Back in 2016, director, Jon Favreau, was handed the reins to curate a live-action rendition of the beloved 1994 classic, The Lion King. Remakes are always tricky territory because you don't know if it'll stick to the original sequence or veer off completely. Although, Disney can't seem to get enough of upcycling their portfolio of animated classics either way.
But, as far as The Lion King was concerned, it was confirmed that the movie would feature songs from the original soundtrack as well as the same pivotal moments we witnessed more than 2 decades ago in the original. So, basically, those wanting the new version to exactly mirror the original didn't have anything to worry about, right?
Well, it turns out there are actually quite a lot of big differences between Favreau's 2019 version and the original animated classic, and people don't know how to feel about it. After all, we all know that these remakes are really for the people who watched the film twenty years ago, rather than the kids now.
So, how loyal has the 2019 version stayed to the original? Read on to find out.
After a long wait, the live-action The Lion King hit the big screen last weekend.
via: imdbSeveral Disney classics have been given the live-action treatment in recent years, but the thought of seeing Simba and the gang brought to life in a completely new way had fans more excited than ever before.
We all had high hopes for the movie.After all, other live-action remakes like The Jungle Book and Cinderella had been generally well-received by fans.
And, as far as the box office was concerned, it did deliver.
via: imdbThe movie grossed a staggering $185 million in its opening weekend alone - which isn't exactly surprising, given the huge build-up and excitement of fans.
But, when it comes to the critics...it's a whole different story.Many accused Favreau's cutting-edge characters of having less emotional range than their hand-drawn '90s counterparts.
The reviews have been pretty mixed.
via: imdb"Beautiful but bland," is what Salon wrote, while The Guardian described the reboot as "resplendent but pointless." As you can see, so many of these statements contradict each other - and that's one of the main issues that critics have had. While the cutting-edge digitalization of the once scribbled-on-paper characters is pretty breathtaking, several people agreed that the same feelings the '94 version evoked just simply weren't there with this one.
And did fans agree?
I got mixed emotions about the new Lion King Movie— IAmTheRealAustinPowers (@IAmTheRealAustinPowers)1563944650.0
Some really enjoyed the movie.
Lion King was the best, 10 stars out of 5.— Tony Oberstar (Goose) (@Tony Oberstar (Goose))1563582893.0
Although, just like the critics, many agreed that the emotion just wasn't there.
the lion king remake was like sailor moon crystal.. character in distress: 😐 happy character: 😐 character laughing… https://t.co/D26PrmeLm1— Milk🥛 (@Milk🥛)1563926138.0
But the emotional range of (or, more importantly, the lack of) the characters isn't the only thing that people have noticed...It seems like there are actually quite a few differences between the new movie and the original animated version. So, let's take a look at all the changes in Favreau's The Lion King. How many did you notice?
First off, Shenzi, the lead hyena, is barely recognizable in the remake.
via: DisneyShenzi may have returned to screens, but the only thing that is recognizable is her name. The once dimwitted lead hyena is now way more devious and, well, scary, and also now has a rivalry with Nala.
The 2 other main hyenas, Banzai and Ed, aren't in the movie.In the new version, the 2 hyenas are now called Kamari and Azizi, and similarly to Shenzi, they've undergone quite the personality transformation too.
Sadly, this iconic moment is abscent from the movie.Now that's a disappointment.
The new version of Scar's "Be Prepared" big moment is slightly different too.
via: imdbConsidering it's supposed to be Scar's big musical moment, there isn't an awful lot of, well, singing. Turns out, in the new movie, it's more of a speech than a sing-a-long musical number - with Simba's devious uncle only singing for a fraction of the time showcased in the original. Great.
And we get to see much more context about Scar and Mufasa's relationship.
via: imdbDuring their first argument, it's implied that they had previously had a huge fight, and Mufasa came out on top.
There's also a newly added love triangle element between the 2 brothers.Scar has a thing for Simba's mom. Who'd have thought it? During the new movie, Scar expresses anger about having wanted to be with Sarabi (Simba's mom), but she'd chose Mufasa instead. According to Favreau, the addition of a love triangle was for with very good reason... to quash the perception that Disney villains, like Scar, Captain Hook or Hades, to name a few, present stereotypically homosexual traits. So the new plot point is apparently trying to undo what some considered the first movie's “queer coding" of the flamboyant Disney villain.
Zazu doesn't end up as Scar's prisoner in Favreau's version.
via: imdbThe photorealistic advisor, Zazu, who's swapped out his animated colorful feathers for a more realistic color palette, isn’t caged-up and forced to sing to Scar. In fact, he actually sneaks back to Pride Rock when the hyenas take over to carry on providing the Morning Report to Sarabi. And he even joins the final battle to reclaim Pride Rock, swooping in to help Simba.
And, you know what a non-caged Zazu means...No coconut song. *Cries*
In the 2019 movie, Timon doesn't try to prevent Pumbaa from talking about bodily functions...
via: imdbIt seems like the comedy duo have also undergone a slight change, as Timon lets Pumbaa talk freely about gas while they're singing "Hakuna Matata." Let's be honest, Timon's 1994 former self would have never let that slide.
One of the biggest differences is the jokes.So there's more fart jokes (we're sure you can guess who from), a jibe about the umami flavor that every avid foodie will no doubt appreciate, and we get to hear a little more about the Hakuna Matata philosophy. The saying is explained presumably for laughs (Pumbaa explains how you don’t have to worry about impacting other people, you should just do whatever you want, but when Simba questions his notion, Pumbaa laughs it off saying it has to be true otherwise they’d “just be jerks.")
Nala gets an extra scene and more lines in the new version.
via: imdbA young Nala is given more lines to sing in "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," while a grown-up Nala also gets more screen time. But we aren't exactly surprised, given Beyoncé is voicing the lioness.
She also has a massively more important role in the final battle.
via: DisneyThere’s a scene wherein Nala has to sneak away from Pride Rock, and, most importantly, Scar, to find more food for her family, as well as an on-screen moment in which she summons the lionesses to fight Scar, asking, “Are you with me?" which, of course, they are. Oh, and she even fights Shenzi, one on one. Wow.
The scene in which Simba runs back home has a new song to play alongside it.While we got to see many of the original classic musical numbers, as many of you will know, Beyoncé has sung some original songs for the soundtrack of the movie, and one of the songs, named "Spirit," is attached to this scene in the movie.
On the contrary, Rafiki doesn't use a staff and he has fewer lines.
via: imdbAnd most of the lines that he does have are in his native tongue. Overall, his character is much more reserved in this version than in the animated one, presenting a more "older and wiser" demeanor. And his famous walking stick? It only makes an appearance during the final battle in this version.