Christian Symbolism in Disney Movies
The lion king is an American animated movie of the genre of children animated drama. This movie was first produced in 1994, by Walt Disney Feature animation. This hit movie which is enjoyed both by young and old at heart first hit the theaters on June 15, 1994 premiered by Walt Disney Pictures animation which is classified as the 32nd film in the class of classical animation by this production house. The story from the limelight and production was gravitated from two bible themes which were influenced from the story of Moses and Joseph as the main Christian symbolism. The theme line also depicts some elements of the play Hamlet which was written by William Shakespeare. The story background setting is that of the fast grassland of West Africa, this also depicts the background setting of Hamlet which outlays in Africa the anthropomorphic animal’s kingdom (Ebert, 1994).
The rating of this movie has been rated as the highest grossing animated movie of all time by Disney. However, this was later overtaken after the release of Finding Nemo. However, The Lion King is historically still rated the highest in the gross rating as in the genre of had drawn animation film, as compared to Finding Nemo which was a computer animated film. The lion King has been classified to the classical Disney animation films which are in the genre known as Disney Renaissance Films. This movie is also rated to be the best and highest grossing film in the field of 2D animation in the UnitedState, this movie received positive praise from the critics on the storyline and music. This movie grossed over $738 million during it release world wide, this made this film to be rated among the highest gross rating movie at 31st position world wide with other genre movies from other production houses (Schickel and Dee, 55)
Walt Disney History
Walt Disney Company is an American entertainment and media organization which is ranked as the largest conglomerate in terms of revenue accumulation. This organization was founded by two brothers Walt Disney and Roy Disney on the 16th October, 1923. These two jubilant brothers started this multi million entertainment company on a studio which they named Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio (Shull, 19). They later reincorporated this studio into a Walt Disney Production in the fall of the year 1929. From this step this organization marked itself on the race for being the leading corporation in America in animation production; they later diversified into television, live action production of movies and travel.
Later in the year 1986 this organization took the current name as the brand name and from there the story of success commenced with many awards honored to this organization as being the best entertainment company nearly in every season since it establishment. Further, this organization expanded it operation and advanced into theater, online media, publishing and radio. This organization has been entertaining on the concept of family film from the memorial time that it was established. This has been the house hold name in American family movies. This is because it was formulated on the concept of educating young mind and adding virtues to the young at heart. Majority of the films which are directed from this juncture are family flagship oriented brands and has been associated with symbolism which are link with Christians as noted by Thomas (p, 132).
Walt Disney Film (The Lion King) Audience Perception
Every household in America or all over the world has a collection or possesses a copy of one of the Walt Disney film. The lion King is among the films which this context is underlying upon. This film has been rated to be the most accepted animation which enthralls audience of all ages and gender. One of the perception which makes this film unique is the fact that the musical and the cinematic theory behind the concept surrounding the film. From this essence the song especially “Circle of life” also depicts the bliss which is essential for human livelihood. This is best experienced as all animals of all kind assembly together for a feat, around pride the location where the feat is being held. The audiences are kept glued to the screen for these very emotional children rated film. The story takers on diverse notion of Christianity and also on ethical and moral basic this film is very educative and can mould a young mind into a morally upright being just from viewing it. From the suspense to good chorography this film has been rated an all family film in the world which have the best Christian symbolic (Berry, 52). These symbolic ranges from honesty, evil, greed and paradise which are best outlaid by audience of this film, like the fare in all Walt Disney animated film this also centralizes on the struggle between good and evil as the main theme.
