Warning: Spoilers ahead

In 1994, most of us were around 3 feet tall, wobbling around and generally taking stock of the world. Then, The Lion King came out. I distinctly remember it, despite my atrocious memory, because the pre-school I was in took our class for a screening, along with our hapless mothers.

Things were going great – there was singing, there were cartoon animals, us kids were having a ball. Then Mufasa died, and the entire hall let out a collective wail. It was honestly one of the most memorable moments of my life, blubbering and bawling my eyes out as Simba tried to nudge his dad back to life.


Last week, I went for the remake, and when that same scene came on, I had to stifle a laugh. Just the way Simba screams when he sees Mufasa fall was strangely comical, almost ruining a seminal cinematic experience for me in the process.

That’s the thing about the remake – it’s a masterclass in CGI and effects, but it lacks any real feeling or soul. 

Simba, Rafiki, Nala – they’re all spectacularly animated. The pride lands look gorgeous as well, like a vast sea of green and yellow, with swathes of flora and a vibrant energy. 


But as striking as the movie looks, it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Just because something’s brilliantly made on the outside, doesn’t mean it’ll be of substance inside. 

Case in point – Rafiki. He just looks… heartless.

The 1994 animation imbued the film with a sense of humanity and relatability – it expressed and evoked emotion from the characters as well as the viewers.

In the quest for realism, you shouldn’t forego the human aspect. Yes, all the characters in the remake look like actual animals, but that’s really not what the movie is about. Take a gander at how emotive the characters in the original are, and how staid and blank the new one looks!


You can’t make a film about a lion eating bugs out of a nature documentary! David Attenborough will back me up on this.

I understand they had to adapt it for a newer audience, but in the process the film lost its original sentiment – it lost what made it great.

Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner freakin’ killed it as Timon and Pumba. They were straight up hilarious, and the jokes took on a level of self-awareness that was impressively meta. But even that dynamic duo – the most lovable of characters – looked expressionless. It was honestly kind of heartbreaking. 

And there was NO NEED for a hyper-realistic Pumba!


At the end of the day, it’s not a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite a spectacle. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s just another film that’s going to get lost in the sea of cinema. Ah well, hakuna matata!