this zebra is son of circus performers descended from a line of wild zebras in the plains of Africa, and all he has for training is a cleared dirt track through a corn field and a make-shift gate.
Okay, sure, he’s also got the greatest race-horse trainer in Kentucky and a Shetland Pony who’s trained his own share of host of champions, including Sir Trenton himself! But put Stripes beside even Sandy the filly whose affections he wins, even she stands taller than he does! And his jockey is a 16-year-old girl. In addition, he got pummeled by Sir Trenton and his entire gang only the night before the race. No way he would have recovered and run in such a short period of time.
Also, in my view, although some of the other horses cheated in the race, Stripes himself kind of cheated too, in a way. Those horses, well, Ruffshodd, to be precise, pushed him towards the rail. And Sir Trenton’s Pride’s jockey whipped out at him. (Pride didn’t do anything, though. He’s a meanie, but a fair-player.) Anyway, I say Stripes cheated too because he had off-track help. He had Goose in the air looking out for him, he had the two flies deliver messages from the air to Tucker, who then got them to pass advice, directions and instructions to Stripes to help him win the race. Also, those flies bit Ruffshodd on the buttocks, making the stallion rear painfully and throw his jockey off, thus getting disqualified – one competition for Stripes out of the way.
So although Stripes’ heart, will, training and perseverance did help him win the race, the win wasn’t totally 100% honest. The other horses never had any advice from anyone off the track, they had to think for themselves and follow their jockeys. Honestly, I do wish that Pride had won the race. He deserved it, seeing the training he put in and that mean lady (president of that track) made the trainers push him twice as hard and double his training. Also seeing how hard and tough Sir Trenton was on him and Pride’s defeat meant a hundred-year line of champions broken by a zebra. A real disgrace to Pride, I can’t see why he took it so lightly and even became nice to Stripes. Sure, he’s not a sore loser, that’s good, but I think he should have felt some anger and shame. After all, his father’s been drumming into his head since he was a colt that he has to win the championship. But that’s my view.
My Rating: 3/5*

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Finding Neverland (Miramax)

Once again, I am so glad to have listened to my father and watched this movie instead of going out. I do not recommend this movie to literal people, like my friend Jamie, as it takes imagination and 'looking beyond what is there' to get this film. It is a drama, a film genre which I like least apart from Sci-fi. But there is something 'special' about it. I cannot explain, but I would certainly love to watch this drama again... and again.

The film tells the story of of how J.M. Barrie (Sir James Matthew Barrie) came up with the famous children's classic "Peter Pan". Here is the story:

James' (Johnny Depp) last play was a disaster, but he is intent on writing a new and much better play. One day, while taking a stroll in the park with his Saint Bernard, Porthos, he meets the Llewelyn Davies family - four young fatherless boys, Michael, George, Jack and Peter, and their beautiful mother, Sylvia (Kate Winslet), recently widowed. In them, he finds the inspiration for his next play. He befriends the boys by playing along in their pretend-games and teaching them how to let their imagination wander. Against the wills of Sylvia's mother, Mrs. Emma du Maurier (Julie Christie), and his own wife's, he comes to the Davies' house everyday to play with the boys in their backyard, imagining they are pirates on board a ship in stormy weather, or in a town in dark Africa with cowboys and Indians. He turns sticks into swords, dogs into bears, kites into fairies. But soon the whole town is talking about him and the Davies family, which causes some rough waters in his marriage. "They say you spend more time at Mrs. Davies' than you do with your wife."
However, he continues his daily visits, gaining more inspiration every moment he spends with them. Slowly, he begins to write his play about his experience with this family, entitled "Peter Pan", after one of the boys. But as the days go by, Sylvia seems to grow weaker. She refuses to talk to anyone about it and claims it to be a mere chest cold and will not go to the hospital as the doctor ordered. *Warning: Spoiler* On the opening night of James' play, she collapses and only Peter turns up for the play. It is a huge success. James and Peter rush back and they surprise the weak Sylvia by bringing the play to her own home - the actors, the musicians, the props (only the play is performed on a smaller scale, of course). And in this way, James takes her to the place she has always wanted see. "That... is Neverland." Sadly, she passes on, leaving behind her four boys and her will, in which she states that they be in the care of their grandmother, and James. And thus, he takes on the role of the father they lost and teaches them still to believe... *End of spoiler*
"You can visit Neverland any time you like."
"How?"
"By believing, Peter. Just believe."

