Editors at the Washington Post recently made the inane decision to publish the radical ramblings of Dan Hassler-Forest, assistant professor in the Media Studies Department of Utrecht University, which is located in the Netherlands.
In an entertainment world that produces excessively violent, sexually aggressive, and politically correct product to the max, Hassler- Forest makes the nonsensical assertion that the plot line of Disney’s current iteration of “The Lion King” is a fable that is riddled with fascist ideology.
“The Lion King” is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s conventionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The movie’s plot line revolves around a young lion named Simba, who struggles to accept his place as the rightful king of his nation after his father Mufasa is murdered by his uncle named Scar.
Because the story involves a monarchy in which lions comprise a ruling class, Hassler-Forest concludes that the film depicts “a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong.” Hassler-Forest also contends that the movie “presents a seductive worldview in which absolute power goes unquestioned and the weak and the vulnerable are fundamentally inferior.”
Using Hassler-Forest’s argument as a basis, one would have to conclude that a vast majority of folk legends, fairy tales, and classic fables featuring kings, queens, princes, and princesses will eventually be forced to face the chopping block.
In addition to the Washington Post piece, the metropolitan media critic community is generally slamming “The Lion King,” giving it a dismal 55% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregation website. Critics thumbing their respective noses at the movie include those from the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, and NPR.
Despite the Washington Post’s hit piece and the critics’ jabs at “The Lion King,” the public is giving it a whole lot of love, grading the film with an A rating on CinemaScore and additionally making it a record-breaking blockbuster at the box office.
“The Lion King” has taken the record for a July opening, with $185 million gross, an amount that not only outperforms pre-release forecasts but also bests the previous July record holder, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” which took in more than $169 million. The movie is also the second largest debut of the year so far, trailing behind only one film, “Avengers: Endgame.” “The Lion King” reboot has additionally topped another Disney live-action remake, “Beauty and the Beast.”
The idea for the story on which “The Lion King” is based first arose during a conversation between senior executive Roy E. Disney (son of Disney co-founder Roy O. Disney), Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and first president of Disney Animation Peter Schneider. (The conversation took place in the late 1980s on a plane to Europe to promote “Oliver & Company,” an early Disney animated musical film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist.”)
As “The Lion King” idea was being developed, Katzenberg added his own thematic material involving coming of age and death, and some ideas from his own personal life experiences. Katzenberg has stated that “The Lion King” “is a little bit about myself.”
Although he may be a died-in-the-wool liberal and has had his share of rotten political ideas, Katzenberg is no fascist.
The new live action reboot of the film seems to have been packaged so that it would escape the unfavorable judgments of left-wing gatekeepers. It features a predominantly African-American cast, with a story that takes place in Africa. The voices in the film include those of Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones, who reprises his role of Mufasa from the original film.
It is preposterous that these celebrities would become involved with a movie that had fascistic undertones. The same for Elton John, who along with Tim Rice wrote several evergreen tunes for the original animated version and have contributed a new song for the reboot titled “Never Too Late.”
Thankfully, moviegoers are not buying the whole fascist meme. They are, however, expressing their delight with Disney’s fanciful remake by buying tickets in droves.