By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated September 16, 2011 at 07:50 PM EDT
Credit: Richard Harbaugh

Ah, the circle of life. First a Disney film is released out unto the world to run and jump and play with its paying audience, then it grows up into a strapping VHS that disappears into the vault for years at a time, then a Broadway show, a straight-to-video sequel, an IMAX re-release, a DVD, a special edition DVD, and so on, until finally it is reborn as a 3-D re-re-release. It really is beautiful when you think about it.

The Lion King is one of the early examples of the classic films slated to get an ex post facto 3-D conversion, and quite a few more are on the stereoscopic horizon, including the Star Wars films, Top Gun, My Dinner With Andre, and more. So is it worth it? Having seen the new version, the 3-D doesn’t really change all that much. However, it also not nearly as distracting as some recent post-production 3-D jobs, and other than muting the film’s brilliant color array a tad, the animated classic we know and love has come through the process unscathed. Personally, any chance to see the film back on the big screen, and for parents to be able to introduce it to their children, is all right by me. It’s this or The Smurfs, people.

The inevitable 3-D backlash has already been revving up for a while, and I’m sure some of the other conversions coming down the pike are aiming for a head-on collision with exasperated and headache-y audiences. Still, this should do pretty well, with families bringing in a whole new generation of viewers to enjoy the adventures of Kimba, er, I mean Simba. Plus, parents have the chance to tell their young ones that they can remember the days when times were really tough and people could only afford movies with two dimensions.

Yes, it’s a shameless cash-grab gimmick, but so are a lot of Hollywood movies. But most won’t have you singing “Hakuna Matata” on the way home. What about you guys? Are you going to watch The Lion King, or are you just waiting for Disney’s forthcoming Song of the South: 3-D Extravaganza!?

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