The Lion King Executive Summary
The theme story of this film evolves around a new born lion cub called Simba. The story starts when Simba is born and presented to the other animals as Simba father Mufasa is the king of pride kingdom. There is celebration to pay homage to the new born heir of the pride kingdom; every animal in this region is present to witness this occasion. However, the uncle to Simba Mufasa brother Scar is not present as he is a very discontent fellow as he had greed for being the hair but now his dreams of ruling are thwarted by this new born. Scar is sly and conniving; he orchestrates the death of his brother Mufasa and orders the greedy ousted hyenas from the community to kill the young Simba so that he may be the next legal heir of the throne of Pride kingdom. Scar also accuses Simba of being responsible for his father death as before the tragedy day he had disobeyed the father and went to a prohibited place called the elephant grave. The hyena chases Simba away and leaves the cub alone in the desert. Scar takes over the reign of the pride kingdom and instills greed and is loathed by the dwellers off this region (Ebert, 1994). Later Simba after a wonderful dwelling on the wild would be revealed not dead and gain the throne from the greedy uncle, Simba marries his childhood sweetheart and the story ends with Simba staring a family of his own.
The Lion King Christian Symbolisms
In the book of Genesis in the bible which concerns itself with the creation story exemplifies that all the animals lived in harmony together without preying on one another for survival. The bible does not necessarily say what the lions and other carnivorous beast were dwelling on. The Pride kingdom in The Lion King film depicts paradise. This is because all the animals like the bible stipulates are living in harmony wolves living in harmony with dears without having to prey on each other for food. There is ample supply of food for all the animals and there is bliss, praises, songs, feats and happiness. The lion as depicted in the bible as being the king in this film the loin (Musafa) is the sovereign commander of the pride kingdom. The bible articulates that the Lord is the Lion of Judah who watches over all and owns all (Challies, 59). Musafa rules pride Kingdom justly with wisdom which also symbolizes Christianity virtues of honesty and fair justice as he oversees all disputes and rules over them with wisdom.
Musafa who is the father to Simba and the ruler of the pride kingdom plays the part which depicts Christ. Musafa is betrayed and killed by his own brother as so is the betrayal of Christ by one of his disciples. Musafa later appears in form of spirit to guide and advice Simba, this is also depicted from the resurrection of Christ he appeared to his disciples and his mother in the spirit from. The practice of believing in the spirit is shown when Simba believes what his father directs to him. Further more this is also best shown when Simba attempts to communicate with the spirit as it is required through prayers in Christianity. Musafa promise which is referred to that which the Holy Spirit speculates when offering to offer comfort at all times. This is depicted when Musafa promises Simba that he will never forsake nor leave him always be with him. Rafiki the wise monkey plays the part of a spiritual priest like the old days in the Bible. He offers spiritual guidance and advice like the high priest of the day of Christ as exemplified by Allen (p, 244).
Water in the bible symbolizes life and when Simba is lost in the desert his only hope is water. Thus this is very essential for his survival at that particular moment. Later in the film when one of the new found friends Timon the meerkat nearly drowns as he attempts to cross a flooded river. Here water again signifies death as if Simba would not have saved his friend he would have drowned to death.
In the vast desert when Simba is lost in the desert in need of water the color red signifies danger and death. In this film other colors such as white which appears when Simba communicates with his father, symbolizes pureness and holiness. This is depicted from Christianity where angles are perceived to have white gown as a sign of purity. The color green which is depicted from the environment which Simba, Pumba and Timon dwell on symbolizes bliss and an environment which is friendly and serene. This also is depicted from the Christianity view of paradise where the land is full of life as color green symbolizes life and abundance as noted by Schickel and Dee (p, 111). This is well exemplified at the location which Simba and his Friends dwell.
Gray color in the film also sparks the symbol of famine and lack as the kingdom of pride when Scar is the king dries up. The environment is represented by the color gray to signify how the crops are failing and how the rivers have dried up. This color symbolizes an aura of death and mourning with the pale shading represented by this color during this time. Blue in this film is the color which signifies love and happiness. This is best witnessed as Simba and his childhood girlfriend Nala are together the sky is cloudless blue. Anytime the film has an ambience of happiness the color blue is the main theme color as exemplified by Thomas (p, 81).
