I’m telling you that to tell you my expectations for this movie were high, the highest I have ever had for a film and yes that includes Avengers Endgame. In fact, I knew going in there would be no way it could live up to what I wanted. Because truth be told, I wanted the original: nothing changed, nothing added, just give me the original with real lions and call it a day. That was never going to happen and I knew that. So what did this 90s Disney kid, mega Lion King fan think of the remake?
The Lion King Movie Review | Is It Worthy Of The Original?
Yes and no. Hear me out.
As far as staying true to the heart of the original and calling back all those memories, yes it is worthy of the original. Watching specific scenes like The Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata I felt just like a kid again seeing The Lion King in theaters for the first time. The emotional moments got me and the overall score just permeated my soul.
My very first thought was, wow. If they don’t win all the awards for the visuals I’ll be shocked. At times it was as if I was sitting watching a National Geographic documentary or riding along on a safari trip. The Lion King is visually stunning and like it’s predecessor, ground breaking. If you thought The Jungle Book was mind blowing, just wait until you see this.
Young Simba and Nala were great. Not that that is surprising considering their voice actors, JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph, portrayed them in the Broadway version. You could tell the two had a ride or die, best friends for life relationship. Not to mention how cute they are. I would go to war to protect these two.
James Earl Jones. That’s it, that’s the sentence. He is Mufasa and he’s amazing, nothing else needs to be said.
Timon and Pumbaa were scene stealers, shocker right? While keeping some of the same jokes as the original, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner brought their own flare and I laughed the whole time. To be clear, this casting was one of the ones I was unsure about, but I was proven wrong. The distraction scene does not include a hula, sorry to disappoint, however I think you will be happy with the adjustment. It’s clever.
Nala’s role is bigger in this film and Beyonce brings it. When she tells Simba she is disappointed in him, you feel it. I enjoyed her portrayal of Nala and the addition of lines for the character. Nala was always a strong presence, but wasn’t given much to work with in terms of lines/screen time. The remake gives Nala her due without it feeling forced or disjointed.
Some of the songs and choreographed arrangements don’t work as well as the original but that was the idea- more realistic. So no, Simba is not jumping across giraffes in crazy colors, Zazu doesn’t get sat on by a rhino, and no one dresses in drag to do the hula. Despite all that, the numbers were fun and you will find yourself singing along.
Along those lines it’s hard for a real lion to emote. Their expressions aren’t as big, the movements are not, well as animated. I think though knowing the original material you can still feel what their feeling, because you know what they are feeling. In our mind, little Simba is crying hard even if he’s not sobbing on screen.
Now for the no.
I would again like to remind you dear readers that my bar was set unattainably high. You may indeed have a different opinion or experience, especially depending on your attachment to the original. I felt like I needed to share where it let me down, so that if you’re like me you could manage your expectations accordingly.
Scar. From the casting announcement to the trailer debut with his voice and look, I have not been a fan. Black mane lions exist in the wild, although they are rare, so the lack thereof threw me off. I was able to get past that but Chiwetel Ejiofor, the voice of Scar, left me feeling underwhelmed.
Jeremy Irons’ voice is iconic, and not something you can easily duplicate. Idris Elba would be the only actor I’ve heard that could come close but he was already the villain Shere Khan. Throughout the film Chiwetel had his moments where he sounded more “Scar-like”, but in the Be Prepared number he came off shrill. Scar is anything but and should only lose his cool at the very end when cornered by the hyenas. On the flip side some friends of mine truly enjoyed his performance while agreeing with me on the next point. So while reviews are helpful, you really have to see it for yourself!
The bigger let down was Simba. Musically, Donald Glover was great. Hakuna Matata, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, loved those. But his speaking performance felt flat, which surprised me. I’ve genuinely enjoyed him in everything I’ve seen but this just didn’t work.
Maybe another viewing will change my mind. I’ll know what to expect and my bar can come down. We are seeing it again with the kids when it hits theaters and I’m sure they will love it.
Is The Lion King kid-friendly?
The Lion King, for the most part, is kid-friendly. I have some cautions for younger children, as cartoon violence and real life violence are vastly different.
