Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lion King 3D, The

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Not recommended under 6, PG to 10 (Violence, Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lion King 3D, The
  • a review of Lion King 3D, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 September 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violent and disturbing scenes
Children aged 6-10 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and disturbing scenes
Children aged over 10 OK for this group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Lion King 3D, The
Classification: G
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Lion King 3D is the 1994 Disney classic animated musical re-released in a 3D format.  It is the coming of age story of the lion Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick), son of the powerful King of the Animal Kingdom, Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones).   Mufasa is eager to prepare his cub for his future as King by teaching him his responsibilities.  Simba is impatient, however, and he and his friend Nala (voiced by Moira Kelly) often push beyond the limits set for them. 

Simba’s Uncle Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons), who is bitter about his nephew being next in line to the throne, concocts a plan with the blood-thirsty hyenas to murder his brother and his nephew so that he may be the next King.  Scar sets Mufasa up to be killed by a herd of stampeding wildebeests.  Simba survives, but witnesses his father’s death. Traumatised by the events and blaming himself, he disappears from the Kingdom and all those he loves.

In exile, Simba meets two unlikely friends in Pumbaa the warthog (voiced by Ernie Sabella) and Timon the Meerkat (voiced by Nathan Lane).  Together they live a life of careless freedom as Simba grows into an adult lion.  However this carefree life is complicated when his childhood friend Nala finds his hideout.  Nala tells Simba of the terrible deterioration that has occurred throughout the kingdom since Scar became King.  She urges Simba to return home to confront the evil Scar and take his rightful place as Lion King.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a parent; separation from family and friends; the circle of life

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including the following examples:

  • Simba and Nala as young lion cubs are chased and almost eaten by a pack of hyenas before being rescued by Simba’s father, Mufasa.
  • Simba is almost trampled by a herd of wildebeests.  He finds a temporary escape by hanging from a tree branch. Mufasa attempts to rescue him but is not successful. Mufasa asks Scar for help but Scar causes him to fall to his death, trampled by the wildebeests.
  • Scar tells the hyenas that they should find Simba and eat him.  They chase him but he escapes.
  • There are a number of fight scenes between the lions and the final fight is quite dark and tense.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The death of Simba’s father, Mufasa, is very distressing and the theme of his death continues throughout the rest of the movie with Simba seeing his father in the stars and talking to him.  Simba is also seen to be depressed, guilty and heart broken.  These scenes are very emotional and are likely to be upsetting for younger viewers.
  • Scar rules the kingdom with a heavy hand.  He threatens the lionesses and makes them hunt the food to feed the hyenas.  The kingdom is sparse and black and has an evil feel.
  • Mufasa’s confidant, Zazu, is kept in a cage of bones and at times his life is threatened however he is not harmed.
  • There are many scenes where the hyenas are seen growling and hunting the lions and other animals.  These scenes are often dark and menacing and can be scary for younger viewers.
  • Scar is eaten by the hyenas when he falls off a cliff.  This is not seen directly but is implied strongly through shadows and sounds.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared or disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes, particularly the death of Mufasa.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern in the film, but plenty of associated merchandise

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Some mild flirting between Simba and Nala

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

The Lion King 3D is an animated musical that tells the coming of age story of a lion cub’s rise to become Lion King. The music and animation remain the same as the original but some of the scarier scenes are more intense due to the 3D format. 

The main messages from this movie are about the importance of family and taking responsibility.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • loyalty
  • bravery
  • forgiveness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

Avoiding your problems - Did running away from his problems help Simba?  Why, or why not?  What are the benefits of facing your problems head on?

Death - There is a strong theme of death in this movie and this may require discussion.  Concepts such as ‘the circle of life’ and ‘dead kings become stars’ may need explanation.

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