In this film evil symbolism is best outlaid by Simba’s uncle Scar. Through the critics of this movie many have associated Scar behavior with that of Hitler. Hitler was a German sadist who killed Millions of Jews. He commandeered his army on false pretence that he would offer them good life after they assist him orchestrate the grimmest massacre ever to be documented in the entire world. Scar in the film symbolizes Hitler when he promises the greedy hyenas that he will offer them food if they help him achieve his treacherous deeds of assassinating his brother and gaining the throne of pride kingdom. Scar jealousy develops after the new heir of the kingdom is born (Simba) he starts planning vile about how to terminate the lives of both his brother (Mufasa) and nephew (Simba). In this film Scars symbolized as Hitler and both his Mufasa and Simba are subjected to the harsh treatment which the Jews were subjected to, the elephant grave yard is also Scar symbolic of Hitler concentration camp where he would lock up the Jews (Challies, 137).
The Hyenas as they are matching in the film symbolizes soldiers which depict the Nazis soldiers that perpetuated the act of Jews massacre from Hitler’s orders. The hyenas are ruthless and brutal consuming everything they find in their way as this also is how the Nazi soldiers were in Hitler’s regime. Christians usually conceive that Hitler prosecuted Jews because of their faith and religion. The film “The Lion King” Scar persecutes his brother and nephew because of selfish gains which are unethical. Scar believes that his brother is not a competent king and that he should be the one who rules. Scar is means and conniving which is against the Christian moral values. Mufasa uses righteous means to address the kingly ways at pride kingdom and judges the resident of this kingdom with justice and the locals loves him dearly for his is an upright king. His kingly charisma is that of Solomon or David in the bible (Allen, 179). However, Scar symbolizes king Nebuchadnezzar in the bible who ruled the people ruthlessly with pride and the Lord become angry and turned him into a mad man eating grass like a heifer.
Scar also symbolizes the devil this by the fact that he is only happy when other are being oppressed, he offers unfair justice and subjects the locals of pride kingdom into servitude. Scar also makes alliances with wicked allies like the Hyenas and subjects them to committing crimes for a share of food ration which is not even there. Scar like the devil exists upon lies and slyness which he uses to induce the locals and the allies to helping him scheme his treacherous way to reigning with malice the kingdom of pride. According to Allen (p, 166) this wickedness in Christianity is fathomed and not allowed to exist among the faithful of this religion. The story of Scar resembles that of the devil as he was once a faithful servant of the Lord but pride made him want to be like the Lord and the penalties were that he was thrown out of heaven. Scar before Simba was born was a royal brother to Mufasa however; his greed and pride got over him and wanted to be king himself. When Simba was born as the new heir of the kingdom of pride, Scar then become angered and troubled as his chance of being the legal heir of the pride kingdom had been thwarted by this new heir. From here he become like the devil and outcast as he alienated and quarreled with his brother in all matters. He becomes consumed with bitterness and pride and this led to scheming of how he could eliminate his brother and nephew to gain the throne of the pride kingdom.
Scar symbolizes Judas in the biblical story of the betrayal of Jesus our lord and savior. Scar betrays his brother and nephew when he subjects them to death for a simple gain of being the king of the pride kingdom. Scar betrays his own nephew and subjects Simba into death by the evil hyenas. Simba is saved by grace and later returns to claim his rightful place as Jesus will come and claims his people as the doctrines of Christianity so attests. In the holy doctrines Judas kissed Jesus in the cheeks to point to the soldiers whom his Master was. Scar leads Simba in the elephant graveyard so that the hyena would devour him for a feat. However, Simba out smarts this hyenas and runs for his live in a far away land (Gabler, 153).
Scar symbolized as Hitler on how he used the faith of the German people. He lied to them that the Jews were the source of the problems that they were experiencing and that when executed their problem and lack shall be solved. He promised that they would never go hungry again neither live in demeaning conditions. Scar also lies to the Hyenas that they are living in deplorable condition because of the rule of his brother and guaranteed that when they help him, reign pride kingdom they would never go hungry and all their problems would be solved. However, this was just a trick and later some German would rebel against Hitler after learning that nothing was changing even after the massacres had been executed. Some also upraised against him and helped in ousting his regime. Scar at the end of the story after Simba offer him a chance of serving a jail term and he refuses and attempts to attack, he is thrown in a cliff where one of the hyenas that had been a witness in the whole scenario mulls Scar to death from vengeance of the lies orchestrated to them promising better life (Worcester, 231).
