Disney already gets most of our money, what with Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and their revolving door of animated classics being turned into live action films. This year alone they’ve taken $4 billion off us with just Marvel and Pixar. But that’s not enough. It will never be enough, not until Disney is debiting our paychecks directly. For 2019 they’ve got lined up, among others, Avengers 4, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, The Rock in Jungle Cruise, and THREE cartoons-turned-live action flicks: Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King. We’ve already gotten a look at future hit Dumbo, and now we have a teaser for The Lion King and oh my god, Disney is going to take ALL of our money.
This is a teaser trailer of Jon Favreau’s remake which is being called “live action” but looks like a whole lot of animation. At least his do-over of The Jungle Book did have a human character in it. But The Lion King is all animals, and the process here results in photo-real animals bounding across the screen and it looks AMAZING. It looks like it was shot on the actual Serengeti. It’s gorgeous, it’s majestic, it really does look so beautiful.
But also like, why? This teaser is a shot-for-shot remake of the opening of the animated Lion King. Is this what the new movie is? A shot-for-shot remake? It’s not that it’s pointless, it’s just that it is without point. At least with The Jungle Book, Favreau had a chance to fix some stuff that didn’t age well in the original. But I don’t see a reason for this exercise, as handsome as it looks, beyond “money”, and that is a callow reason, indeed. Yes, it looks great. And Beyoncé is voicing Nala. And "Hakuna Matata" with photo-real animals is undoubtedly going to be “The Beast sh-tting in the toilet guy’s mouth” levels of bizarre. But it’s still just a money grab. A very good looking, very expensive money grab that will absolutely work. The Lion King will make a billion dollars.
I’m sure it will be good! We’re all going to see it, and we’re all going to cry buckets—Mufasa’s death is already traumatic, can you IMAGINE what it will be like with a photo-real lion? And there is Beyoncé! And she is using her full, double-barrel surname of “Knowles-Carter”! Is this how she wants to be known as an actress, separate from her music career? Or is this a situation like Lady Gaga and A Star is Born, where she was referred to as “Stefani Germanotta” for a minute before deciding the branding was better as Lady Gaga? I have Questions about Beyoncé’s name in the credits. I also have a lot of questions about the making of the "Hakuna Matata" bit because, once again, picture that number “performed” by photo-real animals IN HULA SKIRTS. I’m not super into The Lion King except for its potential to unintentionally become very, very weird.