The lion king film is an American, musical animation film released in 1994 and produced by Walt Disney. It is the first of the Lion King franchise, and the fifth animated film to be produced during the time which was known as the Disney Renaissance. Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers directed the 1994 Lion King, and then Don Halm produced it. The composer of the music in the musical was Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice. Hans Zimmer wrote the score of the musical. The entire story is based on jungle setting where the lion is the king who is responsible for keeping balance in the ecosystem hence the title The Lion King.
The producers of the film used both underscoring and source music. Underscoring music is the music that plays quietly when there is a dialogue between the characters in the movie or on visual scenes. In most cases, the underscoring music is used to establish a mood or a theme in the scene. The Underscoring music was used in the film in various stages. One of this scenes is at the beginning of the film where the audience is being introduced to the jungle. The film begins with a song of an African dialect emphasizing on the rise of the sun and chirping of birds and various animals making different sounds in the jungle (00:00:40). The music sets a mood that immerses the audience to the interior of an African forest where they see all sorts of animals, a jungle landscape, and waterfalls.
Another scene where the underscoring music is used efficiently is when Rafiki calls Simba in the thickets so that he could show him his father (01:05:10). In this scene, the same African dialect is applied, but the song used is a little bit faster. As a result, intensifying the excitement and anxiety, Simba feels about going to see his father after so many years of believing he is dead. A man is laughing in the song, although the character cannot hear the song, the laughter is a used to express the excitement Simba might be having. The song also adds suspense to the audience. Other than these two instances, the underscoring music has been used in various scenes to express different moods. Source music has also been used in the film where the characters are involved in singing. There were scenes where characters sang in excitement and others in sadness.
Music is an essential aspect of storytelling, especially for Disney films. Almost all Disney films have characters breaking into a song which advances the story, making it more exciting and interesting to young viewers. Songs allow the producers of the film to bring out emotions intended better than dialogues.
Pure visual expressions together with dialogues cannot emphasize on the mood of a situation instead it is just plain. However, when music is added it brings out a clear picture of the film depending on the tone, and the pitch of the music, one would be able to identify the mood of a movie even without watching. Music can also be used to describe or define a character. For example, using source music, a protagonist in the film would sound polite while singing and the antagonist would sound ruthless. For a protagonist even without them singing, the song may sound serene while antagonist’s song may sound intense.
The emotional impact of songs in films is undeniable especially for the scene like the one where Simba meets Nala after a very long time. The producer decides to use Timon to express the love through the song Can you feel the love tonight. The song is used in immersing the audience to the feeling of love and the fears each of the characters has. Timon fears that they might lose Simba if he falls in love with Nala. Simba fears to open up to Nala due to his past and Nala fears that Simba is not open enough and that he is not utilizing his full potential (00:58:06). All this has been expressed in a single song. It only proves that songs are a useful tool in any film in communicating anything.
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