Although the remake of «The Lion King» animated in CGI is practically one frame per frame from the original, there are some subtle (and some not so much) differences in the film’s tone and aesthetic search for this new version. Here we tell you what they are and how they work.
Character designHaving as a previous the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book by Jon Favreau, the same director now summoned for The Lion King, Disney sought to make this film as realistic as possible. So much so that at times it gives the impression that we are watching a documentary in the best National Geographic style, even if everything is computer-animated. To achieve this, the filmmakers traveled for two weeks to Africa and placed cameras in the Disney Animal Kingdom park. Thus they managed to capture the real behaviors of wild animals, to have as a reference when it came to animating them. However, this level of hyperrealism detracted from the characters’ expressiveness.
Zazu (voiced by John Oliver) is one of the characters who suffered the most in the redesign, losing all the histrionics of the original
Elephant CemeteryIn the sequence of the first encounter between Simba and the hyenas, these are many more than three and look more menacing and aggressive. The jokes and cartoonish moments of the original were omitted, all in pursuit of the realism of the scene. But the one that underwent the most radical changes was Scar’s speech, stripped of the symbolism he had in the 1994 animated version. The musical number of «Be Prepared» was directly based on a Nazi parade, but all those references were softened in the remake. In addition, the song performed by Chiwetel Ejiofor in this version is much shorter, more spoken and less histrionic than that popularized by Jeremy Irons in the original soundtrack.
Hyenas have much less involvement in the new music scene that functions as Scar’s manifesto
I would already like to be the kingAnother of the iconic musical moments of The Lion King is the declaration of intentions of the young Simba, who in the original weapon together with Nala a display of color and fun in the middle of the African savannah, much to Zazu’s chagrin. The new version of «I wish I was already king», is much more sober and involves far less species than in the original, in order to make it more «realistic» and that everything fits the natural behavior of the animals. It doesn’t even have the iconic image of Simba with the mane of leaves, which became one of the most classic in the original film. But it is worth noting that it is very well integrated into the plot, as are the rest of the musical paintings.
Simba and Nala design the plan, which includes a musical number, to throw Zazu off and lose him on the way to the elephant cemetery
The gorgeIn the new version, Scar takes his nephew to the gorge with the excuse that he finds his roar and tells him of an old family tradition, which serves as an alibi. Simba’s desire to be accepted and become a faster adult lion is exploited by his uncle even more cunningly than in the original film. This is a villain who better hides his intentions and plays long-term. Instead of stamping Zazu against a stone so that he won’t tell the rest of the pack about what’s going on, he asks him to alert the lionesses, knowing that he’ll never make it in time and Scar will be able to count his own version of the Facts.
After the stampede, Scar orders the hyenas to kill Simba, but they take him for dead without knowing he escapes
Hakuna MatataIn this version, Simon and Pumba reflect on their philosophy of life, when confronted with Simba’s vision. Unlike the original, in which they had no regard for the consequences of their actions, in this version they admit that the «circle of life» theory (or the endless cycle, as it was known in Latin dubbing) would ruin the principles of «Hakun Matata.» In addition to the friendly wild boar and the cunning suricata, other animals of that habitat also live in the jungle, which gives the guidethatase that Simba shows much more restriction, unlike the original where he had no prey to hunt.
This time Timon is played by Billy Eichner and Pumba by Seth Rogen, who provides one of the best voice works in the film
The importance of NalaThe surprise factor played a key role in the original version, when Nala appeared hunting in the jungle and suddenly encountered her old childhood friend. Now that the story is known around the world, Disney took the liberty of giving a little more background to the lioness (who now carries the voice of the megastar Beyoncé). In the King’s Rock, Nala incites the herd to rebel and overthrow Scar, but the older lionesses respect tradition and advise him to do the same. However, she defies Scar’s reign and – with Zazu’s help – escapes in search of food and help beyond the confines of the kingdom.
The romantic theme «Tonight Is To Love» composed by Elton John, is performed in this version by Beyoncé and Donald Glover (voice d’Simba)
The personality of RafikiOne of the biggest misadventures of this new remake, was to strip Rafiki of all the extravagant features that made him a great character in the original, the favorite of many. His personality was that of an unconventional advisor, connected with mysticism rather than traditions. However, this new version shows much more formal and structured. He does not sing above a tree to attract Simba’s attention or hit him with a stick to teach him a lesson. In fact, the character’s signature staff appears near the end of the film, more like a nod to those who saw the original version. A real pity, especially considering that being a monkey, they could have played more with their anthropomorphic traits.
A much more Rafiki grounded, stripped of his eccentric personality and with far fewer dialogues (played by John Kani)
Remember who you areIf of iconic moments we talk, one of the most unforgettable scenes of Disney’s animated classics is that of Mufasa speaking to her son literally from the sky, in the forms of the clouds. Parodied to infinity, it became a classic of popular culture. However, in this new version they decided not to do so, subtracting from that moment so emotional their characteristic brand. While Mufasa’s voice (again in the voice of James Earl Jones) is heard and the speech is similar, the whole scene lacks the emotion generated by the original. Even the music was softened and, even if it is the composers themselves, it fails to generate the impact it had on its original version.
All the original composition of new songs for this film gives them the possibility to compete in the Oscars
Live BaitPer one of the best moments of this new version of «The Lion King» and one of the most successful changes with respect to the original, is the incorporation of a comic reference to one of its greatest animated classics. The moment Timon and Pumba must distract the hyenas so that Simba and Nala can approach the King’s Rock, instead of dancing the hula, the meerkat imitates the grandiose Lumiére by saying «ma chere mademoiselle» and sings the first lines of La Bella’s central theme and the Beast «Be our guest» (Our guest, in the Latin version). This comic relief moment proves that a little more humor in the film could have worked very well.
The dynamic duo of Timon and Pumba in the original version reworks in the new one, although not so strongly
Scar’s confession Resuming the plan conceived in the gorge, Scar blames Simba in front of the entire herd for what happened to Mufasa. As in the original, he admits his guilt but clarifies that it was an accident, to which the lionesses react with more drama and reluctance than in the animated version. Scar takes advantage of this moment of weakness to throw Simba from the King’s Rock, but he makes the grave mistake of confessing that he saw «fear in Mufasa’s eyes» in a loud enough voice for everyone to hear. Although he whispers to Simba «his little secret,» Sarabi confronts him in front of the herd and it is only then that they believe Simba.
Simba returns to claim his place as a rightful heir to the King’s Rock and everything ends just like in the original
The remake of «El Rey León» premieres today July 18 in all theaters in Argentina, being the third Disney in a single year, after Dumbo and Aladdin.In this note: