The Lion King is definitely a childhood classic for most people. It’s a Disney movie that most people have seen multiple times, enough to quote entire scenes or remember each visual frame.
There are moments in The Lion King where I felt that it was a cash grab, a reimagining of the same movie, just a new way to make money off of it. However, there are so many scenes that are so visually stunning, you will appreciate the time and effort that it took to reimagine this movie.
The live action version of The Lion King will hit theaters on July 18th. The cast is made of a lot of stars in Hollywood, and some even make a comeback from the animated version of The Lion King. The most notable being James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa. Donald Glover (musical sensation Childish Gambino/ Solo: A Star Wars Story) voices Simba while JD McCrary (Little/ Atom: The Misadventures of a Real Superhero) voices young Simba. John Oliver (Late Night With John Oliver/ The Smurfs) voices Zazu while Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave/ Dirty Pretty Things) voices an accurately chilling Scar.
One of the most talked about casting decisions was the casting of Beyonce as Nala. While Nala is not in a lot of scenes in either version of the movie, some people felt…a certain way about her being cast in the role. Along with her casting, she brings her vocals to two songs in the movie. The first being “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” where she sings alongside Donald Glover for this amazing and nostalgic duet. The second song is a new song for this version of The Lion King. It’s called “Spirit” and will also be featured on the album “The Lion King: The Gift“. You can stream the whole 2019 soundtrack here.
Regardless of how you feel about casting, I am here to tell you that some of your favorite scenes from the animated version of The Lion King look simply amazing in live action. Let’s explore some of the scenes you should be looking out for when the live action Lion King hits theaters.
Opening of The Lion King: Circle of Life
Don’t get startled by that initial “NAHHH” when the song starts, we’ve had 25 years to prepare for this moment.
If you plug your ears in (like I did), through the muffled sounds of the music is a stunning display of the same song you have grown to love. The ants on a tree branch, the flamingos in the water, it’s one step away from hiring animals and training them all to perform “Circle of Life”
Things that make you go “Awwww” in this scene: that baby cub sneeze. So cute!
Pride Rock and Everything the Light Touches
It’s visually stunning to see Pride Rock with such detail. But when Mufasa and Simba are sitting talking about everything the light touches, it’s even more stunning. Definitely make sure you look around as much as you can in this scene
Something I feel that I overlooked in my childhood was the beauty of Rafiki’s tree. But the exquisite detail of the tree had me in awe. From the way the leaves hung to how well the bark on this tree looked, it took my breath away. Seriously, I gasped in the theater
While this song is…different from the animated version (and I’ll leave it at that), I can appreciate the ending of Be Prepared which mimics the animated end scene. Since we are going with realism in this live-action version, there is no green fog to let you know that Scar and the hyenas are the bad guys. Still, the ending has a very sinister and creepy undertone to it that does a great job of foreshadowing what Scar is planning to do next
Looking At The Stars with Timon and Pumbaa
I do need to say as a side note that Seth Rogen was born to play Pumbaa. Bravo, kudos, and all the like to him. He did an amazing job.
But the scene where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa are all laying on each other and asking what those things in the sky are is visually spectacular. It really looks like you’re staring into the night sky
The Rain That Washes Away The Fire
Queue your sense of deja vu, because you have seen this scene before. After Simba defeats Scar, a steady rain comes through to wash away the raging fire at pride rock. There’s a close up of a twig on fire and it shows each raindrop as it extinguishes this. Such a short scene, but I really loved it.
The Lion King has His Final Roar
It’s a little funny because as a cub, all Simba wanted to do was have an epic roar, the same kind of roar his dad had. He wanted to command a room, have an enemy back down, and lead a pack with his roar. After Mufasa dies, he stuffs down that part of himself. Even though he strayed from the path, he was always destined to be King. So seeing this in live action, Simba walking up to pride rock and roaring was a very satisfying scene to watch.
End Scene for The Lion King: Circle of Life
It is super exciting to watch after being blown away by the opening “Circle of Life” scene. But seeing it again, especially the detail of the animals below pride rock, is remarkable. It’s such an amazing tie back to the beginning. And the close up of the new baby cub leaves you says “Awww” once more.
Overall, there was, and still is, a lot of criticism of making a live action version of The Lion King. Some people feel its unnecessary and redundant to remake classic tales. But one positive takeaway is that the graphic designers of this movie created these live-action scenes with care and accuracy to the original. Being able to remake The Lion King takes a considerable amount of talent and I think they did an amazing job.
Are you planning on seeing the live action version of The Lion King? Come back and tell us your favorite scenes in the comments section below.