Friday, February 25, 2005


Like many of my favorite films, it's hard to pin down a single moment as brilliant, but this is me trying.

The Lion King

The Lion King is perhaps the greatest Disney film ever and a damn good candidate for best animated film of all time. The two most obvious candidates for best scene in the movie happen within seconds of each other, the stampede, and Mufasa's death, and maybe they should be counted as one and the same?

While the stampede is one of the best looking shots in any film, ever (It took three years just to complete it.), it's the death of the King that holds the most weight. Surely it's the most pivotol point in the film, but it's also one of the most brutal things ever filmed, in my eyes. Scar is without a doubt the most evil son of a bitch ever put to film, and nothing proves that more than his assasination of his brother, Mufasa (and, subsequently, the blaming of such on young Simba).

As Mufasa's body falls into the stampede, the look of shock on his face, the camera cuts to a grinning Scar, proud of what he has just done. Never, in any movie, has a villian had a more sadistic smile.

It marks the first time any Disney character had died on screen, which probably adds even more weight to my claim. Despite being a central plot point, upon seeing the movie the first time, it came out of nowhere. Surely evil did not just triumph over good? Not in a children's film? Certainly not a Disney one at that!

But, it did. Yes, it was for a brief period of time, but the bad guy won, and you truly believed it. It wasn't cliche, it wasn'tover the top, it was perfectly dissatisfying. It would turn your stomach. If nothing else it grabbed your attention for the rest of the movie. No matter what you had to see that this sadistic prick got his eventually. At least, you hoped he did. The film doesn't disappoint on that at the end either, but that's something for anpther time I suppose.

So, there you have it, a great scene from a great movie, one that should have been nominated for Best Picture, one that has proven to be a classic in every sense of the word, and while it doesn't begin or end at that scene, the death of Mufasa is one of the most moving, convincing, evil acts ever perpetrated on camera.

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