After months of anticipation (and 25 years after the original), The Lion King remake finally came out last week. Overcome with nostalgia, I rushed to go see it at the cinema like the dedicated Disney fan that I am.
It may have had something to do with my mind not being able to handle the photorealism of the animals but the entire time I was watching it, I kept noticing things about the story that I never did when I watched the original.
1) When do you think the other animals are going to wake up and realize that the whole “Circle of Life” thing is a lie made up by the lions as an excuse to eat them from time to time?
The Lion King’s opening sequence is amazing, not just because of the glorious music and stunning imagery but because Mufasa really got all the animals to come admire his newborn son, regardless of the predator/prey relationship they will forever have with his kind. When Simba addresses this later in the film, Mufasa counters him by spilling some spiel about the Circle of Life.
It’s reminiscent of how the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm (because they were in charge) kept changing the rules until it became one rule that permitted them to do whatever they wanted without consequence.
2) Has it occurred to anyone how these lions clearly have a religion type of thing they follow and Rafiki is kinda like the shaman?
Simba’s dedication in the opening scene is clearly a ritual. We see Rafiki spend most of his screen time talking to the spirits. The spirits are the ones who reveal to him that Simba is still alive. He’s even able to summon Mufasa’s spirit at will.
3) If Mufasa and Scar are the only adult male lions in the pride, who fathered all the other cubs running around?
And Mufasa was king, which meant that he was the only one allowed to get it on with the lionesses. Does this mean Simba and Nala are brother and sister? I get that we’re talking about animals here but JESUS CHRIST. “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” suddenly gives me Flowers In The Attic vibes.
4) Wouldn’t it be interesting to explore Zazu’s backstory?
In the remake, after Simba and Nala narrowly escape getting eaten by the hyenas at the elephant graveyard, Zazu tells Mufasa to be gentle when reprimanding Simba because he remembers Mufasa also being stubborn and adventurous as a cub. Given that hornbills have a lifespan of 50 years, it’s possible that Zazu has been a part of the royal court for many generations of lions. This would also explain why he’s so fiercely loyal to the pride lands, choosing to stay and help the lionesses with intel even though he was constantly at risk of being killed by Scar.
GIVE US ZAZU’S BACKSTORY, DISNEY!
5) Speaking of Zazu, why didn’t he counter Scar’s version of the events leading up to Mufasa death?
Scar tells the pride that he didn’t get to the gorge in time to save Mufasa and Simba, which is insane because he’s the one who comes to tell Mufasa that Simba is in danger. Even worse, Zazu was with Mufasa at the time and all three of them got to the gorge together before Scar, wanting no witnesses, sends Zazu off to get the other lions. So why did Zazu not scream, “I KNOW YOU FUCKING LYING!” when Scar was telling his versions of events?
6) Did anyone else notice Timon and Pumbaa constantly breaking the fourth wall?
They are the only characters in the movie that make human references. In the original, when Simba asks them to distract the hyenas while he and Nala sneak back into the Pride lands, Timon sarcastically says, “What do you want us to do? Dress in drag and do the hula??” before going on to do just that. In the remake, they distract the hyenas by singing “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. They acknowledge that Simba grew to adulthood during the “Hakuna Matata” musical sequence.
7) Timon was kind of abusive to Pumbaa in the remake. Did anyone else catch that?
It wasn’t a lot but it was there. He constantly blamed Pumbaa for his own mistakes (like when they laughed at Simba for saying that old kings live in the stars) and stole Pumbaa’s ideas (deciding to adopt Simba). I feel like this narrative would end with Pumbaa angrily eating Timon one day.
8) Do you realize how insane it is that Timon and Pumbaa managed to domesticate a lion?
They even made him a vegetarian! LMAO! I do love that the remake took time to show the discomfort the other animals (living in Timon and Pumbaa’s paradise) had with having a predator live among them.
9) Did anyone else have a problem telling the lionesses apart?
One of the many side effects of the movie’s photorealism, all the lionesses (like they do in real life) looked exactly alike. I couldn’t tell who was who until they spoke. It was even more stressful during the final battle as I couldn’t tell who exactly was getting their ass kicked at any given time.
10) All that money and Disney couldn’t afford facial expressions??
The characters are singing “Hakuna Matata” (a song about how you shouldn’t have any worries) but they all looked pissed. I honestly want to fight Jon Favreau for insisting on this photorealistic nonsense.