Chances are that if you grew up in South Africa in the '90s, Disney's The Lion King would have been embedded into your psyche. The iconic story and soundtrack playing backdrop to many movie- and slumber-party nights.
It was relatable, the scenery looked like home and, as South Africans, it felt like ours – especially in a time when not many African stories or people were seen in mainstream media.
I mean who else raised their pet above their head and proclaimed ‘[Insert pet’s name here] everything the light touches is our kingdom!’?
Luckily, the latest edition of Disney’s The Lion King, from director Jon Favreau, captures that rich nostalgia and repackages it in a highly-watchable film.
Here are five reasons why you can’t help but fall in love with the new The Lion King:
The CGI is outstanding; hyper realistic, movements are nuanced and believable and all textures, from lion fur to warthog hair is impeccably rendered. Often you will find yourself wondering: Wait, was that a real animal? - the live-action filmmaking techniques blending so seamlessly with the computer-generated imagery.
The iconic music
The soundtrack is quite possibly even more iconic than the story and all your favourite tunes from “The Circle of Life” to “Awimbawe (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)” are expertly refreshed. It’s hard not to sing along. In fact, I heard many joining in when viewing the film at the cinema.
That campy Timon
That is one sassy little meerkat! I loved that this version of Timon, voiced by Billy Eichner, was a little campy and made me question the Timon/Pumba relationship. I mean if there ever is a time for a gay inter-species love story in mainstream media it is now!
John Kani as Rafiki
The Yoda of the Savanna, Rafiki, is perfectly captured by South African actor, director and playwright John Kani. Wise, funny and caring – Rafiki is an outstanding character and also yay for proudly SA talent!
The theme of responsible leadership
Something we desperately need to be reminded of now is the idea of a responsible, fair and caring leader. It’s sad that these days the idea of a leader instead conjures up images of greed, hate and corruption – both on home ground and abroad.
The different leadership styles of Mufasa and villainous brother Scar succinctly illustrate the idea of how a leader can both help or harm a society.
If you haven’t watched it yet, do! Hakuna Matata, fam!
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