‘Was it really necessary?’, some might cry. Was it really necessary to bring The Lion King back to life? To relive the fond memories from those years when we were just that little bit extremely more innocent and childlike? That wonderful story was powerful enough to be a once-off. A cluster of emotions, tears, laughter and animated adventures … that, as album stickers today, leave us a little cold. No complaints about CGI technology, where the antelopes look like they’ve literally jumped directly off the pages of National Geographic, but plenty of talking points concerning Disney’s imperative need to travel back in time, more specifically to 1994, and rehash what we’ve already discovered. That timeless line issued by the mandrill Rafiki to Simba, ‘remember who you are’ is non-stop here. Well, for the little kid who loved those Disney classics, they’re back, just on the off chance that we forget them. But don’t forget, before you start reminiscing, first let’s be seeing them dollars please, thank you! The company has done it time and time again. Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Aladdin … It feeds off our memories. And if you don’t believe me, just check out the figures. The movie has already grossed $530 million in under a week.
The problem is that many of us have lived through these stories before. We know how it’s going to end, and even though we’re gob smacked by the incredible tech advances, the stampede no longer has us on the edge of our seats. Even dry eyes at Mufasa’s death … We’ve been there, done that (and rewound) a million times … so much so that we miss the original production. Lucky are the kids of today who never experienced The Lion King like yours truly here: the generation who picked up the baton from the 90’s kids. The ones who experienced were the blockbuster’s original audience, singing along with the songs, reliving those magic moments, the brilliant dialogues … Being a child in 2019 and watching a pig that looks more realistic than you do singing and chatting away might be just dandy. The fact of the matter is, contemplating the animals you’ve only ever seen in the zoo or in the movies moving their mouths just like you must be, to say the least, a dream come true. I cannot praise Jon Favreau’s digital image editing skills highly enough. It really is exquisite to watch. That said, you can’t help pining for the emotions. Those big, pools for eyes cartoon Simba has … I’m sorry, but nothing compares 2 them.
A shining light in this ever-so-familiar tale are the duo Timon and Pumbaa. They’re still the life and soul of the party and manage to get a laugh from us again. Watching their goings-on is just as much fun today as it was when we saw the movie perched on the sofa at home next to our parents, who, thanks to us, we’re blessed enough to watch the movie on a perpetual loop for a year a couple of thousand times. That odd couple of friends recover their carefree motto of ‘Hakuna Matata’ the rest of us actually so rarely put into practice. But don’t worry, Disney’s there to remind us.