The elephant graveyard also symbolizes the trenches of the World War one and also like the concentrated camps that the Jews were locked up within. This place is feared by the locals of the pride kingdom and they disassociate themselves with this land (Ebert, 1994). The place has an essence of death and evil where anything that roams these areas is subjected to die or some from of hostility which would surmount to death. Simba when tricked into visiting this region by his uncle is nearly mulled by the three hyenas and then later is saved from a wildebeest stamped caused by the hyena to kill the young cub.
League of nation symbolism
This is best symbolized by Timon and Pumba during the whole film they are willing to help Simba in any circumstance only that they lack the right strength. This is best displayed when Simba is attacked by the hyenas that keep guard the pride kingdom. They are the league of nation which wanted to help out the Jews however they did not much up the strength which Hitler army had. In Christianity this is bets outlaid by the fact that many Christians go through many misfortunes and want God to intervene and fight their physical affliction. Sometime Christian are overwhelmed by the affliction which are afflicted to the by the enemy. The people who are around us when they attempt to help are unable because of the nature of the problem. They are willing but are unable just like the case of Pumba and Timon they are eager to help however their effort are thwarted by the strength of the hyenas. This also applies to the league of nation they were willing to help the Jews but were unable to because of the strength of Hitler army which consisted of many Germans (Berry, 189).
Also the same applies to the locals of the pride kingdom they re unhappy with the reign of Scar. However, the hyenas are the sanction which Scar uses over these locals to subjects them to his greedy reign. The locals are unhappy however, they are like the league of nation against the mighty Hitler army.
The Christianity faith symbolism is best portrayed by Mufasa when he explains to Simba how the ancient kings always watches over the reigning king. This Mufasa does while looking toward the sky, biblically that expression exemplify that looking sky ward means looking at heaven where righteous kings dwells. The tern ancient king is used in the Christian doctrines to depict the Lord. Thus this symbolizes some sense of having faith on unknown and unseen righteous spirits. Also on the same Christianity doctrines it is articulated that having faith and believing in the unknown and unseen righteous spirits is same as believing in the Lord (Thomas, 149). This is so because Simba believes that his father spirit is within him and that his father spirit is righteous. When Simba father reappears to him in from of an angle in a spirit form, this is also as it is explained in the bible. This shows that only righteous people are able to return in spirit to assist those left behind in performing good deeds. Musafa represent the Holy Spirit as in the bible so document that the Holy Spirit shall come fill the righteous that have faith and are filled in spirit.
The symbolism of angle is bets detailed in the movie when Mufasa appears in the clouds to offer guidance to Simba. The Christianity doctrine the Holy bible articulates that the ancient’s prophets used to communicate with God through angles. Angle Gabriel is mostly mentioned in the bible as reappearing to the prophet to give them hope and encouragement and message from God. This is also the case when Mufasa appears to his son to offer advice. From the film Mufasa had told Simba that ancient kings would sermon righteousness and wisdom upon an existing king. This was done when Mufasa was looking skyward like addressing the heaven as the skyward direction is depicted to be heaven in the Christian bible as noted by Schickel and Dee, 177). Thus this symbolism symbolizes that Mufasa after death joined the righteousness and then is allowed to appear to his son and give cryptic advice. Some of the advice reappears in dreams. The Christians believe that some dreams have deep meaning and like the story of Joseph whom the brother called a dreamer as he was dreaming of occurrence and testifying to them.
This story documented in the bible later elucidate that dreams are interpreted and have meaning. The dream in The Lion King by samba also resembles the ones which Joseph had before being sold to Egypt. The angel symbolism is bets exemplified by the fact that Mufasa descends from white clouds every time he appears to Simba. White clouds in the bible symbolize serenity and blissful peace which only resembles that from the Holy Spirit. Christianity values the color white and associates it with peace, holiness and cleanliness. This is usually associated with the righteousness as when in the mount of olive Jesus met with two prophets while praying. The bible articulates that his clothing’s changed and become pure white as exemplified by Healea (p, 199). The disciples whom experienced this saw a white cloud ascend from heaven. This can also be seen in the movie when Mufas appears to offer guidance to his son Simba. He ascends from above in a white cloud and consoles his son as the bible so attest concerni8ng Jesus and the prophets.
