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Awesome / The Lion King

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The film
  • The Lion King in 3D!
    • It's exactly as amazing as it sounds. Actually, probably more amazing than it sounds.
      • One thing that made it so cool was the amount of scenes with something coming at the screen...with teeth bared. Through flames...
    • Perhaps as a testament to the popularity of the film, it outgrossed every competing film two weeks in a row and is the highest grossing re-release since the original Star Wars was re-released in 1997. In fact, Lion King was grossing so much that theaters decided to extend the limited release, even after ads for the home video re-release started airing.
  • Rafiki going Screaming Mandrill Fu on some hyenas, complete with Offhand Backhand. Including two Hyenas that are behind him.
  • Rafiki gets an earlier and subtle one - he's a shaman, after all, and had to have been rolling the bones for quite some time after Scar took over. He no doubt got all kinds of confusing signs, since of course Simba was dead... everyone knew this. But then one day, the tea leaves tell him - in no uncertain terms - Simba's alive and grown up. All of those previous confusing signs suddenly make sense, and he realizes Simba is alive.
  • Mufasa leaping out of a stampede to climb a sheer cliff after saving Simba.
    • The fact that Mufasa saved Simba successfully. He went into the fray, got hit by a wildebeest and kept going, caught Simba in midair, weaved back through trouble, and brought Simba to safety. Meanwhile, Simba avoided being trampled several times. The contemporary equivalent is doing the same on a busy highway or freeway, if wildebeest can be compared to cars. Mufasa and Simba are both downright valiant, as you can see.
    • The hyenas in the scene, too, for singlehandedly scaring an entire herd.
  • Pumbaa has a moment that makes him terrifying, and it culminates in: "THEY CALL ME MR. PIG! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!" in a moment that's half CMOA and half CMOF.
  • The battle between the lionesses and the hyenas. No words, no quips from anybody but the comic relief characters. If it wasn't for the comic relief characters, it would've been a straight up bloodbath between two eternal, natural enemies and is nevertheless one of Disney's best, most brutal battles. Just teeth, claws, and roars.
    • Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu joining the battle in earnest is awesome in itself, considering they appeared to be just the old fool, the bumbling sidekicks, and the king's major dodo.
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    • A Look-And-Find book adapted the final battle for Pride Rock, and it's even more epic than the film. There are dozens more lionesses warring against the hyena hordes, who seem to be putting up a better fight than in the film. And there are also several random animals who have joined the fray, including a hippo, a rhino, a wildebeest, and a leopard.
  • When Simba has Scar cornered after learning the truth about what happened during the stampede:
    Scar: What are you going to do? You wouldn't kill your own uncle!
    Simba: No, Scar. I'm not like you.

  • Even if he's the villain, the fact that Scar's plan actually succeeds is a pretty awesome achievement on his part, and grants him the status of one of the most successful, if not the most successful Disney villain. It's likely one of the reasons for his sizable fanbase.

  • For that matter, the opening sequence, "Circle of Life" is a Moment of Awesome for the bloody movie. If one character had to be placed as MOA recipient, it has to be Rafiki, but that whole sequence is just breathtaking. Disney's first trailer for this film was no more than this sequence.

  • "The pressures of ruling a kingdom—" "—are no longer yours. Step down, Scar."
    • Strangely, this scene can also be a crowning moment for Scar; after his initial shock (where he thinks Simba is Mufasa returned,) he recovers his composure extremely quickly, manages to Hannibal Lecture Simba off a cliff, and actually gets into a position where he can kill Simba and the lionesses are too stunned by the revelation Scar brought to light to react. If he hadn't suddenly grasped the Villain Ball with his Evil Gloating (or if Simba didn't manage to hoist himself back up the cliff) he could well have turned Simba's entire awesome return into a Shoot the Shaggy Dog and killed him there. Scar is not only one of the very few Disney villains to actually accomplish his goal of becoming king, he manages to Xanatos Speed Chess his way to a Near-Villain Victory even after the Rightful King Returns. But it's such an impressive victory for Scar that all he needed was just a few minutes of talking and he would've won entirely, no blood shed whatsoever.
    • The moment leading to this is pretty impressive. After a heated argument with Sarabi, Scar snaps and smacks her to the ground for mentioning the name of his brother. Straight afterwards, he notices a very angry looking Simba on an above ledge. As he leaps in front of him, Scar is naturally ready to shit himself.

