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Simba as a Symbol of Courage

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The Lion King is an animated musical film which was produced in 1994. For this film to be specifically for a younger audience, the themes of the film are pretty mature. We see the battle of good versus evil. Although the themes are mature, they are delivered in a simple way that a child would understand. In this film we witness how one finds themselves, corruption in a community, conflict between family, and what makes a society successful despite the coexistence of unique species – the circle of life. To watch a young lion, mourn the death of his father, while also feeling guilty is very painful. Witnessing a lion become friends and fit in with a meerkat and warthog was soothing yet silly. There are scenes that leave the audience anticipating extreme threat, and there are scenes that depict love in its truest form, which is a love between a child and parent. The film is influenced by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, they are both filled with complex ideas. The Circle of Life is such a major symbolical deal that it is essentially the theme song. It is a symbolic term sequence of events that happen on earth, brining us form infancy to adulthood, through tears and laughter, ups and downs, and so on. Basically, it refers to how circumstances tend to repeat themselves. Mufasa was king training his son, who would one day become king, and when Simba has a son, he too will train him to become king. We are all connected to the circle of life, yet it is bigger than all of us. In the beginning of the film, Mufasa’s opening lecture ties in to the power of the circle of life, he says “When we die, our bodies become the grass. And the antelopes eat the grass. And so, we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.”

When I first watched The Lion King as a child, the film was very life changing to say the least. This film focuses on friendship, love, and loyalty and depicts these values in a way a child would understand. The essential theme of the film is the story of a lion cub’s journey to adulthood and the hardships of accepting his royal destiny. Life is not easy, but Simba overcame all obstacles. He begins life as an honored prince. The film employs the affiliation of formal technique and thematic content in order to create a live and complex experience for the audience. While watching this film, the viewer gets to see a variety of leadership styles that are portrayed through cast of characters, for example true leaders and positional leaders. Mufasa reveals a transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders. He taught Simba hoe to be a leader. His teaching style did not use force or manipulation, but instead he offers unconditional love while still providing discipline. Simba was still young and making mistakes, which cause Mufasa to be patient and understanding with him. Mufasa put in the effort and time that was necessary to make Simba a great king, just as he was. It is clear that Simba was motivated by his father’s presence, although he messed up sometimes ultimately, he wanted to make his father proud. Mufasa encouraged Simba to be strong and fearless. Scar on the other hand, reveals a transactional leadership style. Transactional leadership, also known as managerial leadership, focuses on the role of supervision, organization, and group performance. Leaders who implement this style focus on specific tasks and use rewards and punishments to motivate followers. This was the complete opposite of Mufasa’s leadership style. He set up an exchange process with the hyenas, he wanted power and they needed food. He maintained control by resisting change, once he was in power. The hyenas provide him with protection and support, thus helping him accomplish his goal. Scar cared for no one else, he was heartless and selfish. He was dishonest and could care less about anyone else’s well-being. Scar had no future plans for his followers, and this was clear to the audience when the food was gone, and he was still unwilling to make vital changes to help the community. Overall, he lies to everyone to attain his selfish desires. The film begins with a song “The Circle of Life” and captures the rising of the sun, and all the animals. The animals that lived in the jungle not only lived together, but they came together while respecting the individual needs of one another. The role of nature is this scene focuses on the fact that the coexistence of different species on earth’s environment is important for the continuation of life.

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The Lion King is set in a jungle in Africa. Simba begins life as an honored prince. He is excited to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands. Mufasa is a great leader, with a kind and generous heart. While Simba was living a carefree life, he was surrounded by people who loved and cared for him. Nala is a close friend of Simba’s, wherever he goes Nala is ready to follow. Zazu is Mufasa’s trusted advisor, he has a strong sense of personal dignity. And loyalty for Mufasa always comes first. Sarabi is Simba’s mother, she is kind and gentle. Scar is his father’s brother, and this is someone Simba trusts. Scar knows this and takes advantage of this opportunity. This works to Simba’s disadvantage as well as defines his mischievous, adventurous spirit which he wallows in every chance he gets with Nala. When the two of them get in trouble, Zazu is often in charge of rescuing them. Mufasa, as a leader and king, upkeeps a deep understanding of what contributes to making the Pride Lands healthy and balanced. Mufasa’s duties include managing the hunting by his own pride and other animals, he settles arguments over watering and feeding grounds, to assure that the land’s resources are not exhausted. And most importantly he is responsible for making sure Simba becomes a great king like him. His trust and kindness are two of Mufasa’s greatest weaknesses. Mufasa does not suspect his brother of doing anything to hurt him just because of his feelings, going as far as to have him murdered in order to usurp the throne. Mufasa never saw that coming. But there is a sharp shift in Simba’s happy life, that quickly turned tragic. Scar is plotting on his brother, Mufasa and Simba. Scar murders Mufasa, and tried to murder Simba as well, but fails. Scar gets the hyenas to start a stampede and Mufasa was caught in the midst of this and lost his life, while Simba survives. This event drives Simba away from the kingdom. While in exile, Simba meets and befriends Pumbaa and Timon. These two make a comically bumbling paid and live a carefree life in a jungle. Simba is visited by his father’s spirit as he approaches adulthood. The spirit told Simba to return to his homeland, take back his rightful throne while defeating his uncle Scar.

