Coming Soon: The Lion King

Becky Aurit

It is usually hard to speculate about a movie's box office chances when its release date is still several weeks away, but that isn't the case with this week's preview. I finally took a look at the trailer for the upcoming (live-action?) remake of Disney's "The Lion King." With "The Lion King" the question isn't whether or not it will do well, but rather how high the opening weekend gross can climb.

Almost everyone already knows the plot of "The Lion King." I say "almost," because somehow my husband has made it 25 years without seeing the original movie. For the few folks who aren't aware, "The Lion King" tells the story of Simba, a young lion whose father is King of the Pride Lands. When Simba's Uncle Scar kills the King, the cub has to run away in order to save himself. As he gets older he makes some wacky animal friends, and with their help tries to find a way to save his homeland.

The trailer starts out showing a very adorable and fuzzy baby Simba, with a voice over by Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) describing the difficulties of life in the wild. It then shifts the King Mufasa, telling his son how to be a good ruler when he is the one in charge. I am glad that they cast James Earl Jones as Mufasa, since he voiced the role in the original, and you really can't improve on the voice work of James Earl Jones.

The animation in the preview for "The Lion King" is really amazing, and is probably the main reason I will see the movie, even though I watched the original too many times due to having an enthusiastic younger sibling. Small animals, like birds and bugs are done justice, as are the larger lions and zebras. There is a great stampede sequence when Mufasa is betrayed by Scar and his team of hench-hyenas. Finally, the backgrounds are beautiful, both the grassy Pride Lands, and the jungle where Simba lives in exile.

There were a couple of things that surprised me about this trailer. First, they don't really feature the voices of Donald Glover and Beyoncé, who play adult Simba and his love interest Nala, respectively. Second, there is very little music from the movie shown, side from a brief scene of Simba's friend's singing "In the Jungle." It has been reported that Elton John wrote a new song for Beyoncé, so I am expecting that to appear in a later trailer.

"The Lion King" comes to theaters the weekend of July 19-21. Even without a repeat performance by blue Will Smith, the latest Disney "live action" remake is guaranteed to clean up at the box office.

Watch the trailer for "The Lion King" on YouTube

Twitter: @becky_aurit