Yesterday I wrote a post about the new Aladdin movie coming out this Friday. Today will be similar in that I am going to be giving my thoughts on the upcoming Jon Favreau remake of the Disney classic movie LION KING. There are not going to be any spoilers in this, seeing as I have not seen the movie yet. It is being released in July of 2019. However, I will get a little nitpicky about some things. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Starting off, I have to say I have really high hopes and great expectations for this film. Mainly based on the nostalgia element and memories I have of watching that film as a kid. But the other reason I say that is because of Jon Favreau. He is directing it and has done some incredible movies! Some examples are Elf with Will Ferrell, the Iron Man movies with Robert Downey, Jr., the Avengers movie franchise, and in the Disney realm…the remake of the Jungle Book. Now I have to say, the remake of Jungle Book in 2016 was sort of dark, so I am wondering if Lion King will have the same dark undertone. But also the 1994 Lion King is a dark Disney movie, anyway. But I really am anxious to see how Favreau does with this version.
Now onto the cast. Let’s start with the one I am most stoked about: James Earl Jones is coming back to voice Mufasa again! OH MY GOD! I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS! The reason I am so ecstatic about it, again, is nostalgia. To me, James Earl Jones is Mufasa. I do not think anyone else could do it as well or as iconic as James Earl Jones. I do not think anyone else’s voice would have the same impact. That is interesting to me because that is the same critique I had for the Genie in Aladdin. Of course, Robin Williams can’t do the Genie again since he is gone, but I think bringing back an original actor from the original movie just makes perfect sense!
Moving on, Simba is voiced by Donald Glover, Beyonce is voicing Nala, and Chiwetel Ejiofor from Twelve Years A Slave is playing Scar. Now here’s the part people are either going to applaud me for bringing up, or hate me for mentioning. Looking up the cast, I noticed a common “theme” or “thread” for all the lions in the movie. Ready for the controversial part? Here it comes…they are all black actors. I am NOT being biased or racist here. Actually, I think this is a smart move. The Lion King takes place in the Serengeti in Africa. So to me, I actually like the fact they picked actors who, for lack of a better term, “fit the role”.
Some other voices being provided are Billy Eichner as Timon, John Oliver as Zazu, and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. To me, they are all good actors. BUT having said that, I am not sure if Seth Rogen is the right choice for a Disney movie. I am actually kind of worried about it. Here’s my logic: Seth Rogen is a very adult-oriented actor. Some of his movies include Knocked Up, This is the End, 40 Year Old Virgin, Sausage Party, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and the extremely controversial film, The Interview. These are all funny movies, but going with the theme of common thread, they are all R rated movies. Most of them are stoner movies that are all about drugs and smoking pot.
The Lion King, on the other hand, is a G-rated family movie! Sure, it had one or two jokes aimed toward adults like when Scar stops Zazu from singing “It’s A Small World After All” and Timon covering Pumbaa’s mouth telling him “Not in front of the kids!” when Pumbaa almost says “farted” during the song Hakuna Matata. But Lion King, while dark and funny, is still very much a family movie, so you can kind of see where my concern is here.
I also want to bring up another concern I have: the trailer itself. The trailer for the 2019 Lion King is damn near shot-for-shot from the opening scene from the original movie. I do not want a replica movie of Lion King. I think if Jon Favreau did a shot-for-shot remake, then it wouldn’t be as good and feel very much like an imitation. Having said that, there are some elements I hope they keep in the remake. Namely the songs. We know that Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, Hakuna Matata, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, and very recently it was announced Be Prepared will be in the film. It was also announced that Beyonce will do a new song for the closing credits. Jon Favreau was quoted as saying that he was “not trying to create new songs but trying to build on what people remember and love about the old ones.” I think he knows what people who grew up with the original want to see and hear, so he did that intentionally.
That’s about all I can say on my thoughts on the Lion King 2019. Let me know what you think in the comments and as always, thanks for reading!