THE LION KING | 2019 Expert Review

From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new “The Lion King” journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother-and former heir to the throne-has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
PG (for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements)
The Lion King

In time for the 25th anniversary of the original animated film, Disney returns to Africa for The Lion King, a magnificent CGI remake about Simba (voiced by JD McCrary and, later, Donald Glover), a lion cub born to be king.  

Many of us know the story: The wise mandrill, Rafiki (John Kani), initiates the young cub into the community of animals from the lion’s perch on Pride Rock. The soaring chorus of voices singing “The Circle of Life” rises to welcome the prince. King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Queen Sarabi (Alfre Woodard) gaze on in happiness. But Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Mufasa’s brother, wants to be king. He tempts little Simba and his friend, Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph and, later, Beyoncé), to go to the forbidden elephant graveyard where they are attacked by three hyenas, Scar’s bodyguards. Zazu (John Oliver), a yellow-billed hornbill and Mufasa’s majordomo, alerts Mufasa, who rescues the cubs.  

Scar then sets into motion his dastardly plan to kill his brother and Simba so he can become king. He lures his curious nephew to a gorge and then gets the hyenas to cause a herd of wildebeest to stampede. Scar goes to tell Mufasa that Simba is in danger. Mufasa hastens to rescue the cub, but Scar makes sure Mufasa dies. Simba survives, and Scar blames the cub, telling him to leave and never return. 

Comic characters Timon (Billy Eichner), a meerkat, and his friend, Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), a warthog, find Simba collapsed in the desert. They bring him to their home and teach him to get over his guilt. In time, the cub turns into a powerful, 400-pound adult. Meanwhile, Scar is turning the Pride Lands into a community and environmental disaster. He wants Sarabi to be his queen, but she refuses. Nala goes for help. She thinks Simba is dead and is shocked to find him. At first, he refuses to return out of lingering shame over his father’s death. Rafiki appears and assures him that it is time to fulfill his destiny. 


Fans of the original animated film will not be disappointed, for the story, with some small differences, remains true to the original. It is a film that will fill your eyes with beauty and delight. Themes of character development, family, the common good, and care for creation are woven throughout. The songs are all from the original, but they are shorter, perhaps because this is more drama than musical. Not all remakes are successful, but this version of The Lion King shines. 




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2 thoughts on “THE LION KING | 2019 Expert Review

  • August 20, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Whao the long awaited movie is here, in some way i think it portrays the monarch system here in Africa.

    • August 20, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Exactly, you are on point though not so close to what they have in mind..


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