Talk about the Circle of Life. As I sat watching a “Seinfeld” rerun late last week, my attention waned as a commercial break hijacked the TV screen. After a few minutes, with my concentration — and thumbs — now firmly planted on the cell phone screen in my lap, I looked up, and was suddenly drenched.
I was swallowed up by a flood of memories from my early childhood.
When I shifted my focus back to the big screen, I saw the familiar Disney-drawn critters looking just as majestic as they did 17 years ago. In fact, with today’s 3-D technology, probably even more so.
Since its release in 1994, “The Lion King” has always been one of my favorite movies, and for a few of my finest post-toddler years, it dominated my simple life.
Besides naps, avoiding baths and terrorizing the other kids in play group, I was all about “The Lion King.” But I doubt I’m the only one here who was affected in such a manner.
I’d be willing to bet that just about everyone raised a stuffed animal high above their head while trying to sing the “Circle of Life” in an attempt to mimic the opening scene. And anyone who says they were never caught humming “Hakuna Matata” in school is a liar.
For me and the kids I grew up with, “The Lion King” defined a generation, and took over our imagination.
In our house, my brothers and I pretended to be the characters almost every day — I was always Mufasa for his stoic demeanor and stately appearance. I memorized the words to every song from the soundtrack, and the movie’s noteworthy quotes became the common vernacular.
Perhaps the profound impact “The Lion King” holds on me stems from the priceless memories that surrounded it.
I can clearly remember sitting in the theater chairs for the first time staring up at the giant glowing display in front of me. If there wasn’t already enough stimulation for this 30-some-odd-pound 3-year-old, my brothers and I were watching it at the Tower City Mall theater in Cleveland on vacation.
But what’s also in “The Lion King’s” favor is that it is an utterly kick-butt movie.
“The Lion King” is a great tale of redemption, which, all the while, integrates excellent story lines along the way. A love story, a comedy and an action thriller, “The Lion King” taught me more about life in two hours than any teacher has in 15-plus years of education.
To be blunt, no kid has had any kind of childhood until they’ve seen “The Lion King.”
I haven’t made it to the theater yet to see the film that once again took over the box office upon its release this weekend. However, I have to make a trip to re-kindle the 17-year-old memories in 3-D.
I think that’s something the 3-year-old, 30-some-odd-pound Joe would approve of.