Biblical Stories Symbolism
One of the main stories which have been associated with this film is the story of Joseph. This is detailed from the facts such as Simba is chased away from his homeland to another land where he gain influence and is treated as king. The bible story of Joseph, he is sold off to Egypt by his brother after a debate of leaving him in a dry well. While in Egypt he gains the confidence of the Pharaoh and is placed in charge of food supply which later he saves his family from famine. The Lion King Simba is chased away from his homeland by his blood uncle. He goes to a foreign land where he makes friends and later returns to save his homeland from starvation which is the result of bad reign by his uncle. Simba redeems the pride kingdom the barren land gains fertility and sprouts forth produce essential to sustain the locals. This implies to the action of Joseph literally which saved the Israelites from starvation (Kjos, 2001).
In other story which also is from the same line of family of Joseph is the story of Moses and how he redeemed Israelites from the cruel hands of Egyptians. Moses also underwent the same affliction which Simba after his birth underwent as noted by Challies (p, 254). Moses was born when Israelites were under the oppression of the Egyptians and was put in basket in a pond. Later he was taken refuge by an Egyptian Princess whom took him inn and brought him up as her son in the royal court of Pharaoh. Simba is also found nearly dying by Tumba and Timon and they nurse him to health. This symbolizes the journey that Moses took to be an Egyptian prince when he was an Israelite. Later he was disowned by his own people as this is how Simba is disowned by his blood uncle. Moses leaves Egypt and travels far away land and where he is taken refuge by well wishers. This is also depicted when Timon and pumba take Simba refuge to their place of existence. Later Moses would return and redeem Israelites from the cruel hands of the Egyptians. This also is documented in the movie when Simba return and redeems pride kingdom from the cruel reign of Scar. The film symbolizes these two biblical contexts on the essence that good will always prevail over evil (Berry, 198).
Christian Critics of the Film
Although Walt Disney has been classified as one of the family film production house, the movie The Lion King did not go without criticism from the Christian faithful. According to Shull (p, 231) when Simba attempts to contacts a familiar spirit so that he may communicate with his dead father, this is not accepted by the Christian faithful. The faithful articulates that the bible does not allow people to communicate with familiar spirits as they are representation of the devil. Further more critics also said the movie has some explicit contents containing adult language. There is a scene which have been debated that when Simba meets Nala a childhood girlfriend and goes and lies by the cliff in the night the dust emanating from this process rises and displays the word “sex”. This has been debated and Christian critics were eager to file a lawsuit which was rejected due to lack of substantial evidence. This later prompted a remake of the movie and the dust reedited and the dust formation replaced with just slight dust. Also animal’s activist cried foul over the portrayal of hyena being evil. Majority of the hyena biologist articulated that this portrayal was not right and should be changed. This was later converted to the ascent which the hyenas were casted with one that of Africa America and Latin America. The critics assumed that the idea was to show that African and Latin American are greedy, stupid and gluttons (Glickman, 177). This was later turned into a racial debate which was only considered bias and later several changes were made on the film to remove these controversies.
Many of the animated children films which re produced by Walt Disney, on the surface appears to be just simple childish stories. However, analyst have derived at that there are numerous messages, moral teaching and symbolism which are fostered by this films. Mostly majority of the Walt Disney have Christian symbolism like “The lion King” which depicts the biblical stories of Moses and Joseph. A closer analysis of this film would reveal that these parallels are true to the biblical story of both Moses and Joseph. This also features other symbolism concerned with Christianity tales like the Jews holocaust in Germany. Majority of the symbolism in this film are Christian based and have essential moral teaching which regulates the well being of the child.