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The Role Of Music In the Film “The Lion King”

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1294
  • Category: Music

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The soundtrack of the film “The Lion King” greatly helped in making the animated movie a big hit.  The movie has been rated 8.0/10.0 by The Internet Movie Database.  Indeed, both young and old have enjoyed it largely because of the songs – their melodies and their lyrics.  Though the story is itself a beautiful narration that brings home valuable lessons about life and people, it is the music played all throughout the movie that enhanced the total quality of the production.

The song the movie starts with, Circle of Life, sets the mood and matches the majesty with which Simba, the baby son of the Lion King Mufasa, was raised up in the air to be beheld by all the animals in the jungle – the subjects of the mighty Lion King.  The animals all knelt down in perfect harmony with the song.

During the same first scene with the same first song being played, one would catch some lines in the song, like “Till we find our place on the path unwinding in the circle, the circle of life…”  Thus, through that one song, the movie-watchers are reminded that it is one thing to be born with titles and positions, or with talents and special skills, but it is altogether another thing to find our place under the sun, which translates to who we really are in the eyes of the people in our lives.

The song “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” is a playful, lively tune that shows the side of young Simba as he looked forward to the time when he would have his turn to be the king.  The lyrics are clear, “No one saying do this, no one saying be there, no one saying stop that, no one saying see here…”  There is in the one singing – in this case, Simba – a certain pride in what he knows he is destined to be and a certain impatience about such time not yet coming to pass.

The song, being lively, also sets the tone of this point of the movie.  Simba, the young lion prince, had a happy childhood, pampered as the prince and loved by his father the Lion King Mufasa.  The scenes, the characters in them and their dialogues all show that Simba was dearly beloved and doted on by the lion king and queen, but this song “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” brings home this message most effectively.

Jeremy Irons is the ideal artist to provide the voice of Scar, the jealous brother of the Lion King Mufasa who plotted his death and led Simba to run away and hide so that he could be his brother’s successor.  The quality of his voice matches both the evil lines and the tune of the song “Be Prepared”.

The beat, the lyrics and the voices of Scar and the hyenas singing the song “Be Prepared” all together produce a track that makes the movie-watchers realize that Scar has a cunningly hatched plot to kill the king.  With the hyenas as his accomplices, Scar’s goal is to himself be the king.

The lyrics were written so well that in one song, the movie-watchers are certain to understand what drove Scar to go as far as killing his own brother, Mufasa, and why he has become so evil.  “Decades of denial is simply why I’ll be king, undisputed, respected, saluted, and seen for the wonder I am…”  This song makes it clear that all his life, Scar has never been happy, feeling that he has always been denied of things that he would have wanted to do and to have for himself.  Obviously, from Scar’s point of view, such things were to be finally his if he would be the king.

The hyenas in the story are portrayed as a clan of unintelligent carnivores whose strength lies in their numbers.  In the song “Be Prepared”, the dialogue between Scar and the hyenas indeed show that the hyenas are far from smart.  They are animals who are only after having plenty to eat, so the song includes promises made by Scar on the condition that the hyenas would do their part in the plot to kill the king.  Again, the tune and the lyrics played a big role in establishing the change in Scar from a harmless uncle of Simba to a heartless murderer of his own brother, the Lion King Mufasa.

Given how violent and tragic the earlier scenes are, the next chapter where Simba meets his happy-go-lucky friends – Pumbaa the warthog and Timon the meerkat – would mean such a big shift in the prevailing mood.  Thanks to music again, the transition to this next scene is pulled off successfully.  “Hakuna Matata” is another happy and lively song to dispel a gloomy scene and help revert the movie tone back to a lighter, jovial one.

The voices selected, the lyrics and the melody of the song “Hakuna Matata” conjure a smooth fast-tracking of time.  Simba at this part of the movie and with a lot of help from the song “Hakuna Matata” lives out his childhood years completely forgetting his roots and all that has happened.  The song is one that makes the listeners smile and reminds them to not so much dwell on problems and worries.

The instrumental part of the song “Hakuna Matata” suits well the purpose of portraying Simba as a young lion going through various stages of life and enjoying days and nights in the company of Pumbaa and Timon.  This song which plays for over three minutes only covers years and years of Simba’s life.  With this song playing, the movie shows how he later becomes a fully grown lion with a mane.

Then came the time when Simba fell in love with his childhood friend, Nala.  In the beautiful love song entitled “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?”, all the elements are there:  the initial disapproval of Pumbaa and Timon for the prospect of Simba falling in love, the reasons why they disapprove and their perspective when looking at the lovers Simba and Nala, the fear of Simba about his past which might cause Nala to turn away from him, the sensing by Nala of the side of Simba that is wanting to hold back and hide from her, the blossoming of the love of Simba and Nala despite everything, and the comic misery of Pubmaa and Timon for losing Simba as a constant companion and ever-present friend.  With this variety of elements, the mood and tone of the song reverted from one to the next – all in perfect synchronization with the scenes of the movie.

Truly, no one can deny the powerful impact of the music played throughout the film to the totality of the produced work of art.  The songs and the instrumental pieces therein have made the movie-watchers smile, frown, laugh, cry and on the whole appreciate the story a lot more.

Having garnered many awards including Best Score and Best Song in the Academy,  then Best Original Score and Best Original Song in the Golden Globe, and the Best Family Film in the National Board of Review, The Lion King is without question one of the best animated films to ever be produced.  It leaves behind a haunting lesson about avoiding greed for power and it serves as a potent reminder that the good always in the end win.

WORKS CITED:          

Soundtrack of The Lion King; Walt Disney Music Company, 1994

The Internet Movie Database (www.iMDb.com)

The Internet All Movie Guide (www.allmovieguide.com)

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