Note: This was originally posted to alt.fan.lion-king so any references to "this newsgroup" refer to it.

The effect of The Lion King

Let me start by saying this is NOT a fictional story. This is a true story about myself. A short biography if you want. Although it is long, please read it anyway. Any comments on this are appreciated and encouraged. It deals with my experiences with The Lion King and I want to make them known to everyone.

I am writing this here as I feel this newsgroup contains the only people who can appreciate my feelings. My friends and parents don't.

I'll start by saying my name is Jason Ahrens and I am currently twenty years old. I live in Ontario, Canada and am in my final year of high school, planning to attend university next year. With the basics out of the way now, lets move on to the important part of this.

I guess is all began in November of 1993 and I was eighteen at the time. Technically it could go back further, but only for the picky. A group of friends and I went to see Mrs. Doubtfire. Before the movie started, they had a preview of The Lion King which consisted of the entire Circle of Life opening. During this sequence, multiple time it gave me goose-bumps. This is something that happens when something is so well done, to me anyway, that I cannot describe it in words. At most any one given piece of art (used in a very general way, to include all art forms) can get the reaction once during the entire playing/showing/etc... The Circle of Life opening did it to me no less than THREE times. I should have taken the hint from that, but I didn't. That was my first encounter with The Lion King, which I dismissed as just "another Disney movie."

Near the end of the semester, The Lion King came out in theaters. I was now 19 and still worried about a reputation (for some stupid reason). A friend of mine went to see it, and described it as "good." All in all, not enough to get me into a theater to see it, still thinking of it as another Disney movie.

In November of 1994 (one year after I first heard of it) it was re-released into theaters. I should have again taken the hint that it was in theaters one year after I heard about it, being significant, but again I didn't. This time I figured that the little kids really liked it and they figured that this will make them another load of money. I have since come to regard it as one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

Shortly thereafter I noticed the Rhythm of the Pride Lands CD on sale in a music shop. Still having not seen the movie I thought that this was getting out of hand, and they were really digging for money now. I didn't buy the CD at the time, but have since rectified that mistake.

March break 1995 came along. Again a significant month, as I believe that The Lion King was first released into theaters of March 1994. I was visiting my dad and my step sister had bought a copy of The Lion King on video. Someone asked if I wanted to see it and I said "Sure, I've been meaning to watch it." If I only knew...

Well, the movie was put in the machine. I got comfortable on the floor (a habit I've had since I was 5 or 6) and the crickets started chirping and a lion roared. I barely moved a muscle for the entire movie. I was on an emotional roller coaster for the whole show. From Simba's presentation to the elephant graveyard. From Mufasa playing with Simba under the stars to Mufasa's death. From Simba with Timon and Pumbaa to when Nala showed up (for a very definite reason elaborated later). From Simba returning to Scar's confession, and finally to the presentation of Simba's child.

I related very well to the movie. Much in the movie I had also done. I wasn't held over a cliff above throngs of animals when I was born (I don't think) but much of the rest is parallel. Playing with father, camping under the stars with friends (although mine are named Alex and Maurice), and some others.

Many people find it odd that the Can You Feel the Love Tonight sequence affected me so much. This is quite easy to explain. I had been living the same sort of thing in my life at the time. Both of my best friends had found girlfriends, leaving me alone. Timon saying "I can see what's happening, and they don't have a clue" really struck me hard as I realized my friends didn't have a clue that they were alienating me so much. Perhaps this explains a lot about what happened after as well.

The movie ended. My dad said "That was good" and we all agreed. I went to bed that night, a little depressed from the movie, but nothing I hadn't experienced from some other movies. I didn't realize what had begun that night, how my life had changed in that hour and a half.

I woke up the next morning, and the world had been radically altered. I went into a deep depression that lasted for weeks. I only watched the movie once more during that break, but had many other attempts aborted as people walked in. I was still worried about seeming to like it too much. On several occasions I had considered seeking help for being so affected by a children's movie (I still hadn't realized it was so much more.)

After march break I borrowed the soundtrack from a friend, and made a copy for myself. Mine was a copy of a copy though so you can imagine how it turned out. I then rectified two mistakes I had made over the last year. I bought The Lion King soundtrack and Rhythm of the Pride Lands CD. A couple of weeks later I corrected another mistake by buying The Lion King on video. The only mistake left was not seeing the movie in theaters, which I have not yet had another chance to correct.

Shortly after this, I got my internet account. Floating around the internet (I'm still too new to consider myself 'surfing' the net) I found multiple pages of Lion King stuff. I actually only found this newsgroup a week ago. My depression, however, persisted for no reason I could fathom.

In an odd turn of events my depression lifted finally. I was home alone one evening and I decided to watch the best movie ever made yet again. This seemed my only release from my depression, although it was always worse after, almost like a narcotic. I watched the movie and, as expected, felt even worse after it was finished. I noticed it was late and my dog was calling for his walk so I took him. While walking I was watching the stars, or at least what I could see in a city. On our way home, everything just seemed to get much better. For no reason I could discern, and still have not, my depression finally lifted.

Since then I have not been ashamed or feared ridicule to say that, IMHO The Lion King is the best movie ever made and, if you have a problem with that you can take a flying leap off the CN Tower (for those who don't know, the CN Tower is the tallest man made freestanding structure in the world, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada).

Of course being a high school student wanting to go to university next year, I can't afford much of the collectibles to show my devotion. Then again I have my voice, and that is enough.

Please comment on this however you wish. I am interested on what people think of my experience with The Lion King.

Although this may sound egotistical, it really isn't. I have noticed on many home pages peoples' feelings about the movie. I do not have my own home page so I'm posting this here. If you want to put this on your WWW page, please do so. I only ask that I be informed so I can come and check it out.

Thanks for reading this far. It actually feels good to be telling this to people who understand what I've gone through. As already stated, I feel alone here as none of my friends, parents, brothers or sisters seems to understand what a profound impact this movie has had on my life.

Jason Ahrens
June 24/1995

ONE YEAR LATER:

This section was written exactly one year after the original.

In the past year, I have had much happen to me. My post to alt.fan.lion-king was very well received (to say the least) and I made many good friends on the internet. I left home for university (going to the University of Waterloo) for Computer Science, and am currently frying my brain most of the time. The newsgroup is not near as active as it used to be, but the mailing list that was established has, for the most part, completely replaced it. This I note with mixed feelings for various reasons, not the least of which is one of visibility. The fall term of 1995 was one of the best times of my life, in which I met some very good friends, one of whom is now my best friend and mosh.

I had a co-op term in the Canadian government developing a program for them in the winter of 1995-96. During the term I had some big downs and ups. When the anniversary for my TLK viewing (March 4th) came along, I watched it again. On this viewing I saw it on my laser disk for the first time, and met a truly wonderful person at the same time. My life for the past four months, overall, has been the best I can remember. All of this has been made possible by The Lion King, as if I had not seen that movie I would not have met many of the people I now call good, great, and best friends.

Among all of this, I am still finding my "place on the path unwinding" and learning where I fit into this thing called the Circle of Life.

Jason Ahrens
June 24/1996
kovu at lionking point org


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