Disney in all its glory and wisdom saw fit to give The Lion King, one of its most beloved animated classics the live-action treatment. And in its magnanimity, the mouse house retained most elements of the original, which I thought and still believe was the right move. Let’s be honest, The Lion King isn’t like Aladdin, you can’t just usurp the emotional impact of Mufasa’s death for cheap thrills or retcon Timon and Pumbaa meeting and raising Simba for the sake of having a twist, and not expect the whole world to riot. Not all intellectual properties are created equal, we made our peace with that a long time ago.
Save for James Earl Jones, the cast of The Lion King is entirely new. It’s no shocker why director Jon Favreau decided to bring back JEJ: his voice is surreal, mysterious, yet soothing, and definitely one of the best in the industry. The decision to bring him back was welcomed by millions of fans all around the world and definitely aided in convincing some indifferent fans to go see the movie, which currently has $1.629B attached to its name at the box office.
The only casting decision to rival Mufasa’s was the announcement of 12 Years A Slave Star, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mufasa’s conniving younger brother Scar. The British-born actor of Nigerian descent had really big shoes to fill. Jeremy Iron had done such a good job with Scar in the animated movie a lot of diehard aficionados would’ve preferred Disney to give him the same treatment as James Early Jones, but if ever there was a shroud of doubt in them going into the movie, Ejiofor definitely slashed it the moment he made his first appearance, at least by half.
The scene with Mufasa in the cave is frightening, exciting, and riddled with nostalgia. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s ability to capture and relate the essence of Scar’s being, fragile relationship and resentment of his big brother within few minutes of screen time is highly commendable. I found myself yelling “yeah, that’s my Scar!”
There have been complaints of Ejiofor’s voice not being menacing enough as Scar, but I think it’s just perfect. He puts his own spin to the character, coupled with the character’s distinct, more-realistic look, he owned the role, and that’s a win for me!
Sorry, Jeremy Irons, but Chiwetel Ejiofor’s my Scar now 😌.
Rinzy’s Rating of The Lion King (2019): 3.5/5
Directed By: Jon Favreau
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