Disney Does it Again with “The Lion King” Live Action Remake

Nina Ottesen, Staff Writer

Over the summer, Disney released two movies in their “remake saga”: The Lion King, and Aladdin. These two movies are timeless Disney classics, so their live-action remakes have quite a reputation to live up to. One of my personal favorites is The Lion King. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to watch an adorable animated lion cub singing about how he can’t wait to be king? Many people, however, were not pleased to hear that The Lion King would be getting a live-action version, as they feel these Disney remakes are simply cash-grabs, such as the new Aladdin. This is due to the amount of remakes being released and how terribly they were made. So how would The Lion King be received? This is what I set out to see when I walked into the theater. 

The Lion King tells the story of a young lion cub named Simba, who is the prince of the Pridelands. He has a lot to learn about being a king. We watch Simba grow from a young, irresponsible cub to a brave king of the Pridelands.

I was a little skeptical to see the movie considering how many people criticized it on Twitter. People were making fun of the remake left and right, complaining about its quality.  For example, Twitter user @Theveshin says, “I never fully understood when people said their childhood was ruined by something until I watched the #LionKing2019. Just an absolute waste of a movie.” Yikes, that’s a pretty bold statement. 

Oh, I forgot to mention, since Disney couldn’t get real lions for their live-action movie, they animated it. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Anyways, I tried to go in there open-minded, and luckily, it paid off. It’s safe to say that Disney did not totally disappoint. With beautiful vocals from Beyoncé as Nala, Simba’s girlfriend, the movie couldn’t go wrong. There were certain parts of the movie which I found were amazing, maybe even better than the original. For example, comedians Eric Andre and Keegan-Michael Key were hilarious as the new hyenas ,Kamari and Azizi. Because they’re comedians, you might think that they’re made for those roles, but Andre and Key’s acting abilities truly shine through in the movie. The new movie’s take on Timon and Pumbaa, Simba’s sidekicks, were different yet charming. In these ways, Disney did live up to its own standards.

However, I found that there were certain parts of the movie that made me agree with the critics. The cast may have been filled with musical and comedic geniuses, but it doesn’t excuse the poor attempt at a song that was “Be Prepared.” “Be Prepared” is sung by the movie’s villain, Scar, as he’s gathering more animals to help him control the Pridelands. It’s one of Disney’s most famous villain songs. Saying that the new “Be Prepared” simply wasn’t up to par is being generous to the film. It was more chanting than singing, and the visuals were gray and drab. In the original, Jeremy Irons provides deep, sinister vocals as Scar, and the visuals were colorful yet menacing. Some major lines and characters from the original were replaced with awkward, unfunny ones. By not living up to those standards, I feel Disney let me down. So yes, I also feel that The Lion King did not live up to its predecessor.

So did Disney make some major mistakes? Yes. Is it worth watching the new movie? Also yes. While they did leave important things out, I feel Disney made up for them with amazing vocals and stunning visuals. Overall, I enjoyed the new The Lion King movie, and I think you and your family will too.