What is the formalism of the First Movie or Story for The Lion King?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Formalism "refers to critical approaches that analyze, interpret, or evaluate the inherent features of a text...reduces the importance of a text's historical, biographical, and cultural context."

With this in mind, I would venture that with The Lion King, the main point would be to analyze the piece without paying especially close attention to its historical and cultural context.  This would mean that less importance would be shown to the story's parallel to Shakespeare's classic, Hamlet, and that we would look to the story's message, rather than the cultural context in which the story is conveyed to us, as well as the nuances of music and visual art.

With this in mind, I would surmise that the themes of love, betrayal and redemption are central to understanding the story overall.

On a basic level, different kinds of love are examined: not only romantic love, but also familial love, and the enduring bond between friends.

Secondly, the idea of betrayal is central to the story, especially betrayal from an unexpected source: from the "bosom" of the family which makes the betrayal much more "criminal," when those tied to us by blood are blinded by the need for power and are willing to sacrifice the sacred bond of family to further one's own personal goals.

The third piece would be that of redemption. In light of not living up to the expectations of those who trust and love us, or failing to assume responsibility that comes to us in whatever form, redemption is a necessary piece to placing past mistakes and attacks behind, coming to terms with the reality of a situation, and looking to those we have failed to serve in some way, for forgiveness.  Redemption provides the individual with the ability to move forward in a positive, productive direction.