THE LION KING
One of my all time favourite films would have to be The Lion King; this being the reason why I chose to analyse the opening to this amazing Disney movie. Well known by everyone, the first wide shot shows a wide landscape in darkness with a glowing light at the back which rises above the land to present sunlight; spreading happiness through the whole kingdom. As soon as the sun starts to move, an African song begins to play. It is a happy tune, with one main person singing with many back-up singers in it. It sounds as though the people singing are grouped as a colony in a way; kind of reflecting how all the different types of animals come together as one to see the future King's ceremony. The whole scene gets the audience feeling warm and happy inside, as animals who are usually seen killing one another in the wild walk side by side looking up into the sunrise and walk towards the centre rock which is first show in a wide shot from a far away hill to show how big it was in comparison to all the creatures walking towards it. This lets the audience know that something special and important will happen there. We follow Zazu in the sky flying high, yet still we are below Mufasa as we zoom up towards him standing on Pride Rock. This shows the hierarchy of the animal kingdom; he is their king which is confirmed to us when Zazu lands and bows to the King standing high, with his mane fluttering in the breeze. However, Mufasa bows back to Zazu which doesn't tell us they have the same status, but shows instead that the King is friendly and warm-hearted.
Rafiki, the baboon, enters the scene with a bright light shining behind him, so only a sillhouette is shown. This portrays importance to this character and we know he is special to the royal family. He climbs to the top of Pride rock and through to where the sleeping Simba lies. This is where we see the baby King; the music begins to quieten down and we hear a very soft purring coming from between the mothers paws. The camera peers over to reveal the baby cub; being smothered in orange juice from a fruit, possibly a ritual in the animal world. Sneezing sweetly in the dust, Simba is then picked up by Rafiki and is taken the the end of the Pride Rock. As they walk up the rock, the music in the background begins to return and gets louder and louder until they get to the end of the rock and suddenly chorus of "Circle of Life" kicks in and Simba is thrown into the air infront of all the animals surrounding the Pride Rock. A round of applause is suggested by all the animals screeching and stomping their feet in approval. There are lots of low angle shots in this part to show the status of the cub, and a final high angle panning shot which shows the audience what Simba can see. After this, the sky is shown and a beam of light shoots down and hits Simba and lights him up so that all the animals can see; they all begin to bow to him and then a mid-shot zooms out on Simba to reveal the end shot of the opening showing us all the animals in the Kingdom surrounding to create an amazing ceremony that the audience have also felt a part in. As soon as the finishing wide shot is established, the music suddenly cuts off to a finally with a massive drum beating once, making the title almost scream its name - The Lion King.