5 Things We Loved About Disney’s The Lion King Remake

Disney’s hugely anticipated 2019 remake of The Lion King finally hits the big screen this Friday! Directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book) and starring an incredible cast including the likes of Beyoncé, Seth Rogan and Donald Glover, it brings the beloved classic to a modern audience. Can’t wait to find out what it’s all about? Pssst… we’ve already seen it, so here’s what we loved and learned…

1. It’s the story and the music we all know and love

Die-hard The Lion King fans needn’t worry (Hakuna matata!) – the new version features pretty much the same storyline as the original. Rediscover your favourite characters in the most realistic way possible and sing along to the classic songs that have been reimagined with a brand new modern feel. Director Jon Favreau felt it was important to stay true to the story: “Disney has had tremendous success with the original animated version and then the Broadway musical. I knew that I had to be very careful with it. I wanted to demonstrate that we could be respectful of the source material while bringing it to life using mind-blowing techniques and technologies. It’s like magic. We’re reinventing the medium. We’re not reinventing the story.”

2. It’s just as revolutionary as the original

“In my opinion, the original film is the greatest animated film ever made,” says screenwriter Jeff Nathanson. Lead by Favreau, the production team brings The Lion King to the big screen in a whole new way that’s just as revolutionary as the original was back in its day. The truly remarkable CGI was created by employing an evolution of storytelling technology that blends live-action filmmaking techniques with photo-real computer-generated imagery. Then state-of-the-art virtual-reality tools allowed Favreau to walk around in the virtual set, scouting and setting up shots as if he were standing in Africa alongside Simba. Once the film was created within VR, the artists, technicians, live-action professionals and cutting-edge animators created what is essentially a new way to make a movie – to the point where it’s almost impossible to say whether it’s live action or animation…

3. It’s meant to trigger childhood memories

“We are dealing with very engaged audiences that oftentimes have grown up with these properties. And they have an emotional connection to them—in certain cases spanning generations within their family. So, you’re not just remembering The Lion King, you’re remembering The Lion King when you were 7, or when you brought your kid to it, or when you saw it then later introduced it to your kid. People have a whole basket of memories and emotions that are related to this movie, and there’s a certain protectiveness that people feel because those memories belong to them,” says Favreau. If hearing “Nants’ Ingonyama” instantly triggers a feeling in you, expect to get nostalgic…

4. The sets feel extremely real for a reason

Watching the film, you’ll feel like you just jetted off to the African savanna – and for good reason: the sets are in fact based on actual locations in Kenya. Favreau went on safari in Africa six months before meeting with Disney about The Lion King. To honour the story and the place where it is set, Favreau wanted to find a way to transport audiences to the savanna to experience the majesty of it all. So he sent the production team on a mission to Africa. Producer Jeffrey Silver says that “he said, ‘Keep it real.’ He wanted everything in the movie to be rooted in reality. He felt that if we started improving upon reality, we’d be headed down a slippery slope toward an unbelievable, unrelatable and unemotional film. Our mission was to keep everything as natural as possible— the right species, the right colours of rocks, the light of a sunrise or sunset, the night sky, the right types of plants.”

5. Beyoncé and Donald Glover, of course 

‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ performed by Beyoncé and Donald Glover sound good to you? Well it’s probably even better than what you’re imagining right now. The two superstars voice the grown-up characters of Simba and Nala and naturally also perform a number of the songs. Favreau says “even if you don’t know the film or stage show, there is a spiritual strength in it [the soundtrack]. But if you know the film, and if you grew up with this music—now it can suddenly and immediately evoke the story itself, as well as all the connected memories and emotions that you have from your own past experience with The Lion King.” You’re in for a treat…

 

The Lion King is out in cinemas 19th July 2019…

 

What to wear when you see the movie…