"Watching the scene where Mufasa falls from a cliff and is trampled to death as Simba watches helplessly was probably the single most wrenching emotional moment for millions of small children growing up in the 1990s," noted Edwin Catmull, president of Disney Animation Studios. "That's what Disney is all about."Catmull noted that since the new version is in "Disney Digital 3-D," the experience will be even more poignant for today's youngsters, who will feel like Mufasa "is falling to his death right on top of them."
"And the scene where a crying Simba nuzzles his father's dead body before being sent into exile for the remainder of his ruined childhood by his sociopathic uncle, well, seeing it in 3-D will make kids feel like it's actually happening to them," Catmull said.
"I know I can't wait to take my kids," said Craig Milken, 27, of Berkeley, Calif., a father of two young boys who calls seeing The Lion King at age 9 a "defining experience" of his childhood.
"Also probably the reason for the subsequent 12 years of therapy, but whatever," he added.
The Lion King represents just the first in a series of 3-D re-releases of Disney classics, according to Catmull, who says the studio will be concentrating on films containing the timeless scenes "nearest and dearest" to children's hearts.
"I'm thinking of the scene where Dumbo cries uncontrollably while curled up in his imprisoned mother's trunk, or the one where Bambi's mother is shot to death," said Catmull. "Or the part in Pinocchio where Stromboli locks him in a birdcage and tells him he's going to chop him to pieces with an axe, or where all the bad boys get turned into donkeys ... yeah, basically all of Pinocchio."
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