Disney dropped a bombshell this week with the announcement of a live action remake of The Lion King. Yes, we know, it’s half exciting and half frightening. The film has stood the test of time and remains a part of 90’s kid nostalgia. What if it doesn’t turn out quite right?
Well, we’ve been down that road of questions before.
When Jon Favreau and Disney announced they were partnering to bring a live action version of The Jungle Book to life, we thought they were crazy. Fast forward to today and boy were we wrong, not only did the movie generate a total of $900 million at the box office, it also set a high standard with its CGI. We’d never seen anything like it. It was technology we could feel. The textures jumped off screen. The movement of the animals looked natural. And of course there was plenty of Disney magic–talking animals and a killer rendition of “Bare Necessities”. So when their news of a live action remake of The Lion King hit our ears, we didn’t bat an eyelash. In fact, we couldn’t. We were frozen with excitement. With The Jungle Book being the juggernaut it is, just imagine how much more savage The Lion King will be.
Still need convincing? Check out these five scenes we can’t wait to see translate into live action.
The Circle of Life
This epic musical sequence served as the opening the classic 1994 animated film. There’s no dialogue between the animals. However, that seems to be what makes it so majestic. Animals of all breeds flock to Pride Rock as they ready to welcome King Mufasa’s newborn cub. On any given day or moment, many of these animals clash; but much like humans, all tension is set aside for the sake of new life. This, along with Rafiki raising Simba to the sky a la “Roots”, makes this scene absolutely incredible.
Four words: “Long live the king!”
That’s right. I said it. You should rip off that twelve year old band-aid now. It’s time. And maybe after actually seeing a live Mufasa falling to his demise, it’ll be time for a new one. Sorry. I’m not enthusiastic about the watching our mighty lion patriarch die either. Trust me, I’ll be the snot nosed drama queen wailing in the 8th row of the theater. BUT, think of the intensity. The herd of wildebeests stomping into the valley. Low shots of Simba scrambling between thunderous hooves. Mufasa darting through the traffic. Scar watching with a calculating glare as his plan sets in motion. And of course, the final close-up between brothers. Scar’s intentions register to Mufasa and a chilling look dominates their faces–one of horror and the other with cold blooded triumph. The emotion this scene evokes is one of the reasons The Lion King will forever be branded on our hearts. This is the stuff that makes for worthy story telling.
Hakuna Matata: Timon and Pumbaa to the rescue
When Simba ran away from home and essentially developed post traumatic stress disorder thanks to his shady uncle, he found solace in a warthog and meerkat named Pumbaa and Timon. Voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, the duo provided the comic relief viewers needed after such a traumatic event. They were like an animated version of The Odd Couple and completely opposite in every way. They ate bugs for sustenance and took life as it came. They taught us not to allow the world to harden or break us. Seeing their dichotomy on screen with CGI that doesn’t look like CGI may just be the remedy to adulthood.
“Remember Who You Are”
Don’t hate me, I know this is sort of a sad/angst ridden scene. But this stretch of minutes possessed such an inspiring turning point.
Nala stumbles upon Simba in the jungle while seeking help for Pride Rock. He’s completely hippie-dippie–eating bugs instead of antelopes–and it creeps her out. He tells her he’s changed. She lectures him about his role. He tells her she sounds like his father. Nala replies, “At least one of us does.” Yeah, she pretty much dropped the mic on him.
So what does Simba do? He gets in a mood and starts to feel all the abandoned emotions of his childhood. In a moment alone he looks to the stars and cries out for his father, who then answers in the CLOUDS! Along with the wise words of Rafiki, Simba takes the wisdom he receives and travels back to reclaim the throne of his homeland.
I can picture the live action graphics–the wind and undulating clouds. I can feel the emotion already.
The Climactic Battle
Need I say anything about this scene? It’s two lions fighting! There’s fire and slow motion. There’s also two of the most vicious bitch slaps of all time. Oh, and there’s deceiving cowardice. It’s good vs. evil, but with a few more tablespoons of evil than we’re used to. I mean, c’mon, this whole ordeal went down because Scar was a jealous underachiever with an interest in fraud and get rich quick schemes–at least the lion equivalent of it anyway. He was basically Joanne The Scammer with mousy black hair and a tail.
And of course, if the scenes above didn’t excite you, here’s a great visual of what may be in store.