My Thoughts on Each of The Lion King Remake Casting Choices

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I love The Lion King. I’ve written gushingly about it before on this site, and I while I realize it probably isn’t the best Disney musical of all time, it certainly is my favourite. It has so much style and grace, and the score is absolutely incredible. Everything a I love about it can be experienced in the song “Be Prepared”, which is still my favourite song period. It’s a movie with an enormous amount of ambition, and heart and I’ll love it forever. That doesn’t mean that I’m an elitist who thinks it’s also an unimpeachable classic that should never get remade, which means Disney’s in luck! I’m super excited for this remake and I can’t stand the fact that it’s coming out in 2019, so in the mean time I’m going to write about my thoughts on it, like what I think of the cast.

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What the Beauty and the Beast Remake Misses in Making LeFou Sympathetic

LeFou Mob

A big change came to one of the main characters in the live action remake to Disney’s breakthrough animated feature, Beauty and the Beast. No, I’m not just talking about making LeFou gay, I’m also talking about making him “good” too. In the remake to the film, LeFou isn’t the soulless sycophant he is in the original, but rather a confused gay man with a crush on the wrong guy. While this is progress in terms of gay representation, I can’t help but feel like something was loss in the rehabilitation of one of Disney’s most subtly despicable bad guys.

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The Lion King 2 Was a Seriously Underrated Classic

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, the 1998 sequel to Disney’s The Lion King (something you may have heard about), was received poorly from critics. It happens to be another dreaded “Direct-to-DVD sequel” to a Disney film (a distinction that comes with the assumption that the product will be terrible), which probably gave a negative impression from the start, although the plot proved to be problematic as well. If the original Lion King was supposed to be a Disney retelling of Hamlet, this film would be its retelling of Shakespeare’s other supremely famous play, Romeo and Juliet. While its predecessor brought a fresh take on a timeless tale of fratricide, The Lion King 2 suffers from being highly derivative of other romantic stories. You have the outsider infiltrating our lead’s society for nefarious purposes only to end up falling in love with the person he was supposed to hurt and being forced between choosing between love and duty. There is nothing involving the romance between Simba’s daughter Kiara (Neve Campbell) and her boyfriend Kovu (Jason Marsden) that you won’t see coming, but the movie’s true strength lies in the story that is being told around them. Above all else, The Lion King II is a story about parenthood, and as a discussion on that subject this movie is very good.

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Scar and Nala: Too Creepy for Kids?

Star Crossed Lovers…

In another edition of cool things that changed in beloved Disney films, let’s talk about The Lion King. Now you should know that this film is my favourite Disney animated feature, and Scar is by far my favourite Disney villain. The love and devotion I have for this film go all the way back to my childhood, and I am not exaggerating when I say this film shaped a lot of who I am today. To me, discussing what this film could have been is like discussing the trajectory of my very destiny (ok, maybe not that dramatic but still…). Getting down to business, the deleted scene I am referring to, is when Scar tries (and fails miserably) to make Simba’s love interest Nala his queen. In the original script, what sent Nala out of the Pride Lands and towards Simba was Scar banishing her when she refused his advances. The scene in which this happens also features an alternate take on how the hyenas were revealed to be working for Scar. Here’s the scene in question:

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Frozen in development, Life’s Too Short and what could have been

Man do I love Disney. Their projects just ooze with so much passion and heart that people often characterize them as magic, and lately they have been on a bit of a hot streak both critically and commercially. Tangled (which I shamefully have yet to see), Wreck It Ralph, and of course, Frozen have been successful films to say the least. Frozen in particular was a monster hit that people just kept coming back to since it brought a fresh take on something Disney has done before so well. Meanwhile, Pixar’s last three efforts, Monsters University (which I have yet to see but I hear was decent), Brave (which was essentially a feature length Fairly Odd Parents “how do I unwish this wish” plot), and Cars 2 (which is when Pixar showed the world that they were capable of creating a bad movie), all seemed to produce lukewarm results at best. Maybe after the masterpiece that was Toy Story 3, Pixar needs to recharge before pumping out another one of their greats?

On the topic of Frozen, we know that what they went with was a major success (the highest grossing animated film ever in fact), but what about the potential film it could have been? It is no secret that the film went through several rewrites and plot changes which ranged from Elsa being an unabashed villain with Olaf as her sidekick, to a focus on some prophecy about a queen with a frozen heart, to a plotline featuring Anna’s insecurity about being a “spare princess”. But the most interesting change to me would be what happened to the relationship between the sisters. At some earlier point into development, the two sisters were not separated all their lives, rather they just weren’t very close and often disagreed. That shift alone changes everything about the film, and while I feel it is ultimately for the best that the film did not stay like that, there were a lot of gems that were lost in the transition. Because the sisters knew each other well in this version of the film, a song like this one was possible…

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