If you are a kid of the 80’s and 90’s there’s no doubt that The Lion King holds a special place in your heart. The movie was on repeat in our home, and you or your friends may have watched it over and over just to hear your first crush (JTT) voice Simba. You can put on the 1994 “classic” and still say the movie line for line, and sing along with all of the songs – probably to the point you may annoy the rest of your family. But it was one of the first movies we connected with – and one that will always hold that special place in our hearts.
While others look for what he can take, a true king gives backMufasa
Now, Disney is releasing the new “live action” version of The Lion King and we have all collectively held our breaths waiting to see what they are doing to the movie we love. At the heart of it, it’s a very basic version of Hamlet, but it still makes us tears up years later.
So here we are, 25 years later, and The Lion King is back in theaters. And is it everything that we hoped for? Or should we just grab our clamshell VHS and make our blanket fort and hide?
What Fans Are Going to Love
The new live action version of the Lion King, isn’t really live action. No, they aren’t training animals to talk (Disney magic isn’t quite there… yet). And this may be the biggest complaint about the movie before it’s even released. But the technology we have today, compared to the animation style in the 90’s has grown in leaps and bounds. That gives us a stunning movie, with photorealistic animals taking the lead. We are more than thrilled to see animals responding how animals would, and in a beautifully designed natural habitat.
We have an imminent threat – oh hold on that’s my shadow.Zazu
Don’t worry about your favorite songs – they’re still there, even if they are altered a little bit. Some of the lines didn’t age well with time and they have been amended. But then a few others have been altered a bit more to show the times and better source material.
The characters have been cast well, and you can expect James Earl Jones to reprise his role of Mufasa. His booming voice is a welcome reminder back to the original, although times doesn’t seem to have the same gravitas as in the original. The supporting characters are part of what made the original what we loved, and that still holds true in the new version. John Oliver is almost a flawless Zazu, and we actually can’t wait to see what he says on his show about it when the movie opens on the 19th.
What Fans May Have Issues With
One of the biggest critiques on Disney’s current path of “Live Action” movies, is they are taking all of the movies from our childhood and remaking them. With their upcoming Mulan, the complaint seems to be that they aren’t sticking close enough to the cartoon version. And others, like Aladdin, the complaint is it is too close to the original. So where does The Lion King fit into this mix?
Surprisingly (or not, depending on where you fall in the argument), The Lion King actually follows the cartoon version too closely. the movie is almost shot for shot the same for the bulk of it, and the script is the same as well. There are some, minor moderations to the lines, but in general, the story is unchanged.
He’s telling me what to do. His father’s strength flickering inside. I wonder how bravery will taste.– Shenzi
Disney does take advantage of the animation quite a bit, and what were quick segways in the cartoon version have turned into longer scenes that seem to bloat the movie a bit. The original cartoon clocks in at 89 minutes, and the new version is 118 minutes. There are some scenes that seem too long, unnecessary and just there to fill time. While they are all stunning and beautifully animated, we wonder if they really add to the story at all.
The questions is who. Everybody is somebody, even a nobody.Rafiki
Those musical numbers we all still love? Yes, they are there, but seeing the photorealistic animals sing them seemed a bit… off. And when some of the other animals join in the song, they all join together in an almost choreographed music video feel – which seemed out of place all together.
Fans of the original Lion King will most likely want to see the new version in theaters, but Be Prepared for it to be a long haul to sit through. Even with the beautiful graphics, and the way too familiar story – we still left wondering if this remake was really needed. The Lion King is in theaters everywhere on July 19th, so we encourage you to check it out and let us know what you think!
ABOUT THE MOVIE:
From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way, “The Lion King” roars into theaters on July 19, 2019.