Run Time: 1 hour and 58 minutes
It began just as the original I’d seen as a child. The sun rises over Pride Rock as a variety of animals gather to see the presentation of Simba, the next in line to be king. The 2019 remake of Disney’s “The Lion King” is a live action retelling of the classic movie. Heads up: this review does contain a spoiler or two.
As soon as I saw the baboon Rafiki (John Kani) lift young Simba (JD McCrary) to show the animalsChiwetel Ejiofor). Scar is about to eat Zazu and Mufasa (James Earl Jones, reprising his role from the original) interferes. It is apparent from the moment you meet Scar that he is jealous of Simba and wants to be king – and will do what it takes to make that happen.
Mufasa takes Simba on a walk around Pride Rock and explains to Simba, “everything the light touches is our kingdom.” Mufusa goes on to add that someday Simba will be king and that he must respect all creatures, as they are connected in the circle of life.
Mufasa warns Simba to stay away from the elephant graveyard and when Simba runs into Scar later in the film, Scar reiterates this point, only to ensure that Simba goes there.
Simba goes to the elephant graveyard with his best friend Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and is surrounded by hyenas. Just as the hyenas are about to pounce, Mufasa steps in and saves them both.
This next part is a bit of spoiler, so if you’ve never seen “The Lion King” before and don’t want to know, skip to the next paragraph. Scar encourages Simba to work on his roar in a giant gorge, that attracts hyenas and antelope. They begin chasing Simba. Scar alerts Mufasa of Simba’s danger and Mufasa does all he can to save Simba. At one point, Mufasa leaps from the herd and claws his way up the gorge where he pleads with Scar to help him up; only to have Scar throw him to the herd. Simba survives.
Scar blames Simba for what happened and tells him to run away and never return. Scar returns to Pride Rock and tells the others what has happened. Scar is now king.
Simba runs into a Warthog, Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and a meerkat, Timon (Billy Eichner) and we see Simba grow up (adult Simba voiced by Donald Glover).
Scar has destroyed Pride Rock and it is now a wasteland, patrolled by hyenas where Simba’s mother Sarabi (Alfre Woodward) and others live in fear and want Scar gone.
We meet adult Nala (Beyonce Knowles-Carter) who runs into Simba, while chasing Timon and Pumba. Nala tells Simba how bad things are at home and that he needs to challenge Scar.
Can Simba stop Scar?
I was skeptical going into this remake of the classic cartoon, but I must admit this was a homerun; a very enjoyable movie I’d recommend seeing on the big screen. It’s funny and emotional and features new versions of the original songs like ‘Circle of Life,’ ‘Hakunata Matata,’ and ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’. The CGI was very good and all in all, I consider this a solid remake for a new generation.