  • And the bit when Scar confesses the truth during his Evil Gloating, galvanizing Simba to turn the tables and pin him down:
    Simba: Murderer!!
    Scar: No, Simba, please!
    Simba: Tell them the truth!!
    Scar: Truth? But truth is in the eye of the behol— (is cut off by being choked) All right...all right! (softly) I...did it.
    Simba: So they can hear you.
    Scar: I killed Mufasa.
    • Upon hearing this, Sarabi and the lionesses react with fury and attempt to attack Scar.
  • The fight between Simba and Scar, complete with a majestic version of the music that plays when Mufasa shows Simba the kingdom (which is only included on the Legacy Collection soundtrack; it's at a slower tempo, but awesome all the same). Just as importantly, it clearly shows that Simba fights in a distinctive way from his father, in a cooler, more cerebral way.
    • To put this scene in perspective. You have two lions battling each other for the Crown, atop of a fiery mountain while lightning blazes in the background.
    • There's a reason it's the trope image for Battle Amongst the Flames.
    • "Run. Run away, Scar. And never return."
    • After all the cruel, wicked, Manipulative Bastard actions Scar took throughout the movie (especially the way he played on Simba's insecurities in the gorge), there is nothing quite so satisfying as this scene. Just watching Simba lay into his treacherous uncle, holding nothing back and finally ready to kill him, which provided instant catharsis (many theaters erupted in cheers at this moment).
      • Scar actually makes it a challenge too, performing an I Surrender, Suckers before throwing charred dust into Simba's face, cueing a slow motion trade of swipes that Scar nearly wins before Simba knocks him off the perch. No matter how insane he was, Scar really wanted to keep his throne.
        Simba: "RUN. Run away Scar, and NEVER return."
        Scar: [feigning surrender] Yes. Of course. As you wish...[with as much venom and hate as he can muster] YOUR MAJESTY! [Scar flings hot ash at Simba's eyes]
      • Bonus points for that being more or less how real lions fight in the wild.note 
  • Mufasa's head appearing in the clouds to give Simba confidence.
  • Bowling for Hyenas.
  • Mufasa telling the hyenas in no uncertain terms that if they mess with his kid again, he will end them (also comes with a little bit of a Funny Moment). His perfectly timed arrival: Simba tries to scare the hyenas off with a roar, but it's a "rather uninspiring thing". The hyenas smirk and dare him to give it another crack. He takes another deep breath-and what seems to come out is the thunder of a very angry adult lion. The hyenas have just enough time to Oh, Crap! before Mufasa's Big Damn Heroes arrival is clear.
    • Not a minute earlier, Simba saw Nala slipping down the cliff, the hyenas about to catch her. He races to save her, with Shenzi about to make a meal of Nala... only for Simba to slash right through her cheek. And judging by her growl, he truly angered her.
    • It's a small one, but when the hyenas corner the cubs, Simba pushes Nala against the wall and plants himself protectively in front of her.
    • Also, in the same scene, when Mufasa attacks the hyenas, there's a brief moment of Shenzi growling and biting him, whilst Ed and Banzai are tossed around like bricks. There's a reason she's their leader.
    • In a subtle, but notable moment, after the hyenas leave, Zazu flies over to Mufasa and nods at him. Mufasa promptly shoots a glare at the bird that causes him to raise his wings out defensively. Mufasa makes it very clear nonverbally that Zazu is not getting out of this unscathed, indicating that while he is mostly disappointed in Simba, Zazu should have been able to prevent them from getting anywhere near the Elephant Graveyard.
  • Also, Simba's mother Sarabi gains one when she coldly and proudly walks down the hyena gauntlet, and even their attempt to attack her by snapping at her haunch doesn't scare her one bit. The hyenas and Scar were proven that she was not there as eye candy for the King.
    • Another one for Sarabi. She's not even a second behind Nala in leaping into the fray when it's revealed that Scar killed off Mufasa, and she was very pissed off.
  • The hyenas smirking and daring Simba to give it another crack.
  • The animation in the stampede. For one thing it marked a milestone in animated film-making as the first time computer generated animation was used heavily across a sequence. But more than that, the technical side isn't what people remember about the scene: all they remember is the incredible emotion it's imbued with.
  • "Be Prepared" is one of the most winning Villain Songs of all time.
  • The fact that the beginning and ending of the movie was pretty much the same. Rafiki holding up the new cub, animals rejoicing, the proud father and mother...

