How THE LION KING (2019) Helps Us All Remember Who We Are…
*Editor’s Note: In honor of The 28th Annual Movieguide® Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, we’re highlighting nominees for the upcoming ceremony. The Gala will be broadcast at a later date on the Hallmark Channel.
Below is a portion of the review from THE LION KING (2019), which is nominated for the BEST MOVIES FOR FAMILIES.
THE LION KING returns to the big screen in a live-action remake of the popular 1994 cartoon, as Simba the lion has to learn to grow up and save the ones he loves. THE LION KING is well made and has a strong moral, redemptive worldview extolling sacrifice and acting honorably, but it does have some pagan mysticism and scary scenes of lions fighting each other.
Simba is the King’s son who wants to grow up fast. When he takes the advice of his deceitful uncle, Scar, to go to the elephant carcasses with his best friend Nala, he gets into a lot of trouble. Suddenly, a huge pack of hyenas are around him, and his father, Mufasa, has to save him. Mufasa tells him that even though Simba will one day be a king, he must learn that being a king means ruling to help others, not solely for the benefit of one’s self. He also tells him that the kings of the past are in the sky and look down on us in the form of stars.
Even though Scar misled Simba before, Simba decides to follow Scar’s advice again, going to the center of the inside of a canyon to try to find his roar. Simba starts to try to roar and roar and suddenly a stamped of cows comes down, with hyenas nipping at their feet. Simba tries to run away, and Scar goes to Mufasa to tell him. Soon, Mufasa comes to save Simba, but once he has saved Simba and is trying to climb the canyon, Scar pushes him down into the stampede of cows. Scar has devised this plan to kill Mufasa so he can become King and have the hyenas as his army. The plan works, and Mufasa is killed. However, Scar convinces Simba that it’s Simba’s fault his father dies, and Simba should run away and never return.
Simba runs away from his mother and his home, thinking he caused his father’s death. Scar now is the king of the land, after deceiving the other lions to think Mufasa and Simba died. Years pass, and the land is being over hunted and not reproducing nutrients. Simba is still living by himself, though with his two friends, Pumbaa and Timon, who are emphasizing a life of only caring about yourself and living a worry free. Will Simba grow up and help save his home and be the King he’s supposed to be, or will he continue live an easy, selfish life?
THE LION KING has a strong moral, redemptive worldview about sacrificing your life for others. The movie’s overarching premise is that Simba has a purpose to do things for the benefit of others. Simba must realize he’s his father’s son, the son of a King, who makes sacrifices for others, including his subjects. Despite this positive content, THE LION KING does have some pagan mysticism. Just like the original animated version, there is a shaman character who shows Simba his father up in the clouds speaking to him.
THE LION KING is very well produced, with amazing graphics and stunning images of African scenery. It is very much like the original animated movie, pretty much scene for scene. It also has the same great music, which will have many viewers singing along. The casting choices on this LION KING are interesting, fun, and enjoyable. THE LION KING has a strong moral, redemptive worldview extolling sacrifice and honor. However, the movie contains some very scary scenes of animals fighting that may trouble younger children, The images are so realistic that younger children may not be able to decipher that this is not reality. Consequently, the new LION KING merits caution for younger children.