Violence in The Lion King
The Lion King might be a little intense for viewers under 8. The original film had several scary moments which are amplified when seeing real animals in peril. Similar to The Jungle Book, the chase scenes in the Elephant Graveyard and the Stampede, as well as the Fight for Pride Rock might be too scary for younger children.
The good thing about remakes- if you know the original you know when these scenes are coming and can cover eyes, hold hands, and reassure accordingly. I still cry like a baby when Mufasa dies, in fact I typically fast forward that part of the DVD, but I couldn’t do it in the screening. If this part gets to your kids as well, a trip to the bathroom or maybe a big hug will help alleviate some of their feelings.
In the original film, when we saw the carnivores eating there was an absence of blood. I remember the hyenas pulling off a strip of zebra meat and it looked like a fruit leather, nothing gory. In the new Lion King, Scar is seen eating an antelope while he discusses Sarabi’s lack of loyalty. You do not see the animal’s head or chunks of its’ body missing, but Scar does have blood around his maw.
It’s also worth noting that when Scar faces the Hyenas again at the end of the film, this time as their enemy, younger children might be scared for how sinister their eyes look as they creep towards him. Again, it parallels the original scene but live action turns the intensity up several notches.
Language in The Lion King
Praise, there are no bad words in this movie. Pumbaa does say the word fart instead of being stopped by Timon like in the original Hakuna Matata. But who doesn’t love a good fart joke? Pumbaa is also heard farting twice, which I’m only telling you so that you’re prepared for some human copycats on the drive home from the theater. They also left out the “why do I always have to save your ahhhhhh” from the original, so not even a hint of a bad word in the whole film.
Final Thoughts: Is The Lion King worth seeing in theaters?
100% yes, The Lion King is worth seeing in theaters. In fact, I would recommend it on the biggest screen possible to truly see how beautiful it really is. But didn’t you say your expectations weren’t met? I did, but like I mentioned, I knew they wouldn’t be.
However, it was true Disney magic to hear those songs again while watching the gorgeous scenes play across the screen. I laughed at the antics of Timon and Pumbaa, sang along with the music, and yes cried. The tears flowed on and off throughout the film. I mostly knew when I would cry, however it surprised me when the tears came as I watched the opening sequence. My heart was just so full.
The Lion King reminded me of why I love the original so much, why it will forever be my favorite Disney film. Is The Lion King worthy of the original? That answer might depend on you and your emotional attachment to the animated film. But I promise you, young or old, skeptic or fan, it will solidify why The Lion King will forever be the greatest Disney film.
The Lion King is in theaters July 18, 2019
Maleficent Mistress Of Evil Full Trailer
It’s been 5 years since the events of the first film and Philip has sought out Aurora to ask her for her hand in marriage. She eagerly agrees but Maleficent isn’t pleased with the news. Although they have a strong bond, it looks like this new alliance is going to put their relationship to the test.
Hatred between man and the fairies still exists. Aurora’s marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration in the kingdom of Ulstead and the neighboring Moors. It’s meant to unite the two worlds, but when an unexpected encounter introduces a powerful new alliance, Maleficent and Aurora are pulled apart to opposing sides in a Great War, testing their loyalties and causing them to question whether they can truly be family.
I’m curious to see if Maleficent’s people will have similar powers to her. Maybe a whole herd of dragons will be coming for you Queen Ingrith. A girl can hope. Either way, Maleficent Mistress of Evil promises to deliver stunning visuals, magical moments, and Maleficent in all her powerful glory.
Maleficent Mistress of Evil is in theaters October 18 2019!
Maleficent Mistress Of Evil Trailer Reaction
Like the army camp scene for instance, this looks lifted right from 1998. It’s only missing the musical number. No, we will not be getting musical numbers in this film but the classic songs will be heard in instrumental form.
Watch the teaser to see the first look at Mulan
When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.
Before running off to join the army, Mulan is being schooled in the ways of how to be a good wife. She is less than thrilled. This is not how she will bring honor to her family. I’ve always admired this aspect of Mulan, that urge to not conform to society’s standards.
Mulan stars Yifei Liu in the title role, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan, Yoson An as Cheng Honghui, Gong Li as Xianniang, and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is directed by Niki Caro and is based on the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.” If you have never read the original source material, I highly recommend it.
