In 1994 a little lion touched the hearts of the young as well as the old. Since then, the story about Simba and his friends belongs to the most successful animation movies ever. Just in time with the upcoming Christmas season, Walt Disney brings him back to us. This time, breathtaking pictures show us, how the cute and courageous Simba becomes the powerful Lion King.
The question is, if it could be possible to beat a movie like Lion King. The former children which saw the original, are parents now. And, one of the first films, which they showed to their own kids, was certainly the adventure of the brave Simba.
So, what a big challenge for Walt Disney to create a remake, which fulfills the high expectation of the audience. Let’s see, if the biggest filmmaking company worldwide achieved its goal.
THE STORY OF THE LION KING
Simba is a little lion, totally light-hearted and adventurous. His great idol is his father Mufasa. The wise lion king shows Simba his kingdom and its boundaries. Moreover, Mufasa shows Simba his own limits.
As typical for a kid, the young lion knows it better. Thus, Mufasa must protect him against danger day by day. Hence, due to such a rescue mission, Simba loses his beloved father one day.
Ashamed, he leaves his home and starts a great adventure. What he experiences and if he will come back, shows you Walt Disney’s Lion King.
THE CHARACTERS & CAST
THE YOUNG LION KING SIMBA (DONALD GLOVER, JD MCCRARY)
Simba is the son of the wise and powerful Mufasa. He is adventurous and happy until one day his life changes completely.
While the American singer JD McCrary plays the young lion, Donald Glover plays the adult Simba. We know Donald Glover from SOLO: A Sar Wars Story. Furthermore, we saw the actor in Spider Man: Homecoming and other movies). Glover gives Simba a matching, sensitive voice.
THE OLD LION KING MUFASA (JAMES EARL JONES)
Mufasa is the old Lion King. Wisely, proud, responsible. He loves his son, but also his people and kingdom. He tries to show Simba his future tasks and responsibility. Even if he must be tough sometimes, he loves to play and laugh with Simba in the next second.
As in the original Lion King, James Earl Jones gives Mufasa his incomparable voice. Of course, this has a reason. Because, there are just a few actors, with such a majestic and powerful voice.
We heard it already in the Star Wars movies, when Darth Vader appeared. Jones played also in Clear and Present Danger and The Hunt for Red October alongside Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin. Furthermore, he appeared in comedies like Coming to America, to name just a few films of his long career.
SARABI (ALFRE WOODARD)
Sarabi is Mufasa’s wife and Simba’s mother. She is as wise as Mufasa. Furthermore, she is gracious and charming. Sarabi would forget her proudness in order to protect her herd and people. Moreover, she would fight and die for them.
In Lion King, Alfre Woodard gives her voice to the graceful lioness. Before, we saw the charming actress in Star Trek: First Contact, The First Avenger: Civil War. Moreover, she gained international acclaim because of her performance in 12 Years a Slave.
NALA (SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH, BEYONCÉ)
Nala is a gorgeous, charming young lioness. She loves to play with Simba. However, when she hears about her destiny, that she will rule at his side as queen, Nala laughs loud about this.
The beautiful American actress Shahadi Wright Joseph speaks the young Nala. Recently, Shahadi had her breakthrough in “Us”.
In Lion King, super star Beyoncé gives her incredible voice to the older Nala. For almost 20 years, Beyoncé shows her talent as actress. But, first and foremost, she is an outstanding singer. Recently, she has released the great Homecoming: The Live Album.
SCAR (CHIWETEL EJIOFOR)
Scar is the brother of Mufasa. However, he is a dark and devious villain. He is jealous and strives for power. Moreover, he has never forgiven that Mufasa has beat him and became the Lion King.
Chiwetel Ejiofor speaks the cunning dangerous lion. We saw Ejiofor also in 12 Years a Slave and in Doctor Strange. Furthermore, we will see him soon in Maleficent 2.
SHENZI (FLORENCE KASUMBA)
Shenzi is a hyena, which teams up with Scar. Insidious and shrewd, she hates the lions. Additionally, she wants to rule the savanna.
Shenzi is spoken by the German-Ugandan actress Florence Kasumba. The talented artist lives in Berlin, Germany. But she already appeared in the biggest blockbusters. So, she starred in Black Panther. Furthermore, she appeared in The First Avenger: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Besides the Lion King and MCU, Florence also played a role in DC’s universe in the film Wonder Woman.
RAFIKI (JOHN KANI)
Rafiki is the shaman of the kingdom. Furthermore, he is a powerful fighter and a loyal member of the Lion King’s entourage.
We know John Kani, the voice of the wise ape, also from Black Panther. Moreover, he played The First Avenger: Civil War too.
ZAZU (JOHN OLIVER)
Another loyal member of the royal entourage is the hornbill Zazu. On the one hand, he is smart and experienced. On the other hand, he is a bit naive and easy to confuse. However, he would always fight and die for the Lion King.
John Oliver is actually known as an Emmy-awarded writer. In Lion King he gives his voice to Zazu. Thus, he shows, that he is a true multi-talent.
TIMON & PUMBAA (BILLY EICHNER, SETH ROGEN)
The meerkat and common warthog are a true dream team. They become Simba’s friends, after he left the savanna. Moreover, the hilarious guys teach Simba the magic of life in the jungle.
Even if they take the life very easy, they are loyal and brave friends to Simba.
Billy Eichner speaks Timon. We know the actor from films like Angry Birds and Neighbors 2.
In the latter starred Seth Rogen too, who gives his funny voice to Pumbaa in Lion King. Besides, we saw Seth Rogen in Fan Boys, Pineapple Express, The End and many other comedies.
LION KING – THE REVIEW
Disney’s Lion King is simply a wonderful movie. Breathtaking pictures lead us through Africa’s impressive savanna and in its jungle. Everything looks so real in the movie, that you will forget the reality outdoors. It’s just amazing what Walt Disney conjures on the screen.
Nothing appears exaggerated or kitschy. The complete opposite. In the night you feel the cold. On the day you feel the burning sun. Furthermore, you feel the fear and danger. And, of course, you feel the love and happiness.
In the one second you cry, because something sad happens. But in the very next second you have tears in your eyes, because the characters make you laugh. The humor is superb. However, the deep emotions are marvelous.
Another positive fact is, that you will hear all the popular songs, from “Circle of Life” to “Hakuna Matata”. Of course, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” isn’t be missed either.
TIME FOR A NEW TV? THE LION KING ON DVD & BLU-RAY
Of course, in general the film is a feast for the eyes and absolutely worth seeing. But it unfolds its full beauty on a 4K Blu-Ray. Then, the colors of Africa’s savanna will simply blow you away. It seems as would Simba jump out of the screen the very next second. Brilliant.
Moreover, the Blu-Ray contents a lot of bonus material, from “The journey to the Lion King” to a documentary about the animal preservation project “Protect the Pride”.
Besides the authentic pictures, Walt Disney’s relied – mainly – on a cast with African blood in the veins. The superstars, known from Marvel’s blockbusters or great comedies, round up the perfect impression.
Walt Disney’s Lion King is still a movie for the young and the old. It’s simply worth seeing for the complete family. Therefore, we give 10 points for this masterpiece of filmmaking.