What I Thought Of The Lion King Remake

The long awaited Lion King remake is out, and I have a lot of thoughts.

The Lion King has been my favourite movie since birth. The original is flawless. However, it was only fair to give The Lion King remake a chance.

I’m a bit iffy about remakes in general, I would much rather see Disney give us some new story’s than re-do their whole catalogue. I prefer when a movie is make into a new form, which is why I always enjoy books becoming movies (even when I spend the whole thing pointing out what they changed), and adored the Broadway show, even the Heathers musical was much better than the TV show.

To my surprise, and to the surprise of everyone who knows me in real life – I enjoyed the remake more than I thought I would.

lioness on brown grass field
Photo by Filip Olsok on Image not from the movie.

*Spoilers Ahead*

The Lion King Remake: Positives

I won’t be hiding spoilers, because lets’ face it, the original came out in 1994 – we all know what happens.

  • It was stunning. Everything looked absolutely amazing and so realistic.
  • The Circle of Life was a scene-by-scene replica of the original, I nearly teared up – the Broadway show had the same effect on me.
  • Schenzi was more of a leader. Hyenas are matriarchal. In the original Schenzi didn’t seem as much of a leader and still took orders from Scar. She’s much more sinister in this.
  • The score was just as amazing. They added little bits and pieces, and kept the important bits the same but made it sound more powerful. When I originally heard the soundtrack before the film was released it felt a little too boisterous for me, but it’s grown on me now.
  • The Be Our Guest reference. There was no way CGI Timon and Pumba were gonna dress in drag and do the hula, so singing the start of Be Our Guest was a great substitute.

The Lion King Remake: Negatives

  • Banzai and Ed are gone. They replaced them with new hyenas called Azizi and Kamari. They’re funny but no where near as entertaining as Banzai and Ed. The hilarious hyena trio are on of the best parts of the original. Scar isn’t even friends with the hyenas in this one like he was in the original.
  • They butchered Be Prepared. Be Prepared is arguably the best Disney villain song of all time, and even one of the best from the movie. They built up to it like Scar was going to burst into the song and then… just spoke it. They originally didn’t even want to include Be Prepared, and the internet was not having that, so it felt like they reluctantly included it.
  • The characters are duller. Scar isn’t quite the sassy theatrical villain we all remember and was more serious. Rafiki wasn’t as weird as he was in the original, he was just as wise but his personality was gone. Even though James Earl Jones reprised his role as Mufasa, he sounded lifeless. I understand his voice aged, but the fact that they changed his iconic speech when he appeared in the clouds didn’t help.
  • Scar constantly perusing Sarabi. From the beginning Scar makes it clear he wants Sarabi. What was intended in the original and is in the musical, is that Scar wants Nala to be his queen. Leaving that scene out of the original cartoon was a good idea because the song is creepy, but I think they could have shown Scar pursuing Nala here, given that he was relentless with Sarabi. They seemed to be afraid to show Scar as evil as he actually is, like how the Nazi-imagery from Be Prepared is gone. That imagery from the original helped illustrate how much of a villain Scar is – he was the first Disney character to actually succeed in trying to murder someone. Scar going after a lioness like Nala, who is young enough to be his daughter, would have shown a creepier side of him. 

More Thoughts

a lion standing on a grassy field
Photo by Brayden Stanford on Image not from the movie.

There isn’t anything about this version that I prefer to the original.

Beyonce and Donald Glover were a better Nala and Simba than I imaged. I just never saw them suiting the roles. I did think that maybe Beyonce might have actually been more suited to the role of Sarabi. Sarabi doesn’t sing, so that’s probably why she was Nala. Timon, Pumba, Rafiki, and Zazu were great, but I much preferred the originals.

The lions themselves looked amazing, but how the animals spoke didn’t work very well. They couldn’t show expressions like in the cartoon, which is a shame because young Simba gave such an amazing vocal performance when Mufasa died that the animation let him down. Although the put effort into making the lions look different from one another, it was impossible to tell the lionesses apart.

They definitely did not have to spend so much time detailing Simba’s hairs journey to Rafiki – and really didn’t need to literally put it in giraffe shit – especially given how rushed Simba and Nala’s reunion felt afterwards. 

Overall, while it’s better than I though it would be, it still doesn’t compare to the original. Have you seen the Lion King remake? What did you think?

14 thoughts on “What I Thought Of The Lion King Remake

  1. Sat here reading this with my old Simba teddy bear. . . I am excited for Shenzi but I am very disappointed about losing the other two! I still can’t wait to watch it but it was never going to beat the original.

  2. What?! They didn’t do Be Prepared! I wonder what the reasoning was. Curious to see the overall ambience of the film since they changed things. Great review. Thorough and inclusive.

  3. Like you, The Lion King is my favourite movie of all time. I also know every line word for word, and have way too many stuffed toys for a 24-year-old. I agree with you on what you did and didn’t like about the remake. And it was also much better than I thought it was going to be.

    One other thing I didn’t like was some of the lines and scenes that they changed. I understand it wasn’t going to be exactly the same as the original, however I think it missed out some lines that I feel were significant.

    Overall, it was a great movie and I highly recommend people to see it.

  4. The Lion King is my favourite Disney movie as well. I wanted to give this a chance but changed my mind when I found out that Scar`s song is not included. I think it`s great that today`s generation gets to experience this wonderful story, but I`ll stick with the original.

  5. Haven’t seen it yet, I probably will at some point but I agree they should just leave the originals alone and create something new. If they want to re-introduce the story to new fans I’d rather they just re-released the originals.

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