The Lion King 2019 gets all the songs from the original movie right - except for Scar's classic villain song "Be Prepared." The Lion King remake, directed by Jon Favreau, had a lot to live up to. Its animated predecessor, released in 1994, remains the best-selling home video release of all time, and the highest-grossing traditionally animated movie ever. The Lion King received great critical acclaim for its storyline and animation, but was especially loved for its Oscar-winning soundtrack, written by Tim Rice and Elton John. The Lion King 2019 features the same songs, plus 2 new ones: "Spirit," written by Beyonce, and "Never Too Late," written by John and Rice, performed by John over the closing credits.
The songs from The Lion King are iconic not only because they're associated with the original movie, but also thanks to the stage musical. These songs are ingrained in popular culture, form part of the soundtrack to many people's childhood, and are well-loved classics. For Favreau, trying to work these numbers into his retelling couldn't have been an easy task, but for the most part he managed it well. "Circle Of Life," the opening number, is more or less a shot for shot remake of the animated movie, and the song sounds exactly the same, too. It immediately provides a frame of reference and makes audiences feel right at home.
Other numbers, such as "I Just Can't Wait To Be King," are reworked to take into account the fact that CGI real animals are used. They couldn't feasibly all stack on top of one another as they do in the original animated version. The new song added; "Spirit," performed by Beyonce, is played over a montage of Simba returning to Pride Rock. Overall, the musical numbers are just as invigorating, entertaining and uplifting as they always have been.
Then there's "Be Prepared." Originally, the deep, dulcet tones of Jeremy Irons were perfectly suited to a song about Scar's plan to kill his own brother and baby nephew, in which he promises his army of hyenas a better life with him as their king. The song itself was camp, fun, and just scary enough to make younger viewers feel a little on edge. In short, "Be Prepared" perfectly summed up the character of Scar. In The Lion King 2019, however, that all changes. It was originally rumored that "Be Prepared" wasn't going to be included in the remake, and really, that would have been the better choice.
Overall, Scar is a lot more restrained in The Lion King 2019. The campy villain is gone and instead, Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a much darker, more morose and menacing threat. As such, the lyrics of "Be Prepared" have been altered to fit his character better, and he doesn't move about nearly as much. In The Lion King 2019, the hyenas are more autonomous, and again this is reflected in the lyrics and performance of the song. It's no longer a flamboyantly sinister song performed by a villain reveling in his evil ways . Instead, it feels like Scar is merely relaying some information to audiences that could have been delivered in a speech. In short, "Be Prepared" feels out of place - even more so than the Beauty and the Beast moment.
The only truly recognizable moment that echoes the original song is the final shot of Scar sitting in front of the moon. "Be Prepared" is hardly sung at all; Ejiofor narrates it with rhythm instead. While there are moments in The Lion King 2019 that work better than the original, and some that don't work as well, this is one that really doesn't work at all - and should have been left on the cutting room floor.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019