Nothing compares to seeing the original The Lion King for the first time and then watching in awe about such a beautiful and unique story. When you look at the story of the making of The Lion King back in 1994, it was set up to fail and yet prevailed in so many different ways. The story of the making of the original The Lion King is so inspiring. And now, Disney has decided to remake this beloved classic with photoreal CGI. This remake of The Lion King is visually amazing but fails to bring anything new to the table that the original did not already bring audiences.
I can’t say after watching it that I didn’t enjoy it. That’s just a lie. Of course, I enjoyed it! It’s the same movie but only now, they have the tech and resources to make it look like real animals. At first, did I think it was going to be like watching the Discovery Channel? Yes, a little. In fact, I was worried about how they would be able to execute the way in which we were able to see the emotions of these animals with their realistic designs.
Yet the visual aesthetic grew on me and it was amazing to watch. Especially the beginning. Then listening to a score from Hans Zimmer himself again just made it better. It brought back the same feelings from watching the original. It didn’t make me feel more emotions or feel happier than the original did. Instead, it gave me a sense of deja vu about the whole thing.
I was worried about how this movie would approach the musical hits like “Hakuna Matata”. But even with the different voices, the musical numbers give the same vibes that the original did. My personal favorite being “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” sung by Beyoncé and Donald Glover who killed it together and had amazing chemistry playing Nala and Simba.
Bringing back James Earl Jones as Mufasa was one of the best decisions to be made with the voice cast. His voice as Mufasa is something so distinct to The Lion King that it would have been a shame if they did not go with him again doing the iconic voice of Mufasa. Had they brought back Jeremy Irons as Scar, it would have been a much more stellar voice cast. Otherwise, an excellent casting of voice actors.
Besides what works in this movie, I think many people are missing the big question: what’s the point of making this film again? This new The Lion King gave audiences the same message with very minor differences that did not change the story whatsoever. Besides making more money, I don’t see the need for these films when the originals have done more than enough for the audience. Not to say that these movies did not give us a new visual aesthetic to appreciate but it doesn’t give a newer story. It’s almost pointless when Disney could be using this computer imagery on something completely new altogether.
Disney should be giving us original content instead of milking the classics that made Disney what it is like Star Wars, The Lion King, and even Mulan. The classics will always be there for future generations to appreciate so why not just give us new unique content that fits the newer generations? It’s not to say that The Lion King or any of these classics are outdated but we are living in a world where being diverse and inclusive is becoming more and more important. Give us an animated movie about something that hasn’t been done before. Disney of all people has the resources to do it. If anything, bring in newer and younger creators to see what they can bring to the table.
As I said, I really did like The Lion King, but it didn’t make me feel any different in a positive way that the original did. In the end, this movie wasn’t necessary or needed. Was it still amazing to see one of the best films Disney has ever made in a new format? Yes, 100% but it doesn’t justify the need to make the same movie. I hope in the future Disney can focus more on new content that these newer audiences haven’t seen before.
The Lion King is now playing in theaters.
The film stars Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Seth Rogen, and John Oliver.