The Lion King – in 3D

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Imax Waterloo ( © Copyright Derek Harper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

On Sunday I was invited by a friend to go and see The Lion King in 3D at the Imax cinema in Waterloo.

I happily agreed – The Lion King is one of my favourite Disney movies – but I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the prospect of seeing it in 3D.

I’ve only seen a couple of movies in 3D – either at Odeon or Vue – and both times I was left unimpressed and failed to see how 3D made the experience better or more enjoyable.

In fact, I have a rather cynical view of 3D – seeing it simply as a money-making scheme (which is particularly true for the re-release of old movies in 3D) and a way of ‘jazzing up’ movies that have weak story-lines.

So, I was surprised and pleased to have my original belief countered on Sunday. By the time the opening title (‘Circle of Life’) had finished I was converted to 3D.

It was quite something to see Zazu fly “over” my head onto Pride Rock. And the scene where Mufasa falls to his death (17 years later and that scene still makes me sad) was far more dramatic as you felt as though Mufasa fell “into” the audience.

I’m not entirely sure why I felt so differently about this 3D experience, but I think two factors were important.

Firstly, as my friend pointed out the Imax cinema was made for screening 3D films. Opened in 1999, the screen is 2o metres high (which equates to nearly 5 double-decker buses) and 25 metres wide, making it Britain’s largest cinema screen. And I truly believe the size of the screen made the difference in the 3D experience.

Secondly, I believe I enjoyed the experience more because of the movie itself. As I mentioned early, I am a huge fan of The Lion King – the story line, the music, the quotes – I love it all.

And I think going to see something that I was passionate about, something that I already loved for the story alone, meant that the 3D element added something new to the experience, rather than having the story-line carried by the effects.

So, I appear to be a 3D convert. Well, at least in part.

I still believe that it is largely a money-making scheme and that often, having a movie come out in 3D is a way of ‘disguising’ a weak story-line.

However, when a movie is strong in its own right, I can see the merit of adding something that little bit special to the film – even if it is at the movie-goers expense.

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