Mufasa and Simba on the edge of a cliff looking at the sunset in Disney's live-action film of "The Lion King,"

‘The Lion King’ Movie Trailer Thoughts

Everything the lights touches is our kingdom.

– Mufasa

With the advances in technology, we have new content that looks hyper-realistic in everything from video games, to television shows, and in movies. Disney has always been at the forefront of the technology waves, riding them as far out and as often as possible. It appears that in order to renew their licensing on some of their older films, Disney has started testing the realistic features of bringing animals to life via 3D technology.

The Jungle Book was the first of Disney’s films to get this touch, followed (to some degree) by Dumbo. Of the two movies, The Jungle Book was far more successful and enjoyable to watch. And knowing that Disney audiences love animals almost as much as they love princesses, Disney is once again animating a classic movie with this new technology and bringing a familiar tale to “life” with The Lion King.

Official movie poster for Disney's live-action film "The Lion King"

In regard to all those “Top Movies/Favorite Movies” posts on social media…

The Lion King is my top film, ever. Of every movie I have seen, none have had the impact and lasting thrill of this Disney classic. Before it came out in theaters, I watched every trailer I could find that would play at the start of some of my favorite VHS tapes. I read every article written about the movie. I read every book. I absorbed all I could about The Lion King before I ever saw it in the movie theater. Then the big day arrived and I couldn’t wait to see it again as soon as I left the theater. I laughed, I cried, and I begged everyone I could to buy me any and everything related to The Lion King.

I love this movie. No, seriously, I’m slightly obsessed. I collected all of the trading cards, I bought every piece of merchandise I could find. I even created a project for school about The Lion King, and I begged my choir teacher to let us sing a song from it in our upcoming school performance (she did—it was “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” and I was THRILLED!). I have also been fortunate enough to see the musical performance of The Lion King in Boston, MA and again in Austin, TX! So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw the teaser trailer for the next “live action” Disney movie coming soon.

Official poster for the Broadway musical "The Lion King"

Let’s Get Reel (Bad Movie Pun, I Know)

Initial thoughts on the remake

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of seeing my beloved The Lion King being remade in hyper-realistic animation style. It seemed so… strange. Why remake a perfectly good classic? And I wasn’t alone in my thoughts about the teaser, either. A lot of people flocked to social media to comment on what they had seen and the overall consensus seemed that the movie was doomed to fail. Not many seemed happy about the film, and many critiqued it as being a terrible way to advertise a “live action” film remake.

The film is “hyper-realistic”

So, let’s break this down for you: The Lion King was animated by hand and shown in movie theaters back in 1994. It quickly became one of the most successful Disney movies to date and had an all-star cast and a soundtrack that was utterly beloved by many. Fast-forward to 2019 and we are faced with a new, styled rendition of The Lion King, set to debut this July. Some things to note are that this new version of The Lion King is not a “live action” film, but rather a hyper-realistic version, which features 3D animation for the animals and landscapes throughout. Another very important distinction is that this movie is not a remake, it is a re-imagining of the classic tale.

These two distinctions seem to be left out of most other reviews. It’s a shame because The Lion King deserves a fair chance at the hearts of young and old alike without the bias that the movie will “never live up to what Disney wants it to become.” We honestly don’t know what Disney wants for this film, so let’s be patient as we wait to see how much this re-imagining will hold our interest.

Perfection Is Not Guaranteed

A perfect remake of The Lion King would be hard to do. The classic from 1994 is simply perfect on its own and no remake even now could stand up against what that movie was for so many (myself included). But this newer version of The Lion King, this re-imagining, is becoming clearer with each trailer released for the film. We see the colors are more muted and natural, the animals look more realistic and wild, and the voices of this new all-star cast are lending themselves well to their roles already. We haven’t seen much in way of how the animals will be animated to speak, nor how the movie will play out, but we have seen enough to make some important distinctions between the two movies, especially when it comes to the script and the color pallet.

Shot-by-Shot Trailer Comparison

Check out IMDB’s shot-by-shot trailer comparison between the 1994 animated film and the 2019 live-action film.

Color and Script Differences

People have already pointed out the colors seem dull and uninteresting in this new film. When compared to the vibrant and sometimes fun-colored scenes from the original, the 2019 version seems really colored for despair. Anyone who has seen the original film knows that this story does hinge on a very pivotal moment of despair, but that the entire movie shouldn’t look so dull. Keep in mind that in this re-imagining of The Lion King the focus is this hyper-realistic animation style, which lends itself well to the more muted and familiar tones of the actual world we are living in. This new style of animation doesn’t want to remake the bright, colorful scenes from the original, but rather wants to revisit Pride Rock and all the land around it as naturally as possible. In order to make the movie believable, you need a believable setting, and this movie is achieving this despite looking dull in comparison to its predecessor.

Other changes to note

The dialog we hear in the first trailer is from Mufasa, but the second trailer is all from Scar (with some Timon and Pumba featured at the end). We can already hear changes in how the lines are presented as well as what is being said. To compare the second trailer with the original movie now opens up the newer rendition for more contrast and a better look at how this re-imagining will work. We can see pieces of the storyline being picked up and revisited so that The Lion King becomes fresh and new, despite it already being well-known to a great population of its audience.

View the official trailer for the upcoming film!

The movie itself is also going through revisions as we can see from the difference in baby Simba’s face between the first teaser trailer, and the second trailer. I expect more minor changes to occur throughout the final rendering phases of the movie. I’m not sure the color pallet will become much brighter, but maybe they will incorporate some sunnier shots so we can see the Pride Rock seem to light up and stand out among its backdrop.

Simba’s baby photo comparison / Image credit:

Final Thoughts

My hopes and curiosities

Despite the rough welcome The Lion King 2019 has received online, it is still a stunning looking movie and the animals all seem to look and act quite natural.

  • I’m curious to see how the pivotal plot points will turn out in this re-imagining and whether they will still have such a big impact on me personally.
  • I hope to see more exploration of Scar’s character and maybe more screen time for Sarabi.
  • I’m also curious to see if this new look at The Lion King will feature some of the changes that the musical has such as additional songs, or more interactions between Zazu and Mufasa.
  • Also the ending… will it conclude with the circle of life coming full circle again? Will we get any hints of Scar’s rogue pride? I guess we’ll see what makes the cut into this new movie!

I’m hoping for a lot of things from The Lion King, but I’m not comparing it to the original anymore. I’m giving this one a fair shot at the classic tale, but from a different direction. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of the same plot points (Simba literally stepping in his father’s footsteps for one), but maybe in a slightly different manner. I’d love a better look into the characters besides Simba (can we get a combination movie of The Lion King and The Lion King 1½?) but I’ll be happy to see some of my favorite animals come to life with this re-imagining. If Disney is truly looking to make this a very realistic experience for a movie, I’m expecting to see some new animals in the mix or at least more of them in the backgrounds of each scene.

Are you excited to see The Lion King in theaters on July 19, 2019? If so, what are your thoughts on this re-imagining of the classic tale? Let us know @GeekGalsco or in the comments below.

Featured image credit: Disney

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