The new trailer for Jon Favreau’s The Lion King has arrived and, boy, it looks visually flawless. In fact, I’m no longer convinced this a CG animated film—it’s live-action. They somehow found a jungle full of first-time acting animals, offered them a good salary, and shot this film on location.
Just look at this beast:
Once you’ve wiped your eyes, consider what your ears just experienced too. Yes, that reprised score still delivers chills, but it’s also great to hear Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, going full thespian as Jeremy Irons did in the original.
And then there’s James Earl Jones, doing pretty much the exact same bass-baritone job as he did in the first film. Why mess with perfection, right?
We also see the scene at the elephant graveyard, which looks just like the first film. There’s also the stampede sequence—straight from the first film. And then there’s the timelapse montage ripped right out of the storyboards of the first film…
To be honest, I’m really not big on all this repeated material, and that bums me out a little. I’d be more on board if they also showed some tweaks and diversions from the story we already know, similar to what they did with the last Aladdin trailer. But I’m not seeing any of that here.
“Why change something that’s literally perfect!?!?” Because then you set yourself up to match perfection, but never succeed it. By shifting the path, you allow for two films that are great for their own separate reasons, rathern than one that eclipses the other. Faverau pulled this off before with 2016’s The Jungle Book, which strayed far enough from the 1967 version to where both can be enjoyed for very different reasons.
As our old mate Rafiki wisely said: “Change is good.” Hopefully, we’ll get more of that in the finished product.
There is one subtle, but significant, change I spied in this trailer. Rather than teaching Simba that whatever they do is all good because their bodies become grass for antelope or whatever, Mufasa emphasises how the act of giving defines a good king—not the act of taking. Seems like a moral you’d think was in the original, but actually kinda wasn’t.
Here’s hoping this points to a new Circle of Life, instead of just a flat circle.