What better way to welcome in the summer holidays than a family visit to the Little Theatre cinema in Bath to watch the new version of The Lion King
“Shh, it’s about to start.” Nowhere but the cinema does this request work with young children, but such is the magic of the anticipation and atmosphere when you sit in the near darkness waiting for the opening credits of the latest film, that everyone stops, waits and watches.
Our family’s first treat of the summer holidays was a visit to our favourite cinema in Bath, the Little Theatre, for the new CGI version of The Lion King. I’ve been visiting the Little since I was a wee nipper and it’s great to now bring my children along, bypassing the queues of the bigger cinemas, doing away with the booming volume of the multiplexes and allowing mum and dad to enjoy a beer or glass of wine with the movie.
You probably already now the plot of The Lion King – this new version follows the 1994 (yes, it’s that old!) pretty much exactly, with the story of Simba, a young lion, who is cheated out of his birthright by his evil Uncle Scar, and has to learn some valuable life lessons before he can return to claim what is his.
Along the way, there’s a wonderful selection of songs created by Tim Rice and Elton John, including ‘Circle of Life’, ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’, ‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’.
Now to be absolutely honest, I can’t ever remember seeing the original from beginning to end, but this really didn’t matter as the new version is a great piece of storytelling, given that extra depth by the amazing CGI which brings the animals to life and makes you accept the talking lions and hyenas with barely a second’s pause.
And of course, the real test of a film like this is whether mum, dad and the children all sat quietly to watch it – and this was certainly the case with The Lion King. Chilling out in the Little Theatre’s very comfy seats, we watched every second of the action without fuss from the children. Yes, there are a couple of scary parts – of course there are, that’s part of the fun – mixed in with comedy, those inevitable life lessons and the impossible urge to sing along with the songs.
Did we enjoy the film? Absolutely. Was it better than the original? For me, yes – and a great way to revisit a favourite and be just as entertained second time around.
It was also good to be supporting one of Bath’s classic venues, The Little Theatre. Apparently the new version of Dumbo is coming up soon, including an autism-friendly screening. Check out the website here for more details.