Disney is all out to make sure that they dominate the cinematic scene for 2019. Whether it comes from its distinct subsidiaries like Marvel and Lucasfilm, or with its own production studios, the House of Mouse has everything covered: superhero films, space opera, animated movies and live-action adaptations of their older animated features. No less than three of them are premiering in theaters next year, all of them a mix of live-action and CGI characters in one blend or another. This thanksgiving, the first trailer for arguably the most popular and anticipated among them was finally shared to the world.
Variety reports that Disney dropped the initial trailer for their live-action remake of “The Lion King” to make a wonderful Thanksgiving present for their fans. It was first aired during the NFL Thanksgiving Day Game with the Dallas Cowboys, after which it was then uploaded for online streaming. What awaited viewers was a wonderful extravaganza of familiar vistas and sequences, long burned into the memories of Disney fans that saw the original animated film back in 1994, almost 25 years ago. And it would be a full quarter century by the time its adaptation premieres.
A lot of sequences were replicated in familiar, but not totally identical fashion: the iconic African Serengeti sunrise, the animals turning to the light and marching under the majesty of Kilimanjaro. All the while James Earl Jones in voiceover, reprising his role of King Mufasa, echoes one of his lectures to his son Simba, as a herd of wildebeest stampede down a gorge in a foreboding omen. What follows is the other unforgettable element of “The Lion King”, the movie version of the theme song “Circle of Life”, while the trailer shows baby Simba being blessed by Rafiki the baboon and presented to the kingdom.
Longtime Disney collaborator Jon Favreau, who has directed the first two “Iron Man” (2008, 2010) films and the live-action “Jungle Book” adaptation (2016) returns to the helm of this Disney feature, which comprises CGI work to make photorealistic animals “talk” (and to animate the more intense animal sequences like the stampede). Also returning from the animated original are score composer Hans Zimmer and singing-songwriting legend Elton John, who will have assistance from Beyoncé Knowles-Carter on the featured musical numbers.
Beyoncé also stars opposite Donald Glover’s Simba as Nala, with James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, John Kani and Alfre Woodward rounding out the all-star cast. “The Lion King” arrives in cinemas on July 19, 2019.
Image courtesy of Hollywood Reporter