Related: Toy Story 4 Review
The Antique Mall is packed full of Pixar Easter Eggs. In fact the filmmakers added Easter Eggs for every Pixar film into the 8,000 sq ft mall. But that isn’t the only part of Toy Story 4 to spot Easter Eggs. So lets get to it. Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t see Toy Story 4.
Toy Story 4 Easter Eggs
Clouds On The Wall, like in Andy’s room, but these clouds are paper and cut out by Bonnie to decorate her room.
One of Bonnie’s classmates is Boo from Monster’s Inc.
Another classmate has a Reptillus Maximus lunchbox from Toy Story That Time Forgot.
In Bonnie’s room she has a photo of the UP House.
Hollywood Legends: Betty White, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, and Allan Oppenheimer voice the preschool toys left in Bonnie’s closet. Their names are Bitey White, Melephant Brooks, Chairol Burnett, and Old Timer.
Dinoco Gas has been in every Toy Story movie and Cars as well.
Gabby Gabby rises up out of the carriage in a move that reminded me of Chucky.
Pizza Planet Truck is the tattoo on the carnival attendant’s leg.
Grape Soda Pin from UP is seen when Woody first reunites with Bo Peep. Her sheep have brought her various items they have scavenged including the pin.
Guitar from Coco is seen hanging up as a prize to be won at the game with Ducky and Bunny.
Also at the carnival, there is a large stuffed banana wearing the purple wizard hat from the Pixar short Presto.
On the side of one cardinal game is a painting of a robot, a nod to Wall-E.
The game features bullseyes and colors similar to Toy Story Midway Mania.
Pixar Easter Eggs in the Toy Story 4 Antique Mall
Pixar and Second Chance Antiques share an address: #1200
Ursula’s Necklace in the display case where the register is located.
Eiffel Tower from Ratatouille is seen shrunken down.
Record player is playing a greatest hits record for Ernesto De La Cruz on Chalupa Records from Coco.
PJ’s Pop sign from A Bug’s Life.
Riley’s Dad from Inside Out is one of the people walking around.
The Luxo Ball from Luxo Jr. can be seen when the toys look down into the Second Chance Antiques from the ceiling.
Angel Kitty from Toy Story That Time Forgot.
Woody pretends to be a Mickey Mouse phone.
8mm film projector is sitting next to a stack of film reels, all of which are named after Pixar shorts including “Lifted.”
In the same sequence look for a stack of napkins on a shelf with the phrase “Wally B.” That refers to The Adventures of André & Wally B., one of the very earliest shorts by the Lucasfilm division that would become Pixar.
Inside Gabby Gabby’s cabinet, there is a plate with Merida’s Clan Sigil on it. Merida is from Brave.
Dogs with Muntz painting, look for Dug and Alpha from UP!
Triple Dent Gum sign from Cars and Inside Out. Great the jingle is stuck in my head!
Eggman Movers sign from Toy Story.
Hud’s Garage sign from Cars.
Fat Cow Farms also from the first Toy Story.
Poultry Palace sign from the Toy Story Toon: Small Fry.
A113 is seen as a piece of art.
Papa Rivera’s Pure Pork Lard sign for Toy Story 4 producer and Oscar winner Jonas Rivera.
Catmull’s Cream Soda sign pays homage to Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull.
Look for a Hidden Mickey in the gumballs.
Monster’s Inc Scream Canister
The kid whom Duke Caboom belonged to, looks like Jordan from Riley’s First Date.
Pinball Machine features the Tiki Heads from Finding Nemo.
Tin Toy, the precursor to Toy Story, is one of the toys inside the Pinball Machine.
Also inside the pinball machine are vintage Star Wars toys.
Toy Story 4 Pop Culture Easter Eggs
Ducky and Bunny say some of the funniest of the pop culture references in Toy Story 4.
In a galaxy far, far away from Star Wars.
In space, no one can hear you scream from Alien.
Later on at the end of the film they are talking to the Stuffed Frogs from Toy Story 3 from and they make references to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride as well as Rainbow Connection, a song sung by Kermit The Frog.
In The Muppets Most Wanted, Kermit references Toy Story 4 in the song We’re Doing A Sequel: “While they wait for Tom Hanks to make Toy Story 4.”
