Friday, 29 May 2009

Childhood inspiration

I didn't decide to become a screenwriter until just over a year ago but my love of films started in my early years. THE LION KING was always my favourite Disney movies and it still is.

It's undoubtedly a subverted retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet for children. I remember crying like mad at Mufasa's death. At that moment, Scar was established as the ultimate villain - never had I come across someone so evil that they would do such a thing. The amazing scene where Mufasa desperately battles to save Simba is mind-blowing. And set to Hans Zimmer's monumental score, the scene is one of the best in cinema.

The dark tone of the film is lightened by humour that comes with all Disney films (of the 80s and 90s anyway). Great things like a sarcastic bird voiced by Rowan Atkinson, a hyena voiced by Whoopi Goldberg and two buddy cop-type characters who are in fact a warthog and mere cat. Pure genius.

The brilliance of THE LION KING is the coming of age story. Like all great films, it's about characters. We see Simba run out of his home after the death of Mufasa (note: voiced by James Earl Jones) and become a new person. Scar has Simba believe that Mufasa's death is his own fault. Simba gradually makes friends but ultimately, he's running from his past - he's hiding from it and until he faces what happened, he can't find any sort of resolution.

Meanwhile of course, Scar is acting as pimp to all the lionesses. Despite their declarations that Pride Rock can no longer sustain them, Scar is reluctant to move on. He has his brother's kingdom and he intends to hold onto it.

My favourite part of the film is Simba's return to Pride Rock. He marches back, intent on taking back his kingdom. But once again, his weakness is Scar, who has him believing he is responsible for Mufasa's death. Only when Scar thinks he's won does he utter the words "I killed Mufasa". This gives Simba the determination to fight back.

The climax shows lions and hyenas clashing, as Simba squares off against Scar. It's a monumental battle with slow motion that highlights the power of these two titans.

This film stays in my mind as the ultimate finale. The epic battle and resolution is what makes THE LION KING one of the best films ever! And who doesn't love those songs and kung fu monkey?!

Another Disney film that remains one of my favourite films is BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. It's pure genius to have singing candlesticks et al, but as if that's not enough, the terrifying Beast is what makes the film. I love the scene where the Beast fights off the pack of wolves to save Belle. And the finale is action-packed magic (pun intended). The dark battle between the Beast and Gaston is perfectly balanced with the comical fight within the castle between idiotic villagers and household furniture. Again, the songs are just awesome right?

ALADDIN is the third Disney film that's a huge inspiration to me. It's the ultimate underdog story. Comedy from the great Robin Williams is what balances out the dark finale. What's better than the evil Jafar shape-shifting from Snake, to sorcerer, to genie as he battles our hero?! I always wanted to be Aladdin as a kid and to be honest, I still do; let's face it, Jasmine is hot! How old was she again....?

The first film I saw at the cinema was JURASSIC PARK. I remember a lot of things - not having a clue how the dinosaurs were there (and not caring), constantly reminding myself how to survive a T-Rex attack (stay still) and those bloody raptors!

I both loved and hated the velociraptors. Being a young boy of 5, I loved what they could do but I was also terrified. To this day, if I saw a raptor staring at me down the hall, I would be utterly terrified! Who the hell wouldn't?!

The great thing about JURASSIC PARK is that it's not just filled with dinosaurs that appeal to kids; it's also littered with clever adult material. The ethical considerations of bringing back an extinct species are always voiced by Ian Malcolm: "The lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here, uh... staggers me." "What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world."

JURASSIC PARK will always be one of my favourite movies. I loved it so much at the cinema that I spent the next decade dead set on the idea of becoming an archaeologist. I was fascinated by dinosaurs and still am.

Since I can't find any decent footage of the raptors, I leave you with the beautiful work from Hans Zimmer in THE LION KING. Enjoy:


Anonymous said...

Mustafa's death also made me cry and still does.
Great movie, still it's curious to know that some people thinks that's a copy from Kimba the white lion.

Nevertheless, Lion's King is a great, great movie.

Jurassic Park is another of my movie passions.
Steven Spielberg once said that JP is the only movie, of his, that he can see without shuting it off. That says a lot.

ângelo fernandes

Splinter073 said...

I'm showing my age now...

The first film I ever saw at the cinema was Ghostbusters. The library scene at the beginning scared the hell out of me!!

Me and my friend had an idea for a business called Mousebusters, we designed a trap to catch mice (humanely) and everything. It even looked like the Ghostbusters trap with stripey tape over it! The business never took off though... we were only about 10 after all...