A wonderful story. Johnny Depp puts up an absolutely remarkable performance, throwing in a thick English accent. And I say that he looks best in this movie, simply gorgeous! And Kate Winslet, the most beautiful actress on my list (second comes Angelina Jolie followed by Kate Beckinsale). She is just wonderful in her role and I do love the producers for casting her beside Johnny Depp. They make such a pair on screen! But I am slightly disappointed about the story though.
I was looking forward to a bit of a love story emerging between James and Sylvia, mainly because I wanted to see how Depp and Winslet would do it. Oh, but drat! Although there is a love which emerges, it isn't really 'concentrated on'. Like, the only words from Sylvia which I am sure expresses her feelings for James are: "You've come to mean so much to us all that now, it doesn't matter if it's true. And even if it isn't true, even if that can never be... I need to go on pretending... until the end... with you.” That's as close as "I love you" the movie ever got. And in James' part, he said to Emma, "I love your daughter very much..." And that was after Sylvia had gone! What's the point of the love story if one of the lovers (if you could even call them that) is not around? There's no kiss, no hug, no intimate or close to intimate scenes between them! The only hand-holding I saw between them was when she was resting in bed after her first collapse. Oh well, at least it was better than no love story. At first, after watching 'TITANIC', I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was perfect with Kate Winslet, that they were the ultimate screen couple. But now I see that Johnny Depp is a better choice. They should seriously act in a romance movie one day.
Although 'Finding Neverland' only won the Oscar for 'Best Score', I say it sure beats 'The Aviator' which snatched away so many more Oscars from better movies like 'The Phantom of the Opera' and 'TROY'.
My Rating: 4/5*

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Lion King II (Disney)

Ah! The sequel to the Disney hit, "The Lion King", completed 4 years after the first. Here, the circle of life continues.

Simba (Matthew Broderick) and Nala have a daughter, Kiara, who runs off into the Outlands (the dry and hard kingdom where Scar's pride has been exiled to). There she meets and befriends Kovu, another mischievous young cub. But he is the son of Zira, leader of the Outsiders and mate of Scar (though Kovu is not Scar's son), and chosen one to walk in Scar's paw prints to become King. The arrival of both Simba and Zira tears their new-found friendship apart as the parents take their foals away. But Zira comes up with a plan. She raises Kovu and trains him to become the ultimate key to Simba's undoing - use his friendship with Kiara to get to Simba. Kovu grows up with this blackness in his soul, led to believe that Simba did them wrong for the death of Scar.
After the first step of the plan succeeds, Simba reluctantly takes Kovu into the pride - a debt to be repaid as Kovu had saved Kiara's life. But needless to say, Kovu and Kiara fall in love and he experiences things which he had never felt before while in the 'care' of the Outsiders. Finally, Kovu decides that he does not want to be part of the plot any longer. However, after Simba is ambushed and merely escapes, he blames Kovu and passes him to exile. But Kiara slips away to reunite with her loved one. While they are gone, the Outsiders, led by Zira, cross into the Pridelands and they meet the Pridelanders, led by Simba, in a war for the kingdom. But Kiara and Kovu come in time to stop this war and unite the two prides as one, and help Simba see that Kovu is one of them after all.

Hmm... well, this movie is obviously not as good as the first. Then again, Disney's sequels are rarely (or never) are. But I would classify this as one of the best sequels yet. Have you seen sequels like "Hunchback of Notre Dame 2" or "Mulan 2"? If you haven't, don't. They are terrible and simply off-topic. They ruin the beauty of their well-done originals. But then again, "The Lion King" is an original story by Disney, thus I think they have the right to make a sequel however they think fit. And it turned out to be really not bad at all. Not as good as the first, but truly quite good.
As usual, the songs are absolutely wonderful! Hans Zimmer, I love you! He composed the opening song 'He Lives In You'. But my favorite song in the whole movie is 'One Of Us', when all the gathered animals sing about Kovu's exile.
Most of the original voice actors have returned, but sadly, Rowan Atkinson did not do the voice for Zazu. But no matter, this sequel is good. Perhaps try and catch "The Lion King 3"! Laugh out loud hilarious, though does somewhat disgrace and destroy the majesty of the original.
My rating: 3.5/5*

