The official trailer for The Lion King re-imagining has arrived. A "live-action" remake of the 1994 animated film, The Lion King retells the story of Simba, the lion cub prince who just can't wait to grow up and become king of Africa's Pride Lands. Donald Glover is lending his voice to adult Simba in this version of the tale, opposite a cast that includes James Earl Jones as Simba's father Mufasa (reprising his iconic role from the original movie) and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Simba's treacherous uncle, Scar.
Disney kicked off its marketing for The Lion King last fall by releasing a teaser that faithfully recreates the animated film's opening (aka. the "Circle of Life" sequence) with photorealistic computer-animation. More recently, the studio unveiled new footage at CinemaCon that was equally reverent in the way it reproduced a key scene where Mufasa passes important life lessons on to a young Simba from the 1994 movie. Now, with about three months left before the remake hits theaters, the Mouse House has unveiled a full-blown trailer for the film.
The full-length trailer offers the first-look at characters like Scar, Zazu (John Oliver), Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), Timon (Billy Eichner), Nala (Beyoncé, as adult Nala), and the hyenas Shenzi (Florence Kasumba), Azizi (Eric Andre), and Kamari (Keegan-Michael Keye) in The Lion King remake, while simultaneously showcasing Mufasa, Rafiki (John Kani), and Simba as both a cub and an adult in the film. Much like the movie's previous marketing material, this promo also continues to recreate memorable visuals from the 2D animated Lion King - like the montage where Simba grows up while living with Timon and Pumbaa - and highlight equally famous (or infamous) moments from the overall story, such as the wildebeest stampede and adult Simba's return to Pride Rock. Beyond that, this is the first footage of characters talking in the remake that's been released online (though Disney showed some of the same clips at CinemaCon just last week).
All in all, The Lion King continues to look like an almost shot for shot remake of the 1994 movie here, whether Disney says it is or not. At the same time, the photorealistic animals and settings continue to look gorgeous, and it seems that director Jon Favreau has only gotten better at bringing all-CGI worlds and creatures to life since his made Disney's The Jungle Book remake three years ago. With Tim Burton's Dumbo retelling having earned a middling reception so far and Guy Ritchie's Aladdin remake generating decidedly mixed buzz ahead of its release in May, it may fall to The Lion King to be the saving grace of the Mouse House's live-action retellings in 2019. So far, though, it appears to be up to the task.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019