  • Real-life example: Jim Cummings doing a perfect impersonation of Jeremy Irons towards the end of "Be Prepared" (everything after "YOU WON'T GET A SNIFF WITHOUT ME!"). You would never know the difference.
    • It's one for Jeremy Irons too. After all, not many people (if any) can shout so loudly that they tear their voicebox in the process.
  • Nala travelling across a desert on the small chance that she might be able to find food. Bear in mind that she's starving, and has been suffering under Scar's tyrannical rule for years. That took guts. Or maybe suicidal depression. But it was still epic, even if Simba later repeated the feat.
    • Simba's recognizing her, and them reuniting.
    • Though Simba did not win, he managed to put up a much better fight than the first two times. His arrival on the scene actually got Nala to pause for a moment and get a shocked look at his sudden arrival as he lunged at her, even if only for a moment, and he actually managed to briefly pin her by fiercely pouncing on her before she started to fight back and break free. Also, it is important to remember that this is Simba's first real fight, instead of playful wrestling like he and Nala did as kids, and unlike Nala, who has spent a majority of her life hunting and trying to survive under a tyrant's rule, he has been lazing around and snacking with his friends, meaning he managed to fight evenly against a trained huntress and actually managed to startle her and knock her down. So in Simba's first real fight, despite facing against a more experienced enemy with more experience, he still managed to fight evenly for the most part despite the gap and almost win. It is also clear that Nala is taking the fight seriously herself. When they were cubs she could handle Simba easily while hardly even trying, laughing and teasing him the whole time, but now he is pushing her to her limit, giving everything she has just to keep things even.
  • On a related note to the above point, the epic-ness of Simba repeating the feat is emphasized not only by more of the always awesome African chanting but also by having him appear as a slow-motion overlay, with his tiny form in the background to show the true vastness of the desert, a shot so memorable it became the cover art for Rhythm of the Pride Lands.
  • Its massive success (both critically and financially) is a Crowning Moment Of Awesome considering that Disney just thought it would be a "filler" movie while they worked on Pocahontas, which they expected to be the smash hit. We all know how that turned out.
    • Take a look at the list of highest-grossing animated films. From thirty onwards, all the films were made in the naughties except for The Lion King. And it sits at number nine as of 2019. For a traditionally animated movie made in the nineties, that is really impressive.
      • And then you realize that it held the top spot for sixteen years. And it is still the #1 traditionally-animated movie of all time.
      • And assuming traditional animation never makes a comeback, it always will be.
  • A fairly subtle one, but when the hyenas surrond Simba, Nala and Zazu, Zazu doesn't fly away until the hyenas are distracted and the cubs get away. He's quite brave considering he's the comic relief.
  • While on the subject of comic relief, Ed gets a big one as only he has the guts to be honest to Mufasa when Mufasa pins him and the others.
  • Ed gets another one later on when he alone stays outside the cave while Timon and Pumbaa scare away Banzai and Shenzi.
  • Nala gets several moments throughout the film, and by extension throughout her whole life:
    • She has always beaten Simba when they fight. The first two times were as cubs, where she easily counters Simba's attempts to pounce her by flipping him over, pinning him, and rubbing it in his face with her famous "pinned ya" taunt. The second time was even better because Simba, being a bit of a Sore Loser, tried getting her while she was distracted but sent them both rolling down a hill. While Simba is shown scared and struggling to stay on top of Nala, Nala's just laughing and having a blast and once again pins Simba as they come to a stop; the smug tone in her voice and smirk she has afterwards is well earned. Also, this all happened when she and Simba were arguing over whose idea of escaping Zazu it was, when Simba tried to take full credit by calling himself a genius. Simba might have been her best friend and prince at the time, but Nala was not going to stand being overlooked and was smart enough and strong enough to do something about it. Then years later, she and Simba end up in a serious fight as adults, although Simba puts up a much better fight this time Nala still pins him the same way as the first two times, and growls at him as she holds him down. She could have possibly killed him if he didn't recognize her. The only time she has ever lost to Simba was during their Falling-in-Love Montage when Simba and her stumble down a hill together and he just happens to finally land on top of her, pinning her.
    • She suffered most of her life under Scar's rule but still managed to survive into her adulthood and become a good hunter and fighter. She even crosses the same desert that Simba barely survived when he was a cub just for a chance of finding more food.
    • It is heavily implied that during the Final Battle she was helping fight hyenas while pregnant with Kiara, making her a Pregnant Badass.
  • The hyena trio gets an infamous one later on, when Scar turns to them for help after trying to blame them for everything.
    Scar: Ah, my friends.
    Shenzi: Friends?? I thought he said we were the enemy??
    Banzai: (as Scar gets an Oh, Crap! expression) Yeah, that's what I heard.
    • This moment proves that Ed isn't just the comic relief hyena with no chance at being intimidating, especially with his sinister chuckle, which is very much the death knell for Scar.
    • And in the moment as the hyenas reveal they heard Scar try to betray them ... the utter look of shock and terror on his face as he knows he is about to face brutal defeat, and the hyenas closing in and blocking all avenues of escape. The hyenas then pounce on Scar and tear him apart as the fire prevents you from seeing anything more. We only see it in shadow but for a Disney movie that takes balls.
  • After living in exile since being a kid, a grown Simba finally overcomes his guilt for his role in his father's death and returns to the Pride Lands. After discovering that it was actually Scar who was responsible all along, he removes Scar from power and takes his rightful place as king. He makes his majestic final ascent of Pride Rock, in the rain, accompanied by Hans Zimmer's "King of Pride Rock". As he stands at the peak with lingering uncertainty over his new rule, he hears the voice of his father one more time: "Remember." Smiling with new confidence, Simba issues a proud roar that echoes across the land. It's more than just a MOA for the movie; it's a MOA for Disney Animated Canon in general.
    • As well as the lionesses responding with roars of their own, while that glorious African chanting kicks in.

