hey Brian? I agree:
Most people, when talking about the emotional impact of The Lion King, talk about the death of Mufasa, or the ensuing expulsion of Simba, or one of those other plot elements that’s overtly emotionally charged. Now, I don’t know if I’m just a freak, or if these other people are just redirecting their visceral reactions into other parts of the movie; but the scene that choked me up – and continues to do so to this day, even during something as far removed from the movie experience as typing this paragraph describing it – was where the zebras splash through the river, followed by the elephants with their tusks covered with birds, striding along with the beat of the music (“And the sun rolling high, through the sapphire sky,” etc). Somehow all the visuals and music just suddenly come together at that moment and create some kind of implosion in my brain, where suddenly the mystery that the whole sequence has been alluding to becomes revealed, and you find yourself looking at a natural world all brought together by a single event, and treating it with the triumphant pomp even human ceremonies can’t muster, only in a purer, wilder way, with exuberant music crashing over the scene and the camera flying over the gathered crowd in a bird’s-eye view designed to give the audience a sort of virtual-reality experience of the joy of flying, in much the same way as had been done a few years before in The Rescuers Down Under (which I hadn’t yet seen at the time). The song quiets down at that point, after the first chorus; but then there’s the anointing scene followed by a new buildup to a second chorus as Simba is presented and the beams of light shine down through the clouds…
I am even prepared to say that the Lion King is the greatest animated movie ever made.
I had the title song as my alarm clock every day for a long time, in fact.