What Disney has been doing to their animated films is pure brilliance. By transforming some of their biggest classics into live-action films, its opened a floodgate of endless possibilities. We’ve already seen a few successful attempts in Cinderella and The Jungle Book, with bigger adaptations like Beauty and the Beast coming next year. What was once viewed as an ambitious, yet risky plan by the Mouse House, has now become something of an instant money making machine (something they’ve accomplished all too often). In the grand scheme of things, it might be too early to call this transition of theirs a success for years and years to come. However, considering Disney just confirmed that Jon Favreau, director of this year’s highly acclaimed film The Jungle Book, is directing a live-action version of The Lion King, I can now view that once risky idea as a now yet another guaranteed hit for them.
It’ll be interesting to see what else Favreau can add to a film that will almost certainly look similar to The Jungle Book, if not even better. My biggest and maybe only worry, for lack of a better word, is getting the music to feel just as magical as it has been since I first saw the film over 20 years ago. What Hans Zimmer, Sir Elton John, and others were able to contribute helped made The Lion King a masterpiece. Disney has created a great relationship with Lin-Manuel Miranda through The Force Awakens and the upcoming Moana, and so I would very much like to see him involved.
Beyond the music, there isn’t much that I’m worried about, and that’s a credit to what Favreau has accomplished as a film maker. His involvement should not only make adults like myself feel excited about one of our favorite animated films coming back to life, but for the next generation to get to experience it in a brand new way.