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Western Animation / The Lion King (2019)

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"You must take your place in the circle of life."
"Everything the light touches is our kingdom. But a king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, the sun will set on my time here. And will rise with you as the new king."

The Lion King is the 2019 photorealistic computer animated remake of the 1994 Disney animated epic The Lion King. It was directed by Jon Favreau, director of 2016's wildly successful live-action/CGI adaptation of The Jungle Book, and brought to screen using the same highly photorealistic CGI techniques by Moving Picture Company as that film employed. The screenplay was written by Jeff Nathanson, with The Lion King franchise veterans Thomas Schumacher (a producer of the original film) and Julie Taymor (director of the Broadway adaptation) serving as executive producers. The film was released in the United States on July 19, 2019,note  and is currently the highest-grossing animated film of all time, surpassing Frozen for the title.

The Lion King is the story of Simba, crown prince of the Pride Lands, a swath of African savannah. However, the dark specter of his treacherous uncle Scar ultimately drives Simba out of his home. After being taken in by two outcasts faraway from the Pride Lands, Simba must learn to grow up and accept his responsibility as king and reclaim his destiny.


Songs from the original film feature in the remake. The music team from the original film returned; Hans Zimmer returned to score the film, and Elton John worked with Beyoncé (who produced her own separate album for the film) and other collaborators to rework his songs from the original film and to produce new music as well in his final major act before his retirement. Tim Rice, who worked alongside John on the original, also returned to help with the soundtrack, as did iconic vocalist Lebo M. and Mark Mancina (who arranged the original's songs). Chance the Rapper and Pharrell Williams also also contributed to the soundtrack.

    The cast includes: 

Previews: Teaser 1, Teaser 2, Trailer, TV Spot 1, TV Spot 2 ("Come Home"), International Trailer, TV Spot 3, TV Spot 4, Russian promo clip extras ("Jungle Creatures"), TV Spot 5 ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight"), TV Spot 6 ("Close"), TV Spot 7, TV Spot 8, TV Spot 9, TV Spot 10, TV Spot 11, "The King Returns" Featurette, TV Spot 12, TV Spot 13, TV Spot 14, TV Spot 15

The Lion King contains examples of:

  • Actor IS the Title Character: Disney released a line of posters for the film in this style for all of the main speaking cast — save the hyenas (e.g. "JD McCrary is Simba").
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Scar comes off as more depraved and demented than his animated counterpart, particularly in regards to his desire to force Sarabi to be his queen and deliberately starving the pride out of spite when she refuses his advances.
    • The hyenas' characterizations are altered to make them more sinister and threatening; they do not have the same good friendship that their animated counterparts enjoyed, nor their friendship with Scar (animated Banzai even said he considered Scar one of them), or their grasping the severity of the destruction of the Pride Lands and Scar's poor leadership.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: By virtue of using realistic animal designs, a lot of the more distinctive color designs for the various characters are either toned down or removed altogether. For instance:
    • Simba and Mufasa's manes are no longer red.
    • Rafiki's dark grey/black body and white underbelly is now almost uniformly light brown.
    • Scar no longer has tawny brown fur and a fully black mane; he's now notably duller compared to the other lions, and as a result, much closer to his brother and nephew's colors than in the original.
    • Zazu largely lacks the blue of his animated counterpart, resembling his Broadway incarnation (and real-life counterparts) in being mostly white.
    • Timon lacks the cap of red fur he had on his crown, and Pumbaa is gray as compared to his dark red animated counterpart.
    • The spotted hyenas are now appropriately brownish-gray with solid brown manes as opposed to their animated gray and black coloration.
    • Nala and Scar both have more amber-colored eyes instead of teal and bright green (although the former's eyes do show hints of blue throughout the film). Baby Simba also has blue eyes, as real newborn lion cubs do, though they change to the familiar light brown when he gets older.
    • Sarabi is now a deep brownish-gold color rather than dusty brown. She also sports dark brown spots on her forelimbs, though she lacked any sort of markings in the original.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Simba is shown fighting back against the hyenas in a more even handled way, and was later able to out muscle Scar in their final confrontation. In the original the implication was that while Simba was younger and stronger, he lacked the fighting ability and killer instinct Scar had.
    • When Sarabi confronts Scar near the climax of the story, she fights him and managed to hold her own for a few seconds this time instead of being knocked down with a single blow.
    • Zazu participates in the action at several points, unable to do any real harm but enough to serve as a distraction in a heroic way.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The film has an added backstory explaining that Scar had previously challenged Mufasa for the position of King of the Pridelands and Sarabi's mate and lost. Despite Zazu advising him to banish Scar after the incident, Mufasa allowed him to remain since he was still family.
    • More details are given about how Scar and the hyenas were hunting local herds either to extinction or out of Pride Rock altogether, the antagonistic relationship between the lionesses and Scar's rule and Nala's initial escape.
    • A minor point, but an explanation is introduced (expanding on one condescending line from the original) for why Scar leads Simba into the gorge other than "your father has a surprise for you": Scar claims the best way to get back in Mufasa's good graces is to perfect his roar, and then says the gorge is where all Pride Lands lions come to do so. He even states that Mufasa himself had done so as a cub, and refused to leave until "his roar echoed above the rim." This further justifies Simba's practicing, and implies more strongly that he does believe his roar is what set off the stampede.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • Scar’s cover-up of his murder of Mufasa leaves a gaping hole in his story this time. In the original, he took care of the only witness, Zazu, by knocking him out from behind before he could go for help, and Zazu clearly did not know that Scar was the culprit. However, in this adaptation, Scar sends Zazu to get the pride for help, and after the stampede, claims to the pride that he didn’t reach the gorge in time to help Simba and Mufasa. Zazu is implied to have been exiled from the pride after Scar’s take-over (given how the hyenas regularly try to eat him when he shows up), but considering Zazu still clearly regularly visited Pride Rock to relay information, it’s a wonder how Scar’s lie about not being able to make it to the gorge didn’t get exposed by Zazu. Note that this was changed to cover the original film's plot hole about why Zazu wasn't suspicious of being randomly knocked out.
    • On a similar beat, like in the original, the pride doesn’t come to Simba’s defense when he confesses responsibility for Mufasa’s death, even after he says it was an accident that happened when he was a cub, and Scar backs Simba to the cliff of Pride Rock and gloats to him about the look in Mufasa’s eyes before his death. Whereas in the original this was a more private conversation the others didn’t hear, in the remake, once Simba turns the tables on Scar, Sarabi asks how Scar saw the look in Mufasa’s eyes if he didn’t make it to the gorge in time, proving that it wasn’t a private conversation. If Sarabi could hear Scar admit he was lying, why didn’t she try to step in sooner?
  • Adaptation Name Change: Banzai and Ed have been renamed Kamari and Azizi bringing them in line with other characters that have Swahili names.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Rafiki is very clearly a mandrill in this iteration, as compared to the original version in which he indirectly referred to himself as a baboon and looks like a mandrill-baboon hybrid.
    • The fruit he uses in the original film to mark Simba's forehead has been replaced with a kind of root that produces a deep red powder.
    • A group of gemsbok are seen in a shot mimicking that of the topi in the original movie.
    • All but one of the more clearly identifiable birds riding on the elephant's tusks on the way to Simba's presentation (a hornbill, various assorted and stylized parrots and bee-eaters) have been replaced by other species (including an African gray parrot and a pair of red-billed oxpeckers).
    • The chameleon that Simba roars at in the gorge has been promotional species-swapped from a fictional one-horned Jackson's chameleon-esque design to a hornless helmeted species.note 
  • Adapted Out: While Shenzi sticks around, Banzai and Ed are replaced by Kamari and Azizi. Shenzi stands out as the overall leader of the hyenas, while Kamari and Azizi are more Those Two Guys, neither of whom are quite as maniacal as Ed.
  • African Chant: The isiZulu chants from "Circle of Life"note .
  • Age Cut: Just like in the original film, during the instrumental bridge of "Hakuna Matata" where we see Simba mature into an adult.
  • All There in the Manual: The hyenas Kamari and Azizi are not called by name in the film, but their names are shown in marketing materials and the novelization.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Multiple times, Scar tries to harass and coerce Sarabi into becoming his queen, making various threats each time she refuses. At one point when Sarabi tells him she will never become his wife, Scar makes good on one of those threats, punishing the entire pride of lionesses by giving the hyenas first rights at all food.
  • And Starring: For Beyoncé (credited as Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) and James Earl Jones, who receive "With Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones" in the trailers that list the main cast.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Despite all their meticulous anatomical detail, the animal models still lack genitalia and anuses.
  • Animal Religion: Mufasa tells a young Simba about the "great kings of the past", who watch over the Pride Lands from the heavens.
  • Animal Stampede: The iconic wildebeest stampede scene caused by the film's villains is still a crucial part of the story.
  • Animal Talk: As in the original film, all the animals (with dialogue at least) speak the same language regardless of their being different species.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Scar kills Mufasa this time around by slapping him into the wildebeest stampede.
  • Art Evolution: The animation, color palette, and even character models are markedly improved between the two teaser trailers, a trend that continued into the more recent TV spots and ultimately the film itself.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Rafiki's lithe appearance and dull colors make him more closely resemble a female mandrill, although this could be excused as an attempt to convey his old age.
    • While this is generally averted, there are still a few instances where the lions do the stereotypical wide-mouth yelling posture commonly associated with roaring even though actual full-blown lion roars are produced with the mouth in an almost closed position similar to a howling wolf. There are also a few times where the sounds they make are the more typical beefed up roars commonly heard in Hollywood productions rather than actual lion vocalizations.
    • Zazu has a combination of features from different hornbill species of the genus Tockus. His general plumage coloration resembles red-billed hornbills, specifically Tanzanian red-billed hornbills (Tockus ruahae), but his bill features a prominent casque which all red-billed hornbill species uniquely lack, as well as being an orange-yellow color that is much more commonly found in both Southern and Eastern yellow-billed hornbills (T. leucomelas and T. flavirostris, respectively).
    • A dik-dik is seen eating bugs alongside Timon, Pumbaa and the other insectivores, something they rarely if ever eat in real-life.
    • When we see young Pumbaa in flashback, he is clearly modelled on a juvenile wild boar rather than a warthog.
    • The horns on the gazelles are those of Thomson's gazelles, but their markings are closer to those of springbok (which are only found in southern Africa).
    • Galagos (bushbabies) are strictly nocturnal in real life, but here are seen frolicking with Timon and Pumbaa in broad daylight.
    • A pair of rollers is shown building a woven nest on a tree branch, even though real rollers nest in tree holes or cavities in termite mounds.
  • Ascended Extra: Zazu was a lighter, comic relief scout in the original film. Here his role is enlarged a little to be more of an adviser to Mufasa, and joined Simba's side upon his return to Pride Rock instead of being mostly absent in the final fight.
  • Badass Baritone: Mufasa has a deep and powerful voice befitting of his impressive physique and position as literal king of beasts.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: As in the original film, flames engulf Pride Rock and the surrounding area during the final battle.
  • Big Good: Mufasa, the king of the Pride Lands and loving dad to Simba, who throughout the film tells his son about the responsibility of kingship and how to rule in a fair and selfless manner. Mufasa is beloved throughout the pride (Scar even at least initially appeals to this when he refers to his brother as "the greatest king the Pride Lands has ever known") and particularly idolized by Simba himself.
  • Big "NO!": As per the original, Simba screams it as he watches Mufasa fall to his death.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: As in the original film, Simba, despite being a carnivore, is implied to have survived on a diet largely consisting of insects and other invertebrates while living with Timon and Pumbaa.
  • Book-Ends: As in the original, the film ends with Rafiki presenting the next generation of the lion pride, in this case Simba and Nala’s infant cub to the gathering animals. The opening and closing of the film are also prefaced by scenes involving mice going about their business.
  • Canon Foreigner: A group of other animals (including a bat-eared fox, an elephant shrew, a bushbaby, a pair of dik-dik, and a flock of guineafowl) live in Timon and Pumbaa’s jungle in contrast to the original film where it was just Simba, Timon and Pumbaa.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Simba and Nala grew up as close friends - and were even betrothed as cubs, which neither was excited about - before eventually falling in love when they reached adulthood.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Zazu tells a story of his brother who thought he was a woodpecker. Mufasa is not amused. Neither is Scar, but the distraction is enough to allow Nala to leave the hyena-guarded Pride Rock without being noticed, to find Simba.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Scar incriminates himself when Simba calls him out as the one who murdered Mufasa. Scar had earlier cornered Simba on Pride Rock (after coercing him into a false confession) and is about to kill him off; instead of just going in for the kill, Scar takes note of Simba's expression of fear and terror and begins gloating that it was just how it was when he (Scar) had Mufasa right where he wanted him. When Simba gets his Heroic Second Wind and calls him out, Scar instructs the lionesses to ignore Simba. Sarabi instead reminds Scar that it was he who said that he didn't get to the gorge in time "to save Mufasa," and when Scar agrees that he indeed said that, Sarabi then asks him point blank: "Then how did you see the look in Mufasa's eyes?" Scar immediately does an Oh, Crap! before the final battle begins.
  • Darker and Edgier: All of the lion-fighting violence and child witnessing his father's death (and being made to think he caused it) of the original, now with photo-realistic animals, many of the jokes that took the edge off the intensity of the original film removed, and a subplot re-purposed from the Broadway show in which Scar tries to make Simba's mother his queen.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Most of Timon's jokes are such throughout the film.