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Lion King (Disney)

The (in my opinion) only original story by Disney which made its way to becoming one of Disney's bigger successes. But it does not only appeal to the kids, but it wonders teenagers and adults just as much. In case you have not watched it, this is the story:

The setting is the vast plains of wild Africa. Here, the mighty lion king, Mufasa (James Earl-Jones), rules the Pridelands - his kingdom or "everything the light touches". He lives with his pride and his queen, Sarabi, in a great and majestic rock called Pride Rock. He has a new son, Simba, who will be the future king. This is much to his evil brother, Scar's (Jeremy Irons), disdain, as he wants to be king. He consorts with the hyenas, old enemies of the lions, to set up a plot to make himself king. The plan works perfectly and Scar succeeds in the murder of Mufasa. He manages to make young Simba believe that it was he who caused his father's death, and tells him to "run away and never return". Scar orders three hyenas to kill him, but Simba escapes, and the hyenas never spoke of their failure to remove this cub to anyone. Thus, Scar's cruel reign over the Pridelands begins.
On his own, Simba meets an unlikely pair - Timon and Pumbaa - a meerkat and a warthog. Living with them, Simba picks up their 'Hakuna Matata' way of life, taking one day at a time without a care in the world. And with them, he grows up into a fine adult lion (Matthew Broderick). On one occasion, Pumbaa falls prey to a hungry lioness and Simba comes to his rescue, only to discover that this lioness is his cub-hood best friend, Nala. They fall in love, much to Timon and Pumbaa's dismay. But soon they seperate after a small argument - Simba secretly still holds himself responsible for Mufasa's death and does not wish to return, while Nala insists that he does. But after the vision of Mufasa's spirit, telling Simba to "remember who you are", Simba returns to reclaim his rightful place as King. Nala, Timon and Pumbaa even catch up.
After returning, Simba finally realizes that Mufasa's death is not his fault and that Scar is the true murderer. With the help of his friends and pride, Simba defeats Scar and his army of hyenas, finally reclaiming his father's kingdom and rises as the new and rightful king, making it official with a majestic stand at the top of Pride Rock and realeasing two powerful roars.
The movie ends with Rafiki, the good mandrill-shaman, raising up Simba's new cub for the kingdom to see. And thus, a new generation begins...

An astounding movie, I never knew Disney was capable of making such an original story. They make wonderful and unrivalled adaptations, but this movie is a great original tale. Well, the affairs in this movie are all human-type, kings and murder and rivalry etc. But, well, no one would be very interested in seeing humans engaged in these affairs in some medieval castle in England or Scotland or something. So they made these characters animals, and what animal better to play a mighty king than a lion?
I find some parts a little bit hurried though. Like, in the case of the reunion of Simba and Nala, first they are talking joyfully and friendly, next they are walking off into the sunset and the love song plays, then they are in love, 2 minutes later they are at each other's throats. But it is not something to really notice, Disney planned the story out very well.
Also stars Rowan Atkinson, Jim Cummings and Whoopi Goldberg.

The music is wonderful! But, it is no surprise, it being composed by Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Prince of Egypt) and all. And one of the most loved songs comes from this movie: 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight', more famously performed by Sir Elton John, music also by him. 5 memorable songs have been composed for this movie, and one new one for the extended version.
The animation and the backgrounds of wild Africa are simply breathtaking. And I simply love the way they design and animate the animals! I love how the lions are done, Mufasa especially. Now that is one handsome beast, seriously. I find that he somewhat outshines Simba, who is very well done by the way. They gave him an absolutely lovely mane!
In the special edition, although the extension is really not as good as in "Beauty and the Beast", it is acceptable and fits in rather well with the movie (though it is not very significant). If you love animation, you cannot miss this!
My rating: 4/5*