Simba rejected himself after his father’s death, he began to blame himself. He rejected his family, best friends, and his royal’s destiny. Rafiki is something like a tribal medicine “man”, the old wise baboon. Rafiki travels his own road, and guides Simba back to the path he is meant to follow. When he finds out Scare murdered his father, this puts confidence back in him. We watch as he integrated all the characteristics of a true king. Simba puts his game face on and returns home. Pumbaa is warm-hearted with empathy and sympathetic, when Simba is confronted with his destiny, the loyal Pumbaa is ready to follow. When Simba returns, he finds his Mother and Nala, he finds that his courageous mother was able to hold her own during Scar’s destructive rule. She is proud to see her son battle the evil ruler. The Pride’s traditions state that Nala and Simba would have one day been Queen and King together, but then Simba is lost after Mufasa’s murder. Nala devoted her life to providing for her people as the Pride Land falls into ruin. The last thing she expected was to see Simba return alive and well. Simba defeats Scar, and becomes king again soon, the Pride Nation rejoices in the birth of the next lion prince. Again, Rafiki lifts a royal infant for the nation to worship. This is another presentation of the circle of life.

The elements of film style that stand out to me are sound, which may include diegetic and cinematography. Diegetic sound is any voice, musical passage, or sound effect represented as originating within the film’s world. I do not feel there were any examples of non-diegetic sound, which is mood music or narrator’s commentary represented as coming from outside the space of the narrative. The sound of the hooves’ stomping during the scene when Mufasa is murdered by a stampede of horses. This scene is a very emotional one for the audience, leaving us to anticipate what will happen next. There are certain sounds that are used in the film that provide comfort and represent when society is coherent. These sounds include the natural sounds of the animals, the chirping of the birds, the sounds of nature, and the free-flowing movement of water. In some scenes there are playful songs playing that are fast paced and energetic, angry scenes are partnered by fast paced gory songs that play low key. In most cases, the songs in this musical sets the mood for the scenes. Cinematography is a general term for all the manipulations of the film strip by the camera in the shooting phase. It also indicates processes that occur in the laboratory after shooting. Three general aspects to keep in mind are camera angles, camera distances, and camera movement. Camera angles are used to shed light on Simba and Scar’s personalities. Simba is seen as the face of good and Scar the face of evil. Simba’s light colors illustrate the essence of good. The camera often catches Simba in the sunlight representing the picture of innocence. There are many camera angles used in this film to establish the setting or depict a character’s reaction to an event. When Rafiki is raising Simba so the community can praise him, a freeze frame is used because it is a frozen shot of them. In the scene when Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon were journeying back to the Pride Lands, the camera catches a moment where the sun is setting, and the three characters were completely black because of the overpowering light. This is an establishing shot because the viewer gets to see and appreciate the setting. Overshot is often used, this is when the camera is directly above the object or scene. This way the viewer can see the animals from an above angle, making them look small and vulnerable. Most times when Mufasa is speaking, the viewer sees this in a eye level shot. Using this shot for Mufasa shows his power and authority. During Mufasa and then Simba’s reign, the Pride Lands are depicted in a good light. There is a shining sun and a healthy-looking jungle, while during Scar’s reign the Pride Lands look gloomy and bare.

The Lion King is a film that takes the audience on a sentimental ride while telling the story of the growth of a young lion. Simba’s experiences symbolize the true meaning of life. We find out what it means to be a leader, confident, scared, and betrayed through his actions. But watching him become a leader was the most important. This film is filled with valuable life lessons for both adults and children. This film will forever be a classic because it is entertaining yet very meaningful and resonates with many people.

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