Why I'm excited for the live-action remake of Lion King
I was like a kid at Christmas this morning, having logged onto Twitter like I usually do and finding the teaser trailer for Lion King had dropped; rolling sunrises, bowing giraffe at the north of Simba, stomping antelope into the valley of nightmares (scarred for life *that* scene) and Simba's cub paw in Mufasa's foot print. It felt like yesterday I was sat between Mum and Dad who took me to see the film having previously enjoyed Beauty and the Beast and other Disney films of previous decades they gave me that they had previously enjoyed too (Snow White, 101 Dalmatians, Robin Hood and Peter Pan to name a few).
Cries of "they should make original content" rather than endless Marvel/Disney/Star Wars sequels and remaking what was already perfect Disney films. That's great and I hear them, amongst other shouts of "But Disney was racist, sexist", I hear that too.
Let me tell you why Lion King resonated with me, for the same reasons people were affected by Bambi.
Lion King has its romance, it has its comedy but at its core is a strong bond between father and son, broken by jealousy, betrayal, gaslighting and death. When I first watched the film, Mum worked during the evening and on weekends, so that time was spent between me and Dad, we would go to the park, cinema, teach me to ride a bike, swimming lessons or just drive somewhere. So seeing that scene was almost like a rite of passage in a way; knowing that life as you know it will change and one day your parents will no longer be with you, that just because you have family does not mean that ALL of them are good people who make good choices, and sometimes you have to carve a family out of friends rather than blood. I was distraught over that scene.
Disney has never shied away from death, amongst the badly handled scenes of race (Peter Pan and Songs of the South, I'm looking at you) there are scenes where characters can see beyond skin beauty (Belle with the Beast in Beauty and the Beast and Esmerelda with Quasimodo in Hunchback of Notre Dame), where family counts (Elsa's love for her sister in Frozen, Simba's love of his Dad, Wendy protecting her brothers in Peter Pan and the dogs doing all they can to save their children and 'foster' children from animal cruelty in 101 Dalmatians)
Plus whilst the film is focused on male characters, the time the lionesses do rise up wether it's Nala helping her best friend avenge his father's death or Sarabi and the lionesses standing up to misogyny and male oppression I'd say there is room for the live action remake of a film based on Hamlet.
I'm here for it, and if you can't beat them join them.
Here's the trailer, if you haven't seen it already: