Welcome back to Trailer Talk, where we try to breakdown the big trailers and teasers coming from Hollywood California. Well, we got a big one today, with Disney officially unveiling a look at the insane special effects in the upcoming “live-action” The Lion King. With an all-star cast on board, and The Jungle Book (2016) and Iron Man (2008) director Jon Favreau on board, the first trailer hit the internet late on Turkey Day.
The quality and thrill of seeing the special effects should not surprise anyone. Yet there was something about Rafiki walking up Pride Rock, and seeing the photorealism of the lions, that is undeniably cool. I also want to give a hat tip to Favreau and Disney for not just flexing with their first trailer, and showing the “The Circle of Life” montage at the beginning of the film. It was a game-changing moment in animation history, a top 5 moment in Disney history. Eventually, it seems like we’re going to get that exact trailer, but for now, this one does a good job at bringing several of these moments to life in a thrilling montage.
This trailer settles into some of the iconic pieces of the movie, and brings them to life in very cool fashion. The first look at Simba hits well. Simba stepping into the pawprint. The Wildebeests running into the Canyon. The animals heading to Pride Rock. Just like you’d expect, it all feels epic in the live-action format. Yet with so much of the film coming from a digital place, it’ll be curious to see how much actually hits. The voice of James Earl Jones repeating “Remember” feels fitting, especially as the film will release on the 25th anniversary of the original. Meta moment aside, Jones’ voice is as epic as ever.
Despite all the epic imagery we get, there’s a lot of big moments and characters we don’t see. The Lion at the end seems like it is adult Simba, but it could very easily be Mufasa. Regardless, that version is not voiced by Donald Glover, so we haven’t really seen his interpretation of the character yet. There are no images of Timon (Billy Eichner), Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Nala (Beyoncé), Zazu (John Oliver) or the Hyenas (Eric Andre, Florence Kasumba). With the remake still in production, we’ve got almost 8 months to go. It’ll be a hit regardless, but it’s good that Disney’s taking their time with it. Don’t worry, we’ll get oversaturated at some point.