I Just Can’t Wait for the Lion King!

Jimmy Gao ‘20

It’s 2017, which means remake season is in full swing! Companies are capitalizing on nostalgia to reclaim their now-adult audiences and whisk them back to their magical childhoods as the generation that grew up playing the Nintendo 64 and pressing rewind on their VHS machines finally graduates from college. The last remnants of the early millennial generation finally become too old for their toys, and reboots, from Power Rangers to Star Wars, are spawning like flies across Hollywood.

Disney, the Goliath of children’s animations, tried its own hand at movie reboots and showed their prowess with their hotly anticipated live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, which was released to critical acclaim in March. They’ve now packed their live-action remake schedule to the brim, with re-releases of Mulan, Aladdin and even Dumbo planned for 2018 or 2019 releases.

Overall, the movie that everyone has truly been waiting for is the Lion King, a heart-wrenching film so popular it has almost become synonymous with Disney itself. Now, their wishes may come true; The Lion King, scheduled for a July 2019 release date, has millions of children and adults’ heads turning, hoping to see the charming story and lively characters completely reimagined with modern technology. The Lion King forsakes the live-action treatment for the purpose of pure practicality, which, if anything, helps preserve its authenticity. The movie has elicited fervor over its high-profile cast, featuring Donald Glover as Simba, the movie’s protagonist, and Beyonce as Nala, Simba’s love interest. James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the original 1994 film, returns to reprise his role; Chiwetel Ejiofor, who starred in 12 Years a Slave, voices Scar. Other prominent celebrities include actress Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, talk-show host John Oliver as Zazu, and comedian Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Chosen meticulously to augment the excitement surrounding the movie’s release, Emma Renz ‘20 affirms that “the voice actors [Disney] chose have absolutely made this movie more exciting.” Audiences anticipate The Lion King as one of 2019’s biggest releases- and we’re still over a year and a half from its release.

Unfortunately, with a movie this highly anticipated, Disney’s new remake has high standards to live up to. Ryhan Moghe ‘18, who commented that he “loved” the original Lion King movie, remarked, “I’m really excited… but I hope they don’t stray too far from the original. I need them to preserve the original Lion King feeling.” While pressure may be on Disney to live up to the magic of the original film, the execution of the revamped Beauty and the Beast movie has satisfied students. Generally, Ridge students are optimistic that the world’s largest animation studio will make all the right choices again— and that the new Lion King will be every bit as captivating as the original.

July 2019 is a long ways away; by that time, Ridge’s current senior and junior classes will both have graduated. But that leaves just enough time for movie fanatics to memorize every Lion King soundtrack lyric before its remake comes out. Zeal is in the air, and Ridge students and the general populace alike are truly feeling the love tonight as they wait anxiously for the movie that defined their childhood like no other.