The stage musical

  • Most of the crowning moments from the first film are cleverly symbolically shown in the musical. A few of the results potentially upstage the film:
    • If you thought "The Circle of Life" was a Moment of Awesome for the original film version of The Lion King, just wait until you see it live.
      • They found a way to have several actors appear from the crowds holding props that, together, materialized a full-scale African elephant which walked convincingly onto the stage! It always gets applause. Julie Taymor remembers this as one of the crowning achievements.
    • The Wildebeest stampede is completely on-stage, using a combination of a projected background of Afro-styled art depictions of them, along with a full group of costumes and some clever use of the rotating sets. Audiences usually can't help but applaud after the sequence ends despite the fact that Mufasa has just died.
    • The use of full-human actors with distinctive facepaint for the lions allows fight scenes to be very distinctive.
    • When Mufasa appears in the clouds to give Simba confidence, Mufasa's face is a gigantic prop that manages to shimmer into place from out of nowhere, larger than most of the entire sets of the show. This, accompanied by a chorus on-stage in the corners, gives the biggest chills in the show along with the Circle of Life opening.
    • The battle between Simba's friends and family against the hyenas is just as epic to behold on stage. It becomes an elaborate dance number, with a few stagehands carrying around a large tent of sorts and folding it this way and that way to portray different locations on Pride Rock. Several hyenas do flips, and Simba is seen dueling Scar with their swords well before their final confrontation. Rafiki continues to smack around the hyenas, and Pumbaa knocks one unconscious by farting in its face. Timon then finishes it off.
    • The fact that Disney pulled a film like this off on stage. When it was first suggested to put this on the stage, everyone just laughed.
  • Meta: While this is a highly personal one for Alaskan troper musical fans, this particular show was not built for two-thousand-seat facilities, nor for circular arenas - eliminating the two major performance spaces in the city (the Atwood Concert Hall and the Sullivan Arena). When local TV celebrity John Carpenter wanted to make it happen, he had to convince the city to let the show's producers massively modify the Atwood, taking out significant amounts of the sound-direction paneling to add two platforms for drum sets, taking out two columns of seats for specific moments where actors and/or gigantic costume animals ran through the aisles, and making sure that support actors could easily get up to higher levels in the audience; combined with a few precision tweaks to the show, the entire thing managed to run to two weeks of non-stop sold-out shows - a record for both that particular tour that far (this was 2009, ten years after the musical started) and for any multi-show event in Alaskan history - along with possibly one of the strongest performances the musical ever saw due to its more intimate audience.
  • Child Simba leaves during "Hakuna Matata" running offstage, and Adult Simba Tarzan swings in, singing the song calmly the entire time.
  • The song "He Lives In You".
  • The added scene where Timon nearly goes over a waterfall into a gator's snapping maw. When he gets out of said dilemma, he's acting totally casual, not even remotely shaken by what just happened, because Hakuna Matata.
  • "Shadowland", where Nala leaves the Pridelands to go and find help, after Scar has not only driven their land to ruins, but reveals he intends to marry her and have her bear his cubs. She doesn't know where she's going or if she'll succeed, but the send-off she gets from the rest of the pride (and Rafiki) is amazing.
    • "I will return!"

The live-action remake

  • The sheer fact alone that the movie is being updated in a vein similar to The Jungle Book, which was also directed by Jon Favreau.
  • Mufasa will once again be voiced by The King of Big Scary Voices - James Earl Jones himself.

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