Buzz Lightyear inner voice says “Open the pod bay doors!” which is a line from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When Duke successfully makes his jump at the end of the film, he is seen flying through the air in front of a bright, full moon. This is an homage to E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
Duke Caboom says “Whoa” which is a famous line from The Matrix. Duke Caboom is voiced by Keanu Reeves who starred in The Matrix.
Looking for more Disney Easter Eggs?
Catch all these Toy Story 4 Easter Eggs when you see Toy Story 4 in theaters now!
Meet The New Toys in Toy Story 4
Forky, voiced by Tony Hale, is a craft-project-turned toy that Bonnie absolutely adores. Forky on the other hand declares he is trash, not a toy. You can only imagine the kind of chaos that ensues as Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. It’s not going to be easy though, nothing about parenting ever is Woody.
Related: Meet Forky From Toy Story 4
I knew from the onset of promos, Forky would be a new favorite for me. He literally embodies all the crazy craft projects you or I made as children. Could you imagine what all those pet rocks would say to us? While I’ve read some are worried Forky might be “too much” for audiences to handle, I promise you he’s the right amount of much. He is a funny and endearing little Spork the whole family is going to love.
Ducky and Bunny
My second and third? new must have toys are Ducky & Bunny. These adorable albeit sassy carnival prizes are voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. That right there is enough to make you love them. These two have a real world experience that is very different to the toys of Andy’s Room. Ducky and Bunny have seen some things.
These toys bring a lot of comedic relief to the film and as I mentioned a different point of view. They haven’t lived the toy store to the house posh life. Ducky and Bunny are a bit grittier, tougher, and more likely to throw shade your way. They’ve been waiting for years to be won, but we all know those games are rigged so their chances are next to none. Poor plushes.
I know Disney+ is planning a show with Forky but I’m here to campaign for a Ducky & Bunny spin-off. Maybe they can react to other movie trailers like they did for Toy Story 4. I would watch it.
Yes he CANada! Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves, is a 1970s toy based on Canada’s greatest stuntman. Riding his powerful Caboom stunt-cycle, Duke is always prepared to show off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger. However, Woody learns quickly that Duke has an Achilles heel: He has never been able to do the awesome stunts advertised in his own toy commercial.
For years, Duke has been sitting in an antique store, constantly reliving the failures of his tragic past if anyone mentions kids. Duke is a good guy though and with a little encouragement agrees to help Bo and Woody. Will Duke finally pull off his greatest stunt yet? You’ll have to watch to find out.
This 1950s pull-string doll, voiced by Christina Hendricks, might look sweet and innocent but she is calculating and a little but creepy. She suffers from a damaged voice box, while her record is fine, the player itself is broken making her cutesy doll voice sound like something not of this world.
Because of this, she was never bought or played with. Her life has been spent forgotten in the depths of the antique store. Gabby Gabby dreams of one day being played with by a little girl but this wish drives her to try and steal Woody’s voice box. Her only companions are a band of voiceless ventriloquist dummies, led by Benson, the one with the red bow tie.
Benson and the Ventriloquist Dolls
That brings me to Benson and the Ventriloquist Dolls. According to Director Dave Cooley, each antique store they visited while researching for the film included discarded ventriloquist dummies. Creepy right? The team at Pixar studied the way these dolls were built and how they moved in order to give Benson and his gang a realistic, boneless feel.
Each Dummy in Toy Story 4 is slightly different so you can tell them apart. Benson, the leader, is the only one with a red bow tie. This gang of dolls serves as the silent toy patrol of the antique mall. They report anything to Gabby Gabby through some eery whispers and clicks.
Last but not least, meet Giggle McDimples, voiced by Ally Maki. Giggles is Bo Peep’s right hand woman and best friend. She is confident, supportive, and a voice of reason for Bo. She is a 1980s mini toy that reminds me instantly of all my Polly Pockets.
Giggles McDimples may be small but she is mighty. This toy knows how to survive out there in the world and is tougher than she looks. I love the friendship between her and Bo. Every girl needs a Giggle McDimples in their life.
Toy Story 4 Trailer
Meet all the new toys in Toy Story 4 when they come to theaters June 21, 2019! Tickets on sale now!