Disney's The Lion King is among this years must see movies of the summer, and quite frankly the whole year. While a Disney lover myself who was excited to see the live action Beauty and the Beast in 2017 and the live action Dumbo earlier this year, The Lion King is the one I have been waiting and dying to see since it was announced.
Shout out to my mother since she is such an amazing person. She got me and my boyfriend tickets to go see it the moment they became available. Originally we were going to go together, but due to family circumstances she couldn't, but she didn't want me to miss out.
When the first trailer for the movie came out, I was sick in bed watching a show on Hulu. The first commercial was getting ready to come and the screen went black.
The Lion King Official Trailer www.youtube.com
When I saw the lion cubs and heard Chiwetel Ejiofor, the voice of Scar say "Life's not fair" I instantly perked up and squealed. Seeing how real the lions look, the scariness of the hyenas, and seeing Scar in the gorge with the hyenas made my heart drop. The whole trailer gave me chills and by the time that James Earl Jones, the original voice of Mufasa who played his iconic roll once again, I was in tears. Hearing his iconic voice, the wonderful music and seeing the horrific stampede scene, along with the rest of the trailer made me so emotional.
With new trailers, character posters, and all the attention it was getting, I couldn't wait to see the movie I grew up watching, loving and crying over. And the fact that the OG voice of Mufasa was coming back, I couldn't be more excited.
The day comes, July 19th. The theater darkens. It's about to start. In my gut I feel "this is going to be beautiful" but in my head I'm going "what if the opening is completely different?" The thing is, when it comes to live action remakes, sometimes it stays almost exactly the same to the original, and sometimes there are drastic differences, even to iconic movie moments.
The film starts, the sun rises up behind the trees. The landscape is beautiful. and the opening to Circle of Life begins and it sounds exactly the same. The rhino raises it's head, then the antelopes, the meerkats perch up, the cheetah walks onto the rock and the birds take flight. The opening to the film from the rising sun to the title screen was 98% exactly like the original and I was crying the moment the music started. There were only minor differences; Rafiki didn't have his staff, he used stuff from a plant to mark Simba, he showed Mufasa affection but didn't give him a hug, and Rafiki didn't throw dirt on Simba.
There are some major differences though. We learn that Scar had challenged Mufasa before when he says "I wouldn't dream of challenging you...again.", it makes us wonder if that's how he got his scar on his eye. Scar is even has several marks and scars on his body and they added other wonderful details such as seeing his ribs and his spine because he is so thin.
During the iconic song "I can't wait to be king" the scene work is entirely different. There is no dancing animals. Zazu doesn't land on a log and go down a waterfall. Animals aren't running left and right and Simba isn't jumping on giraffes. We also don't get his famous leaf mane. However, this isn't exactly a bad thing. With the animated version, they have so much more flexibility. They are able to move the characters in ways that they normally wouldn't they can have animals support the weight of another on their backs and heads and make a tower. In the live action film they were as realistic as possible, including with what the animals can do.
They had Simba and Nala running around the watering hole and blending in with the other animals to lose Zazu so they can to go the elephant graveyard. The other animals at the watering hole run around to cause chaos and confuse Zazu druing the musical number and a group of birds swoop Zazu up to spin him around while Simba and Nala run away.
I will say one major difference I loved yet also didn't love was Scar's big major song was changed drastically. "Be Prepared" is Scar's only musical number where we get to see his plan for Mufasa's death unfold. In the original it was highly dramatic and we also got to see that the hyenas and Scar had a relationship that had been going on for a long time. In the live action we see that Scar is forming a new relationship with the hyenas, showing that they don't have one at all and his song was cut incredibly short. They took key parts from his song and turned it into a musical "speech" in a way. However, I feel for the realness of the characters, you can't do all the dramatics in the live action that were done in the animated version. And the song fit the voice of Scar as well. While it is drastically different, it is still incredibly creepy.
While these major differences, along with a couple of small ones, such as Nala fighting along Simba at Pride Rock during the climax and going head to head with the head hyena Shenzi and Timon and Pumba's humor being slightly different yet still uniquely them, the movie is magical, beautiful, and stunning. This movie is worth seeing again and again and again. You'll cry, you'll laugh, and you be in complete awe of this Disney masterpiece. None of the other live action Disney remakes are on The Lion King's level, and I doubt any other live action remake will be.