My nostalgia is my cub’s adventure!
By Priyanka Loonker
The Lion King was my absolute favorite while growing up. I probably saw it at least 50 times, enjoying the animation, songs, the iconic ideology of Hakuna Matata but above all- the character that was Mufasa. James Earl Jones lends his voice to Mufasa, once again is as powerful and captivating as the original film, maintaining my admiration and understanding of his character. The movie tells the story of Simba, a lion who looks forward to one day being king. But his uncle Scar also has his eyes on the throne, and his plot to overthrow Simba and his father Mufasa ultimately leads Simba on a journey to search for his destiny and purpose in the Circle Of Life.
Watching the remake with my little cub, my main takeaway is that you can’t touch the original, let alone beat it. The live-action remake, in theaters now, is true to the plot and music that made the animated film so memorable. In fact, it follows the original plot more closely than any other Disney classics, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, that also got the live-action treatment. The visuals are stunning! For a moment, I actually felt that was a real lion. It seems so realistic it’s hard to tell the difference. Even the lush green backdrops, with their flowing streams, swaying trees and gushing waterfalls, look like scenes from a nature documentary.
However, there was a lack of emotional impact… as if the soul was missing in this remake. Even the humour seemed forced and didn’t really emote well with the life-like animals. Thankfully, The Lion King stays true to the passion and emotion of the music in the original. Every song in the 2019 remake, effectively sets the tone throughout the film. Hakuna Matata and I Just Can’t Wait to Be King are just as lively and upbeat as their animated counterparts, and it’s hard not to get choked up during Circle of Life, especially as the nostalgia kicks in.
Speaking of nostalgia, Shah Rukh Khan as Mufasa (in the Hindi version) brings an eerie sense of familiarity and sadness. Aryan Khan as the grown up Simba sounds just like his father, which is a high benchmark he has been capable of matching up to. Together they are able to bring the emotional connect, which their English counterpart lacks. The rest of the characters are also well cast. The banter between Pumbaa (voiced by Sanjay Mishra) and Timon (voiced by Shreyas Talpade) adds the zing to the otherwise serious starcast.
In the English version, Donald Grover as Simbaa and Beyonce Knowles-Carter as Nala do deliver strong performances along with their chemistry. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, the cold blooded evil brother of Mufasa, brings that feeling of a Shakespearean villain to bear because of his background.
Regardless of where you stand, however, the film is worth a trip to the theatre. If for nothing else, just to watch the visual spectacle in 3D.