It was 1994, the hype and excitement of Lion King was a big deal and I remember telling dad how important it was for me to watch lion king in cinema, and I remember how hard he tried and somehow managed to get 4 tickets for the family, mom, sis me and dad and I remember how I felt I was on top of the world to get to watch it before most of my friends!
The 1994 version was literally magical, it touched every one of every age of every race. There was something universal about the animation, it was the universal feeling of understanding and love that was a major success and this stuck to me as a kid.
If you ever want life lessons, just watch the Lion King it literally covered most of what is needed to survive, life, love and above all responsibility. Every time I was low I had to listen to Hakuna Matata, there was something so joyful and comforting of this song that became every kid and adults motto and pick-up song!
Now imagine for something as captivating as the Original and then hearing that a remake movie version was releasing! this made me worry, was this something they really wanted to tap into and risk it? an evergreen and bigger than life animation as lion king that captivated children and peoples heart globally! I remember first getting to watch the new trailer and though I was in mixed feelings, I had to admit the CGI was pretty damn good! in fact, for me, it was mind-blowing how they tried to have the exact scene but was so realistic! So I promised myself to keep an open mind and watch the movie and re-live my childhood!
Finally, when the day came I was invited to the movie premiere with a lot of excitement I watched the movie… and this is my verdict…
It was mind-blowing!! to not only be able to actually bring the animation back to life but to be able to do justice by bringing the perfect voice cast for each of the epic characters was amazing! hats off to John Favreau to literally have the courage to take this up and make it possible!
I’m not going to tell the story here because 90% of you have already watched Lion King and the story remains almost the same! I do understand most of the viewers had complaints about the characters not having enough expression, but common! do you really expect the Lion to have cartoonish faces? we need to be realistic about this which is why the animals look like animals in this movie!
Here are the following differences you will notice during the movie.
Realistic Looking, very documentary-like quality
One of the biggest and most obvious differences between the two movies is the cinematography. The live-action uses photo-realistic computer-generated visuals to depict the landscape and rich wildlife; the imagery is enough to transport us into a NatGeo documentary. Despite the breathtaking scenery and surreal imagery of wildlife,
Nala’s role is more empowered
Beyonce does justice to the role of Nala, adding a queen like presence which was perfectly apt for the character she voices. Nala manages to escape the pride to seek help. it’s quite empowering to see Nala as a fierce lioness. After she finds Simba and convinces him to return to the kingdom to take down Scar and help his pride, she also takes on Shenzi the hyena in an epic battle.
Zazu and Rafiki roles are slightly changed
Zazu (John Oliver) is more proactive about helping the lions and giving them intel about the kingdom under Scar’s reign than he is in the animated movie.
Rafiki (John Kani) doesn’t have much dialogue in the movie, he is more of an overseer of the kingdom than an active participant. Though he helps Simba realize his true destiny to take over the pride as the king, he doesn’t create the iconic painting of Simba like he does in the original and only takes out his bakora staff (stick) at the end as a defense weapon against the hyenas.
New songs are added and the originals are slightly Improvised
Beyonce introduces her new song “Spirit” which was great! but I wouldn’t compare it to be as good as the classics. I’d suggest you check out the music video on youtube, you can even see Blue-Ivy making a small appearance with her mom!
Scars “Be Prepared” was slightly changed to be a speech more than a song, which was okay but for some reason the voice of “Jeremy Irons” as Scar was perfect but nevertheless the voice of “Chiwetel Ejiofor” did well.
For those of you who have not watched Lion King, “What the hell??” please make sure you watch the animation before you watch the movie so you can be able to compare both the animation and movie!