It’s 25 years since The Lion King‘s release: June 15, 1994. My mom took me to see the movie, and told me life-changing news. I was going to be a big sister! Last weekend, my mom and I repeated history seeing the reboot together.
The Lion King’s Plot
The Lion King takes place in Africa, with animal species making up the kingdom. The movie opens with the sun rising to metaphorically welcome the birth of a new lion cub: Simba. Scar is dangerously jealous of his nephew Simba, which makes him not in line to be king behind his brother, Mufasa. Not only does Scar murder Mufasa, he advises Simba to “run away and never return”. Scar breaks the news about Mufasa’s death and believe that the hyenas kill Simba as he asked, to ensure his role as king. Meanwhile, Timon and Pumbaa rescue Simba from a group of vultures, as he grows up in their care.
Years later, lioness Nala seeks help to restore Pride Rock from Scar’s reign and reunites with Simba. Still feeling guilt from what Scar told him, Simba doesn’t want to go back home. Instead, he goes for a walk and runs into Rafiki. Rafiki shows him that Mufasa’s spirit lives in Simba’s soul, and influences him to Pride Rock. Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, and the other lions assist Simba to battle Scar and the hyenas. Scar reveals he was the one who killed Mufasa, and lies that the hyenas forced him. Scar falls off a cliff while wrestling Simba, but the hyenas eat him! As king, Simba restores Pride Rock with Nala as queen, and Rafiki holds up their new daughter to the kingdom.
Reboot Differences from Original
- The original film used 3D animation based on hand drawings. This reboot uses motion capture virtual reality, making all the animals look life-like.
- Scar’s main hyenas are Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi. In the original, the guys are Banzai and Ed.
- In “Be Prepared“, Scar chants his Mufasa murder plan briefly.
- Scar offers a relationship to Simba’s mother Sarabi, and discloses she romantically chose Mufasa over him.
- Rafiki barely speaks, even when guiding Simba.
- Timon and Pumbaa sing two verses of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight“.
Reboot All-Star Cast
- Donald Glover plays and sings as adult Simba. He’s Childish Gambino, acted in Community, The Muppets, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- Beyoncé Knowles-Carter plays and sings adult Nala. She debuted in Destiny’s Child, collaborated with her husband Jay-Z, and solo work. Other movies she’s known in are Austin Powers in Goldmember, The Pink Panther, Dreamgirls, and Cadillac Records.
- James Earl Jones plays Simba’s father Mufasa in both films, and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride. He’s acted over 5 decades, including CNN’s voiceover, Star Wars‘ Darth Vader, Field of Dreams, The Sandlot, and Robots.
- Alfre Woodard plays Simba’s mother Sarabi. She’s noted from Scrooged, Dinosaur, Take the Lead, and 12 Years a Slave.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mufasa’s younger brother and Simba’s uncle, Scar. He acted in Love Actually, Kinky Boots, American Gangster, 12 Years a Slave, andThe Martian.
- Billy Eichner plays Timon. He’s noted for Billy on the Street, briefly in Parks and Recreation, Hairspray Live!, and The Angry Birds Movie.
- Seth Rogen plays Pumbaa. For almost 20 years, he’s acted in comedies and animation films.
- John Oliver plays Zazu. He got discovered on The Daily Show, acted in Community, and does Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
- John Kani plays Rafiki. He’s T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War, and Black Panther.
Elton John composed the songs on the original soundtrack. Three were nominated Best Original Song: “Circle of Life“, “Hakuna Matata“, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won. Elton sings and wrote “Never Too Late” for this new release. Hans Zimmer won Best Original Score, and composed it for this new film too.
In addition to the soundtrack, Beyoncé put together The Lion King: The Gift which has excerpts from the movie with new songs.
I wonder if Disney will remake The Lion King II: Simba’s pride, about Simba’s daughter Kiara. Which of The Lion King films is your favorite?
Special thank you to Disneypedia’s Sierra and JM, for this great Lion King themed bracelet!