Disney has already begun recreating some of their most well-known animated features as live-action movies. In 2016 they brought the world the Jungle Book. In 2017, they brought it Beauty and the Beast. And now in 2019, they will bring the world not one, but three features.
On March 29th, Dumbo will hit theatres. On May 24th, Aladdin will soar into the screen. And on July 19th, the Lion King will make its long awaited debut. It’s the latter of the three that I find most interesting. Don’t get me wrong, Dumbo and Aladdin are classics but one doesn’t have the prestige of The Lion King and the other is receiving more negative attention than Captain Marvel.
At its announcement, the movie was met with joy, adoration, and nostalgia. Then, three months ago, Disney released the first trailer and the world rejoiced. It was breathtaking, narrated by James Earl Jones and churned up fond memories of childhoods past. And now, just as the excitement began to subside, Disney gives us the second Lion King trailer.
The Lion King isn’t just a classic Disney movie. It is one of only a few definitive Disney movies. It came out at a time when Disney was at its peak. The movie, along with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin set the bar as high as it could be set. Each told remarkable stories that were dissimilar from one another all the while, remaining true to what the company had done in decades past. Of them, the Lion King stood out.
It was a tale designed to teach the importance of life. It did it with wild colours, unbelievable spectacles, memorable music, lovable characters, and gut wrenching tragedy. The Lion King was a giant step away from what made Disney, Disney. Certainly their movies had focussed on death as a theme (Bambi) but none used death as motivation. The Lion King worked because at its core it was a coming of age story centered around death and subsequently, revenge.
At the end of the day, The Lion King will do well in theatres not because it needs or has to. It will do well because those who grew up cheering and crying for it, want it to. Until then, we can enjoy both the first and the second Lion King trailer.