I was surprised to hear a colleague of mine speak so vehemently about her distaste for Disney's new version of The Lion King. Coming along as part of a flurry of newly fiddled-with CGI retreads of classic animated tales, this one in particular stuck in her craw. If you've never had something stuck in your craw, maybe you don't know how this can affect your appreciation of family films of a rebooted kind.
Maybe this would be a good time to remind our readers that the author is hard-pressed to say anything bad about the House of Mouse. I am not a shareholder, but my son does hold an annual pass to the Magic Kingdom and our investment in movie tickets, stuffed toys and the like suggest that we are shills for most everything Disney. We didn't flinch when those powers that be decided to make a live action version of Cinderella. Or when they turned Beauty and the Beast into a computer generated redux with Harry Potter's friend Hermoine. There was some trepidation when it came time to see The Jungle Book "come alive" with Bill Murray's voice coming out of Baloo the Bear, but we went along for the ride and came out happy on the other side.
But then came Dumbo, and given my past experiences with Tim Burton messing with my own childhood firmament, I could not get myself up off the couch and into a movie theater to take it in. His revision of Planet of the Apes was still stuck in my overall craw region. Dumbo was my son's first Disney love, partly for the big-eared and even bigger-hearted elephant but mostly for the circus train Casey Junior. His parents painted a facsimile of his favorite locomotive on his bedroom wall and it was one of the few repeat rides he insisted upon when we visited the land of Disney.
Now I should also toss all the cards in the air and remind myself and anyone who is still reading that all of these stories weren't original when they came to the family fun factory in the first place. Even Dumbo was a novel before it was adapted for the screen by Walt's minions. Beauty and the Beast? Originally published back in 1740. And if you were paying mild attention to all that Hakuna Matata, the story of The Lion King is a furry version of Hamlet. Shakespeare fans will probably stay home in droves.
With something stuck in their collective craw.