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The new “Lion King” Live-Action Remake Teaches Powerful Lessons of Love, Loyalty, and Fighting for Your Destiny.

by Jenna McLaughlin, Class of 2023

From a chills-inducing opening scene to stunning CGI visuals to a breathtaking soundtrack by Tim Rice and Elton John, The Lion King is truly captivating, so “Be Prepared.” 

Simba is the future king and heir of his father, Mufasa, who is played by James Earl Jones — reprising his role from the 1994 film. Simba’s jealous and evil uncle, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) plans to overthrow the throne and become the new king of The Pride Lands. Shahadi Wright Joseph portrays Young Nala in this adaptation — she is no stranger to The Lion King, having portrayed Young Nala on Broadway between September 23, 2014 and September 20, 2015.  Adult Simba is played by Grammy award-winning artist Donald Glover, who steals audiences’ hearts from his first on-screen appearance and captures perfectly the innocence of Simba. Beyonce (Nala) will become one of the highest paid actresses in 2019 thanks to her starring role. She has also produced and arranged an album to accompany the film: “The Lion King: The Gift.” The album release is scheduled for July 19, the day after the movie opens in theaters. The scene-stealing duo Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan, who play the hilarious Pumbaa and Timon, taught the important lesson that “You can’t change the past, but you can change the future,” and “Everybody is somebody, even nobody.”

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photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios
© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Lion King is directed by Jon Favreau — known for directing the films Elf (2003), and The Jungle Book (2016). The breathtaking cinematography was by Caleb Deschanel, a six-time Academy Award nominee. The film’s score is composed by the extremely talented German record producer and head of the film music division at DreamWorks studios, Hans Zimmer.

I really enjoyed this movie. However, not everyone agrees. Critics say that a new Lion King is unnecessary, due to the preexisting media, from the original 1994 movie, to a tv series, and the stage musical, which has been running on Broadway since 1997. I agree that there is plenty of Lion King media that has been created based on the original film, and was skeptical of the live-action remake, which critics worried would be not much more than a cash grab based on an already profitable franchise for Disney. However, I became more attached to the new remake because of the realistic facial expressions of each character and exciting fight scenes. The soundtrack was inspired by the Broadway version of The Lion King, yet brought a new vibrancy, featuring the extremely talented Donald Glover and Beyonce. Despite the fact I knew what was going to happen, I was truly invested the entire time.

Many will love this new adaptation of the beloved Disney classic. You will laugh, cry, and be on the edge of your seat the entire time. However, due to the realistic nature of the film, I would not recommend taking a young child to this movie because some scenes may be too intense or scary. 

I would highly recommend seeing The Lion King as it roars into theaters July 18, 2019. 

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