Disney announced early last year that they were working on a live-action remake of the 1994 classic, ‘The Lion King’; arguably one of the most respected and beloved animated movies of all time. As soon as I saw the announcement with the casting and the release date, two thoughts popped into my head: “Disney is about to break the BANK with this movie”, immediately followed by: “This movie is DOOMED and they don’t even know it.”
Now, I love the original animated film. Ask anyone in my immediate family & they can tell you that I WAS Simba, through and through. But I think that’s an honest testament to the impact that movie had on a generation, and still has to this day! So there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to see what this new adaptation could bring to the legacy of this franchise. So being on the internet & seeing a lot more skepticism from the masses was kind of disheartening, but that’s exactly what I expected.
See, we’re in a time where people don’t really want to see the classics redone. A majority of Disney’s live-action adaptations haven’t been as well-received as Disney hoped they would. The minute you decide to go the nostalgia route with a product, expectations are gonna be sky-high. Especially a film that is loved & known for its animation style, or the phenomenal music numbers. Even the characters themselves, they brought a certain energy to the original that just made The Lion King stand out from the others.
BUT… was that not the point? Listen, I saw the new movie, & yes, it’s VERY different from the original. A lot of that pop and energy was left out from the remake, but I understand what Disney was going for. The general consensus is that this is supposed to be a RETELLING. It’s nothing more than the same story with a realistic look to it. & while I can appreciate this new take as an ode to a classic, there was no way this movie was going to score with audiences.
And while they missed some of that flare that the original had, AT LEAST they didn’t completely remake or take away from the essence of the story. So I’ll give Disney a C for this one. You’re still getting some stunning visuals, probably some of the best we’ve seen in cinema to date. The vocal performances hold up, & the story is still true to its original.
So for all my die-hard nostalgia heads, I say give this new Lion King a chance. If it doesn’t live up, we still have our ’94 classic. Hopefully, we’ll see an end to these obvious cash grabs and get some new classics in the future.