Film Analysis ‘Lion King’

The chosen film refers to a narration that is portrayed in a sequence of events that have a beginning, middle and end. It comprises of both semantic and syntactic elements that bring out the intended themes as well as communicating of the intended meaning of the work. The semantic aspects include the settings, costumes, and characters, whereas, the syntactic traits entails a conflict between the characters and the plot. The intention of this essay is to discuss the film titled The Lion King using a genre theory. This work will include a summary of the movie elements such as genre, story, and plot, besides aesthetic choices. The social as well as personal image the film would have on the audience will be analyzed. Moreover, the paper will encompass the difference between the film’s story and plot.

The Lion King is a movie that was released on June 16, 1994 and lasts for approximated 87 minutes. It is directed by Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers while the script is written by Jonathan Roberts and Irene Mecchi. The producer of The Lion King is Don Hahn. Various actors have participated in it including Jonathan Taylor-Thomas, who casts the voice of young Simba. Mathew Broderick plays the voice of adult Simba, and James Earl Jones features the voice of Mufasa. Other actors like Moira Kelly and Jeremy Irons play the voice of adult Nala and Scar respectively.


The genre theory gives a structure that makes it easy for the audience to interpret and engage in specific communicative occurrences. Also, this theory brings together different techniques of the organization to recognize the film categories that are grounded on the shared principles and musicals. From this angle, The Lion King is a musical fantasy genre that recounts an epic heroic tale of young lion known as Simba. The film, however, comprises various wildlife animals playing the key role of the characters. Besides, the use of animal characters makes the film suitable for young audience. Admittedly, it is important to watch this film for both young and aged people because of its moral teachings. First of all, this movie teaches about leadership and the challenges that a leader encounters. Secondly, it shows that evil will never overcome the good and also indicates that opposition comes from the people who are close to someone. Here is the storyline of the film; the movie is about ‘Simba’ who is destined to become the ruler of the jungle. His father is a king of Pride Rock and the area surrounding it, takes it upon himself to train his son about the ‘Circle of Life’. The circle of life entails the teachings about the sensitive ways in which the nature balances and its importance in bringing together all the animals in the kingdom. King Mufasa, Simba’s father, requests him to take heed and prepare for the coming day when he will become a leader of the pride. On the other hand, an evil plan is devised by the King’s brother ‘Scar’ who wishes that Simba will never be the king. Scar comes up with a scheme to get rid of the king and his son so that he could take over the throne for his selfish personal gain. He collaborated with the hyena henchmen and enticed Simba to walk down the path of wildebeest stampede where Mufasa ‘the King’ meets his death trying to save him. Scar takes an advantage of this situation and puts the blame on young Simba for the King’s death. Consequently, he convinces Simba to flee into exile and never come back to Pride Lands. While in exile, Simba becomes friends with Timon, Pumbaa, and Wacky. A young lion forgets about his past but meets an old friend ‘Nala’ who makes him aware of the hardships that the citizens of Pride Lands under the leadership of Scar. The story awakens the burden of responsibility in Simba as he recalls his father’s instructions. Rafiki helps Simba to get back his rightful birthright.

However, there is a difference between the film’s story and the plot of this movie. The story is a narrative while the plot is an arrangement of events that are arranged to make the story. In this case, the plot of The Lion the King shows the Pride Lands of Africa, Queen ‘Sarabi’ and King ‘Mufasa’ who present an infant ‘Simba’ the heir to the throne. Also, there is the king’s brother Scar who envies the throne and kills the king to assume the power over the pride of lions. Simba goes to exile and returns to the Pride Lands after learning about the suffering subjected to the animals by Scar from Nina. Simba through the help of Rafiki wages a war against his uncle and succeeds to regain his rights as a king.

Different aesthetic choices have been employed to bring out various themes in the film. For instance, the film comprises of music that is incorporated in the scenes at the beginning of the movie. At first, music consists of African beats, which makes the audience know the setting, which is Africa land. Further it continues throughout the movie until Simba is presented to the animals in the kingdom, which creates a sensation of calmness that ends in a joyous occasion. The cinematography is implemented through lighting and camera angles. Low key lighting is employed as the movie begins. This type of lighting works well to represent a theme of a new dawn, a new beginning and hope for Pride Lands. Meanwhile, close-up shots are used to give an importance to Simba as he goes through the ritual before he is presented to the public. Also, this technique is used in the scene where Scar is featured for the first time to reveal the physical differences between him and Mufasa. Namely, Scar has black hair, which denotes his evil intentions while his brother has brown hair. The element of dialogue is used in the same scene to make the viewer aware of the hatred and contempt that Scar has towards his brother as well as his displeasure because of the birth of Simba. Moreover, high angle shots are used to display the Pride Lands kingdom that is full of different types of animals. Shot transitions have been used throughout the film in a way that they coincide with other sound and visual elements. The alignment of these shot changes with these aspects triggers an intellectual and emotional content of the scenes presented in the film. Thus, the use of technology is visible from the impeccable work of character animation. The character mouth matches with the sound in a way that it seems like it is the actual character speaking rather than an additional sound. Eventually, the animation has succeeded to symbolize human beings and nations.

The Lion King has a positive social impact in the political domain. It shows that people aspiring to be government leaders should not use dubious ways to get ascend to power because, in the end, it brings about bloodshed. The society as a whole inspired the production of this film in the sense that it is a reflection of political differences between the politicians. It displays the fight for the power between the brothers, which is similar to what happens inside the nations between the ruling party and the opposition. In actual sense, all the politicians are brothers, but they are divided by greed for power.

In conclusion, the use of genre theory classifies this film under musical fantasy because of the use of animals taking the role of human beings alongside the music. Additionally, various aesthetic elements have been employed in the movie, which includes camera shots, lighting, use of dialogue and setting to make the film appealing. All these elements give the film an African identity from the beginning to the end. Moreover, the difference between the movie story and plot is seen in the arrangement of events. Hence, the story is made up of scenes following each other while the plot highlights the major events and characters.


On reflection, the analysis of The Lion King has enabled me to appreciate different film conventions and elements that are used to communicate a theme. To begin with, I have experienced that the use of genre theory makes an audience understand the intention of a movie on the basis of the class. Having classified this film as a musical fantasy animation, it was expected that music would be incorporated in the work. Also, it was anticipated that the film would present the world that could never be. For instance, there is no hope that animals at any given time will begin to talk like human beings. On the other hand, the aspect of animation gives the movie a symbolic meaning. The animals signify the people from different backgrounds such as social class, race, and ethnicity. The whole experience has transformed the way I see the movies. Overall, I can identify different genres and elements that are employed by the producer to make the work successful. Such features include the shots, transitions, use of sound and Mise en scene. Furthermore, the analyses of this film have made me realize that in most cases the society affects the development of stories that are featured in movies. Thinking about the movies critically, it is clear that they are a reflection of people and most of them act as a mirror where the audience sees their world through the lens of the work.

All in all, I have gained good critical analysis skills that I would apply in my life. In the real world, it is necessary to evaluate the things from a closer view to recognize various factors that contribute to the development of a circumstance, especially in the film industry. Also, these skills will enhance my evaluation abilities that will enable me to explore different forms of art.

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