YouTube / Disney

Comparing the New 'Lion King' to the Old Animated Version

Andrew Roberts 23 Nov 2018

Excitement dropped on Thanksgiving for fans of Disney classics. The Lion King live-action (but still animated) remake premiered in trailer form during Thursday's Dallas Cowboys game.

The movie was announced back in 2016 after the premiere of the live-action (but also heavily animated) The Jungle Book and folks have been excited by each little bit of info that has come out. Jungle Book director Jon Favreau is back, the cast is stacked with the likes of Donald Glover, Beyonce, and Seth Rogen are in the cast, and James Earl Jones is back as Mufasa.

What's old is new again, something the trailer proves by essentially recreating the opening of the original movie shot-by-shot.

'Live-Action' Simba

YouTube / Disney

We get our first looks at "live-action" Simba, Rafiki, and tons of animals. We also get to see the adult Simba at the very end of the trailer, chatting with his father in the clouds.

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Iconic Moments Recreated


Throughout, iconic moments are shared to help drive home that this is The Lion King you know and love, but better because it's "live-action."

The animals have fur, they look like real animals, while still acting like the animals from the original animated film. It could be like fitting square pegs in round holes, but they make it work with some of the moments -- take Simba standing in his father's footstep.

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Pride Rock

YouTube / Disney

Pride Rock looks amazing and the whole lead up to Simba's reveal is a fine nod to the original film, though it seems to actually have less motion than before. Who knows how the final scene will play out, but the original film follows Zazu flying up to the rock and it's just great execution.

You'd have to think they'll do it again, but we don't see it in the trailer.

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Some Slight Differences

But while some shots are sure to show up, we're also given events slightly different from the original film.

Rafiki breaks apart a coconut in the original film, wiping the colorful juice on Simba's forehead and anointing him before presenting to all of the animals. Here we get some roots and red dust, possibly representing the land or something similar.

It's a small change, but it does seem to change the idea behind anointing using oil.

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Simba Looks Great

The rest of the moment is fairly similar to the original and Simba looks great throughout. He gets wide-eyed, tired-eyed, and wide-eyed again, taking a glance at the kingdom he'll inherit later in the film.

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Real Versus Animated

And since these are supposed to be "real" animals, we can't get the bowing scene exactly how it was originally. Instead, we get the realistic animals doing their best to fit into where the original film went.

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The Circle Of Life

All and all, the visuals are intact and this is certainly The Lion King in some form. If you had doubts at the start of the trailer, this changes as soon as "The Circle Of Life" kicks in.

It's such an iconic song at this point, particularly the opening, you wouldn't even need to be watching to understand what movie you're watching.

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Some Complaints

There are plenty of complaints against the new film, though. The whole "live-action" is definitely a point of contention here. It is more "live-action" in the sense that it is the latest in Disney's remakes of their classic animated films. But it won't feature one human actor throughout, so you can see why people are rolling their eyes here.

Another valid complaint is how the film is taking away the vibrant colors and technique used in the original film to opt for realism. It certainly doesn't need to be realistic, but that seems to be the avenue the film is going.

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YouTube / Disney

We'll have to wait until next summer to see how the film holds up to the original, so this trailer is it until then. And thanks to folks online, you can watch both side-by-side and compare scenes as they happen.

For the most part, it fits together. It's a fine representation of what audiences know as The Lion King. It just remains to be seen if we actually needed this movie.

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