The Lion King
Review by Myla Tosatto
You would think that the newest version of The Lion King would have had me at the iconic ‘Circle of Life’ moment that sees the African wildlife welcoming their new prince. Well, you would be right. But the moment when Zazu (John Oliver) bows to Mufasa (James Earl Jones) hit me in all the feels and I was never able to recover. I am mad for The Lion King (this version anyway). Director Jon Favreau (who is KILLING it this summer with this movie and as Happy in Spider-Man: Far From Home) had big shoes to fill remaking the 1994 animated classic and he did it mightily.
The 2019 version is not that different from the 1994 version. Simba (JD McCrary) is born to Sarabi (Alfre Woodard) and Mufasa. While waiting to be king, Simba pals around with Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph), takes dubious advice from his Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), almost gets eaten by hyenas (Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre, and Keegan-Michael Key), flees his birthright and meets up with the fun-loving duo of Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen). As young Simba grows into adulthood (this is where Donald Glover comes in), Nala (Beyonce Knowles-Carter) arrives telling him to get his tail back home and reclaim his crown.
See? Pretty much the same story (with the beloved Elton John Tim Rice songs there and updated in beautiful and fun ways) is in place. I know the next thing you want to know is if it’s suitable for children. THAT, I cannot answer. There is violence and death in both versions of The Lion King. One is animated in a cartoon fashion, the other is much more lifelike (but the blood was kept to a minimum or completely left out). How much can your child handle? Have they seen the original? Do they know what happens to Mufasa? Do you feel you have to explain a Shakespearean play to make them understand Scar’s actions? Will they be able to hold their heads up high on the playground if they don’t get to experience Beyonce and Donald Glover singing a duet? These are all things you might want to consider.
What I will say is this- GO. SEE. THIS. MOVIE. And make sure you see it on the big screen. It is beautiful. Even if you feel like you want to leave the kids at home, see it yourself for nostalgia’s sake. You will be singing Hakuna Matata for the rest of your days!
Lion King is NOW playing in theaters. Check out Enza’s Trailer reaction video from months ago.