Disney’s classic animated film The Lion King, produced in 1994, left one of the biggest impressions among the animation industry as well as audiences all over the world with it’s memorable characters, “Hamlet-like” story, and catchy soundtrack to last for quite some time. The film itself has been a source of inspiration and influence among other forms of media such as websites, fan videos, and games. The attention that was obtained from the film led to the motivation of the studio to further appeal to their audience. Multiple websites have been made to produce bonus features that support the film as well as provide a more interactive experience for the audience that the film may not have thoroughly addressed; such as detailed descriptions of characters, additional information about the story, and mini-games for those that are interested in going “beyond” the movie for more enjoyment.
Due to the widespread success of the film and the Disney studio as a whole; added collaborations with other well-known companies such as Square Enix, Playstation and Nintendo, have greatly supported them in their production of their works as additional business partners/sellers. These companies have worked together to create games that have been well-received as a service towards fans and as a benefit for marketing purposes. An example of this is the Kingdom Hearts series in which the use of most Disney films were crossed-over to a rpg for all ages by the Japanese game production company.
The Kingdom Hearts series have widely adapted to the concept of “world building” as explained by Jenkins, ”…the idea of transmedia storytelling is generally defined today as storytelling across multiple platforms. With multiple platforms to tell a story, creators are able to a rich and detailed world through a process called “worldbuilding.” (Jenkins, “Transmedia Storytelling 101,”) As the player takes part in the role of a character within the world presented originally in The Lion King (known as the “Pride Land”), it allows the player to become more immersed to take part in the story as well as interact with the characters and setting from the film.
The Lion King Game for Super Nintendo Simba and Sora from Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts II from Square Enix
The film’s success also lead to the production of two additional films, The Lion King 1/2 and The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, in which would continue or add to the original story as a sequel of sorts. The Lion King 1/2 is a good example of the multiform stories presented by Murray in her book in which she defines it as the “reflections of different points of view of the same event.” (Murray, pg. 36, 37) The Lion King 1/2 provided that very aspect in which it was a recollection of the events that took place in the first film in the varying perspectives of the supporting characters; Timon and Pumba. “Multiform narrative attempts to give a simultaneous form to these possibilities, to allow us to hold in our minds at the same time multiple contradictory alternatives.” (Murray, pg. 37, 38)
To each of these types of media, the value of the movie continues to make impressions to audiences of different generations today.
Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Web log post. Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web.
Murray, Janet Horowitz. “Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: The Free Press, A Division of Simon and Schuster Inc. 1997. Print.