Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable
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|Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable|
|Area||The Land pavilion|
|Opening date||January 21, 1995|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Audience capacity||428 per show|
Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable is a 70 mm film shown in the Harvest Theater in The Land pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. It opened on January 21, 1995 replacing Symbiosis. Compared to its predecessor, Circle of Life is more an edutainment attraction and more kid-friendly.
In the film Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King are chopping down trees and clogging up rivers to build the Hakuna Matata Lakeside Village. Simba comes to them and explains how their actions are harmful to nature. This lesson is explained with live-action footage, some left over from Symbiosis (with clips of people such as Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Masai, clips of New York City and other locations such as the Amazon Rainforest, Serengeti, Andes, Las Vegas, Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, and images of animals such as monkeys, bald eagles, snakes, elephants and wildebeest). In addition to the documentary live-action footage, the film features about two-and-a-half minutes of new animation featuring the characters from The Lion King that was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation.
WDWNT the Magazine Issue explained "The incredibly boring Symbiosis film would be replaced in 1995 with Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable. Footage was recycled from Symbiosis into the new film, but by adding animated sequences and a character-driven narrative to the film (inspired by The Lion King)", adding "The 1990s were a decade in which conservation became a hot-button topic, and Circle of Life was there to keep Epcot’s finger on the pulse, so much so that the film holds up quite well and covers environmental issues still facing us 17 years later. "
The film opens with Mufasa's voice saying that each and every one of us is connected in the great circle of life. After that comes a montage of animals and some clips left over from the previous attraction, Symbiosis, to the song Circle of Life. The main story focuses on Simba. Simba, now king of the Pride Lands sees Timon and Pumbaa clogging up rivers to build a non-ecological resort called Hakuna Matata Lakeside Village. Simba shows them that other creatures nearby need water as well, but Timon and Pumbaa see their plan as compensation. Simba decides to show them how another creature (man) is similarly forgetting how each and every one of us is connected in the great circle of life. He explains to them that at first, their amounts were small, so they only took what they needed to survive, which at that time wasn't much. However, as human population increased, necessities for living space, power, and food in turn increased. Timon and Pumbaa are initially excited by man's developments, but Simba shows them the price that came with the humans' necessities. He explains that humans have also caused harm to the environment with their excessive needs through activity such as deforestation, endangerment of species, and pollution. He says that once humans realized what they were destroying, they began to repair the damages through recycling, alternative energy sources, and conservation programs. He explains that humans have also helped other creatures in nature by studying them to learn their needs. Touched, Timon and Pumbaa decide to help the humans give back to nature, but Simba shows them that they already can at home. Timon and Pumbaa unclog the rivers, thus giving the water back to the other creatures on the savannah. The film ends with Simba's mighty roar and a shorter montage to the end of the title song.
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa
- Cam Clarke as Simba
- Nathan Lane as Timon
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
- Carmen Twillie as Circle of Life singer