One of my favourite Disney movies is the Lion King. I watched the original to death as a teenager and the music – all of the music – just feels wonderful.
When I heard they were doing a ‘live action’ remake I was dubious. For a start its not live action its naturalistic CGI and that is not quite the same thing at all. But the casting sounded amazing, Donald Glover, Queen Bey, Jon Oliver as Zazu I was suddenly on board.
The trailer when it was released pretty much gave me shivers. It was a shot for shot remake of the animated and then all worries were set aside, I knew that I would love this version too.
The Lion King delivers where the ‘live action’ Jungle Book falls down in that it gives us all of the songs. Some of the songs go in slightly different directions – Be Prepared is darker, angrier and loses its camp glory.
Hakuna Matata changes some of the jokes and this can jar the watcher.
I’ve seen most of the Disney remakes. (Not Dumbo though) And they’ve all been interesting to see because the animated source material is so well loved that remaking them can seem like a risky business.
I’m also torn because generally if something is adapted, I want the adaptation to do something new with the material. That said there are times where I won’t engage with remakes and adaptations if I fear they will mess up.
The Lion King is basically a shot for shot remake of the animated film with an added song for Beyonce and some extended scenes. I enjoyed it because there was minimal messing with the source material, I would not have enjoyed it half so much if it had been different.
Do I feel so protective of it because it was something I loved as a Teenager? I’m not sure I can answer that. It is a beautiful film, I think it will do well because it is a perfect summer film. The music is still fantastic, Hans Zimmer’s score is incredible. Will it stand the test of time? Maybe.