Death Motif

Death Motif

Postby jcn2017 » August 23rd, 2019, 4:32 am

Every time this motif is played in both versions, I get goosebumps. What's interesting though is aside from the scene where Simba finds Mufasa's dead body where the motif is introduced in both versions, the death theme plays during different scenes when it comes to the two versions. Also, notice how part of the theme sounds similar to Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus?
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Re: Death Motif

Postby DGFone » August 23rd, 2019, 5:07 am

While I do remember the remake using the death motif several times more than the original, and listening to the soundtrack seems to confirm it, I also can't help but feel that the remake used this motif as a story telling crutch due to the difficulty in expressing emotion with the realistic CGI. When you can't show Simba being upset, simply play it and the audience hears that they need to feel upset.

And yes, Mozart can be heard several times in The Lion King's score. Mufasa's death motif as well as the first part of the standard soundtrack's Under the Stars come to mind.

Without re-watching the original movie, I seem to recall three places where the death motif shows up: the first time after Mufasa's death when Simba finds his body, the second at the mystical pond/spring with Rafiki right before Mufasa's ghost, and pretty soon after that again right after Busa when Simba returns to his ruined home.

My favorite version is this second part at the pool, although perhaps it's also because it's my favorite scene in the whole movie (and no, I actually don't include Mufasa's ghost as part of that scene). While the remake used a rather obvious alpha-blend (IMO) to switch between Simba's reflection with that of Mufasa's, I just checked in the original and it used a much simpler trick: it cut to Simba's face to hide the switching of reflections.

This caused me to realize: Quite a number of times in the original, all we see occupying a good 75-90% of the screen is occupied by a character's face. And yet this cartoony art-style was able to show the emotions going through the character and help tell the story that way. Back to the reflection scene: We don't see the reflections change: the first cut shows to Simba, the next time we see the reflection, it's Mufasa. But between that, we see Simba reacting to him seeing the reflections change, and I think it hides the fact that the animators couldn't figure out how to swap the reflections in real-time. But we don't need to see them change: Simba's expression tells us everything.

Okay, yes the music helps a lot, but in the original it's my favorite scene. In the remake, especially with that alpha-blend... it felt rather narmy.
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Re: Death Motif

Postby Captain Cupcake » August 23rd, 2019, 5:46 am

DGFone wrote:Without re-watching the original movie, I seem to recall three places where the death motif shows up: the first time after Mufasa's death when Simba finds his body, the second at the mystical pond/spring with Rafiki right before Mufasa's ghost, and pretty soon after that again right after Busa when Simba returns to his ruined home.


The leitmotif also pops when Simba is beating himself up over his father's death after his fight with Nala, shortly before Rafiki arrives on the scene.
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Re: Death Motif

Postby jcn2017 » August 23rd, 2019, 6:17 am

Captain Cupcake wrote:
DGFone wrote:Without re-watching the original movie, I seem to recall three places where the death motif shows up: the first time after Mufasa's death when Simba finds his body, the second at the mystical pond/spring with Rafiki right before Mufasa's ghost, and pretty soon after that again right after Busa when Simba returns to his ruined home.


The leitmotif also pops when Simba is beating himself up over his father's death after his fight with Nala, shortly before Rafiki arrives on the scene.


Both of you are correct as those were the four times we hear it in the original version. In the 2019 version, the death motif is heard when Simba finds Mufasa's dead body and during the mystical pond scene just like in the original version, but it is not heard when Simba returned to Pride Rock and sees how ruined it became as we instead get the sad motif theme that is also heard when Simba steps into Mufasa's pawprint when he was in trouble for disobeying his father and putting himself and Nala in danger and again when Scar informs the rest of the pride of Mufasa and Simba's supposed death in both versions. Personally, I think the death motif makes more sense for the scene where Simba sees his home ruined, and it was especially chilling how Busa segued into this motif right when the scene changed. But in the 2019 version, the death motif is also heard during the scene where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa are looking up at the stars as well as when the rain put out the fire after Scar's death and before Simba ascended Pride Rock which wasn't the case in the original version. What I'm unsure is if the motif was played during the part where Simba shouts up to his father in heaven after his fight with Nala and before Rafiki arrived in the 2019 version as well.
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