Disney currently seems to be going through a phase of remaking their classic animated films and turning them into CGI/Live-Action features. So far, they’ve remade Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins is due to be released in December. And they aim to continue this phase with a remake of the 1994 film The Lion King, to be released next year.
The Lion King was essentially a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, except it was set in Africa and featured animals. The film has so far grossed over $100 million worldwide, making it Disney’s 3rd highest grossing animated film ever, next to Zootopia and Frozen.
So, I’ve probably just answered my own question but: WHY IS THIS BEING REMADE?!
The Lion King is my favourite Disney film; I would even go so far as to say it’s a perfect film: it has the right level of emotional depth to make viewers care for the characters, a simple but brilliant story, a fantastic soundtrack and score and the hand-drawn animation is gorgeous.
The teaser made the smart move of replicating the original film’s teaser, by showing viewers the iconic opening scene. This time, the scene is recreated with CGI animation and, while the photo-realistic visuals are impressive, it looks very bland. What I loved about the animation in the 1994 film was how colourful and vibrant the setting and characters looked. By recreating the film to make it look realistic, it seems to have lost the charm that the source material had.
However, there are a couple of aspects that I do like about the remake: James Earl Jones is returning as the voice of Mufasa, and Hans Zimmer is returning as the composer. As well as this, the voice cast is impressive: John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Donald Glover as adult Simba, Beyonce as adult Nala and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. If there’s one thing that can be praised at the moment, it’s the brilliant casting choices.
Disney have also revealed the official poster:
It’s simple yet effective, and it conveys the theme of the film beautifully by not saying much at all: Simba will need to take his place in the great circle of life as King of the Pridelands.
While there are a couple of things I like about this remake, it is not enough to actually convince me to go and see it. I give the original film extremely high praise and I don’t think this should be given the remake treatment. However, given Disney’s recent box office earnings, this will still probably be successful.
Oh well: Hakuna Matata!