In a world of unoriginal ideas and action-hero reboots, it can be a little hard to get excited about the relentless onslaught of remakes, especially when they aim to reinvigorate childhood favourites that would in a past life had seemed anathema to alter.
That said, animation isn’t what it used to be, and Disney isn’t mucking around when they use the term ‘live action’ to describe their latest incarnations of previous hits The Jungle Book and, now, The Lion King. Directed by Jon Favreau, the storyline seems to be much the same in this version; animals are cute when they’re young, good conquers evil and love ultimately triumphs etc, etc, but the sheer quality of the CGI animations makes it look like no small (or cheap) feat.
What we can see from this is that the animated jungle creatures look scarily realistic; new territory for Disney in a sense, considering that 2D cartoons allow for deliberately exaggerated facial expressions which play an important narrative tool, especially when it comes to animals, and films aimed at kids. Some have pointed this out, though it does look as though this version is aimed as much at original fans who are now all grown up as it is new fans who weren’t around for the first version.
In this second trailer release, which precedes the film release by about three months we see more of the dark side of Simba’s kingdom than we did in the first trailer, which was an exact replica of some of the original animation’s most iconic scenes.
In the trailer we hear Scar’s menacing tones, voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and see the new versions of comic relief characters Pumbaa and Timon (voiced by comedians Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, respectively), though we are yet to hear their inevitable rendition of ‘Hakuna Matata’.
Simba, voiced by Donald Glover, and Nala, voiced by Beyonce Knowles, are yet to reveal their voices to an audience yet, but the ensemble cast has spared no expense or effort to impress fans, with John Oliver, Keegan Michael Key and Alfre Woodard all voicing supporting roles, as well as James Earl Jones reprising his role from the 1994 original as Mufasa.
The Lion King will be released in cinemas on July 17.