9 Things You Didn’t Know About The Lion King
Did you guys know that this year marked the 20th anniversary of The Lion King. You did know that. Well that’s cool. You know, hakuna matata and so forth. Lucky for me, there’s a bunch more cool stuff about The Lion King that I’ve got for you today. Here are nine things that you didn’t know about The Lion King. Probably. (Sound) God, the Lion King is so good, you guys. It’s the highest grossing traditionally animated film of all time to this day. So suck it, Simpsons Movie. And the Lion King also holds its own even when you factor in computer animated films taking third place all time behind Frozen and Toy Story 3. But what most people don’t know is how scattered the production was when animating The Lion King. For example, in this scene with Simba and Scar, the lead animator on Scar was working in L.A.
And Simba’s lead The animator was working out of Florida. Meanwhile, Jeremy Irons recorded his performance in London. If that wasn’t enough, an earthquake toward the end of the production forced all the California animators to finish animating the film from their homes. When you think about how fragmented everything was behind the scenes. It’s amazing to see how seamless the final product is. Especially considering that Disney thought Pocahontas was going to be their bigger movie and had their, so called, b team working on Lion King. Way to come through b team. (Music) The Lion King is about as close as you get to a perfect movie but, even still, it does have a couple of animation mistakes. For one, in this scene with Rafiki, his chalk is this deep pinkish color in the bowl, but then it’s a lighter, brighter shade when he puts it on the wall.
And to be honest, I can barely even see much color difference. And I would have never noticed, but the filmmakers are actually the ones who revealed this error making it into the final film. And in this scene with the elephant carcass, we have what’s called a color pop. Here it is again in case you missed it. The animators just simply didn’t have enough time to fix it before their deadline. And now, you’ll never be able to unsee those mistakes every time you watch this movie. So, sorry. But, by the way, the guy who animated Rafiki, James Baxter, is the same person who animated Bell, in Beauty and the Beast, and Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Boom, made it up to you with a bonus thing you didn’t know. (Sound) >> Let’s talk about Mufasa for a second. Check out his bad ass roar in this scene when he recues Simba and Nala from the hyenas. (Sound) >> Most people don’t know that the growl we hear there is actually not a lion at all.
It’s a combination of a grizzley bear, a tiger, and an F16 fly by. Which makes sense, because everyone knows hyenas are terrified of flying. Did you know that Simba has something in common with Prince Akeem from Coming to America? And its actually a pretty big thing. >> Halt! >> Simba and Akeem have the same parents. James Earl Jones, who voices Mufasa in The Lion King, also plays Eddie Murphy’s dad in Coming to America. And Sarabi, Simba’s mom, was voiced by the last Madge Sinclair, who can see here as Queen Aoleon, Akeem’s mom. Yeah, back in the 80’s and 90’s if you needed some African royalty, you couldn’t go wrong James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair and Johnathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick, I guess? Let’s move on. (Sound) Family films have to be extra careful about making sure they don’t even come close to showing anything to graphic.
So most people don’t know that showing meat, which they did in this scene with Scar, was actually controversial. They had to make the animal flesh less pink than it originally was and grey it down. Kind of like a striped version of one of those old school cartoon Hams. (Music) >> The wildebeest stampede is a huge scene. Not just in the movie, but also, in its production history. They had to create a special avoidance computer program for it, which made it so the wildebeests would run toward each other, and then, turn away at the last moment. This made it so they wouldn’t pass through each other like ghosts, and so that their paths would look realistic for a stampede. Each wildebeest’s movement is actually based on the same run cycle. The animators just added in jumps, bucks and other movements to mix it up.
And it took the entire three years of production for this sequence to be completed. Three years for one sequence. God, animation is hard work you guys, almost as hard as voiceover. (Music) Let’s get into how tedious animating can be a bit more, with Simba’s whiskers. Did you know that each of Simba’s whiskers had to be drawn on a separate piece of paper? If you think that sounds like a nightmare, you’re right. And it also explains why the lionesses don’t have whiskers, because the animators were too (Bleep) lazy. (Laugh) Am I right? No, jk, jk, you guys, just kidding. JK stands for just kidding. Next thing. Remember this scene? Yeah, you do.
But you probably didn’t know that originally they had the characters and background changing at the same time for the whole Simba grows up montage. They changed it because with that technique you couldn’t really pick up on the transitions and grasp that we were witnessing the passage of time. Instead we see the background dissolve second After the characters do, which definitely works better I assume. Because, I’ll never see the original version, and neither will you. Moving on. (Music) >> Can You Feel the Love Tonight won an Oscar (Sound) for best song. Everybody loved it, we all know that. The surprising thing is, (Sound) Tim Rice had to write the lyrics to the song some 18 times because of changes from Disney executives. Elton John had always envisioned the song as a classic Disney love song, but as the film was being made, the song evolved into a weird, jokey version where Timon and Pumbaa sing the song to each other.
Luckily, the filmmakers realized that was a less than good idea, so we wound up with a final hybrid version where Timon and Pumbaa get us into and out of the song, but the meat of the song is what Elton John had always intended. And that features Tim Rice’s first set of lyrics, by the way. (Sound) That’s it for us today, but Disney is probably sending goons to the Cinefix offices right now to break our thumbs or whatever but hey maybe they’ll look the other way and won’t sue us. Kind of like how Productions looked the other way when Disney borrowed inspiration from Kimba The White Lion for the Lion King.
Whoa, hey no (Sound) No, no, no, my thumbs! No, I need my thumbs. (Sound) Anyway thanks for watching. Be sure to check out cinefix.com and subscribe for more truish things about movies and sometimes Mufasa, right here on Things You Didn’t Know. (Sound).
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9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Lion King