    • Young Nala wryly asks "Simba, do you speak bird?" in response to Zazu mentioning the lion cubs' betrothal.
  • Designated Girl Fight: In the final war sequence, the film makes a point to shine a spotlight on Shenzi vs Nala. Apparently they had been waiting for a "rematch" since the Elephant Graveyard incident.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • An unnamed hyena chasing Simba alongside Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi ends up falling over the same cliff that Simba falls off of, but while Simba manages to land on a small ledge not too far down, the hyena meets its demise this way.
    • Subverted, as expected, with Scar. He survives his fall from Pride Rock, as in the original, but is finished off by the hyenas he backstabbed mere moments later.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The hyenas become allies with Scar and unlike the original film they are treated better as they do not go hungry and a result they return the favor by being loyal to Scar. But near the end of the film they have a change of heart after hearing Scar blame them for everything and calling them revolting scavengers. Scar desperately tries to justify what he said, but the hyenas will have none of it and they lunge at their traitorous boss and literally tear him apart.
  • Dramatic Wind: While Mufasa is lecturing Simba on Pride Rock, a light breeze is blowing his mane back.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Scar is introduced this way.
  • Evil Uncle: Scar; brother to Mufasa and envious of his position on the throne, a jealousy that only intensifies with Simba's birth. ("I was first in line, until the prince arrived.") He ultimately takes over the Pride Lands through less than honorable means in an alliance with the hyenas.
  • Expressive Ears: More subtle than typical examples, given the nature of the film, but ears do indicate emotions and moods in certain cases, including the lions.
  • Foil: The film shows the juxtaposition between Scar and Mufasa's views on the throne. While Scar envies Mufasa for his immense privilege as king (he lambasts Mufasa's limited hunting policy and promises unlimited access to food in pitching his takeover plan to the hyenas), Mufasa advises young Simba that a good ruler is more interested in what they can give to their kingdom as opposed to reaping the personal benefits of the job and is shown to be against the idea of territory expansion through conquest when Simba inquires about it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: By far, this remake is the most faithful out of all of Disney's remakes. Those who seen the original film know what will happen such as Mufusa being killed again for example.
  • Foreshadowing: When Scar meets the hyenas for the first time they threaten to eat him before being persuaded by Scar to see reason and join forces with him instead. That threat happens at the end of the film when Scar throws them under the bus when he begs for Simba's mercy.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Other than Timon and Pumbaa the other creatures living in the jungle are quick to judge Simba and are frightened of him even as a cub. It does not help that Simba lets slip he would eat other animals which only gets Timon and Pumbaa’s friends paranoid especially how they are the kind of animals a lion would typically kill. Even when he's grown up and they've learned to trust him, there's still some awkwardness.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: While large and majestic in appearance, Mufasa still bears his share of small scars across his face that can only really be seen up close. In contrast, his brother Scar has a large unmissable cut mark running across his left eye, as well as various other nicks and bruises across his body that are noticeable within a reasonable distance.
  • Heaven Above: Mufasa explains that the great kings "look down on us from those stars" and towards the end of the film manifests in spirit form in a head of clouds during an electrical storm.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Simba stoically proclaims "I am Simba, son of Mufasa" after Rafiki asks him who he is.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Simba mentions Mufasa telling him about the great kings of the past, Timon and Pumbaa laugh at the idea. Then they start saying things that really bother Simba while not knowing his past.
    Timon: Hopefully, they don't fall out of the sky! Hold on, Your Majesty!
    Pumbaa: Yeah, don't let go now!
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When young Simba expresses his enthusiasm of being the next king to Scar, he rhetorically asks if that means he can tell his uncle what to do. Years later, when Scar pleads for mercy before the adult Simba, he asks his nephew to tell him what to do.
    • In "Be Prepared", Scar informs the hyenas, "When I am king, the mighty will be free to take whatever they want, because a hyena's belly is never full." Later on, Shenzi says "There's only one true thing you ever said, Scar. A hyena's belly is never full" as she and the other hyenas corner and eat Scar alive.
  • It's Up to You: Simba after a pep talk from the ghost of Mufasa decides to do the right thing and take his rightful place as King and knows only he can put an end to Scar’s tyranny.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When adult Simba continues to sing at the end of "Hakuna Matata", Pumbaa comments that he's "grown 400 pounds" since they started the song, a humorous little nod to Simba's sudden age jump. Earlier, they mention that they usually get a more gracious reception when they say "Hakuna Matata" than Simba's initial, unimpressed reaction.
  • Like Father, Like Son: When Scar has Simba cornered on Pride Rock and takes note of his fear and terror, Scar says that this is exactly how things were when he had Mufasa in his grasp ... and now, he intends to thrown Simba off Pride Rock to his death after "convicting" him of murder.
  • Meta Twist: Played for Laughs. In this version of "Hakuna Matata", Pumbaa actually manages to say the word "farted" because Timon doesn't bother to stop him this time. Even Pumbaa seems genuinely caught off-guard. There's also the ad-libbing at the end, where Simba keeps going... but Timon and Pumbaa can't get him to stop even though it's over.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: There is sufficient geographical context to determine that the Pride Lands are situated in the sprawling Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, specifically north of Mt. Kilimanjaro in south-central Kenya between Kajiado and Taita-Taveta counties near the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Accordingly, this specific range provides multiple examples of animals that don't belong there in real life, including:
    • A group of gemsbok (Oryx gazella) are featured in the "Circle of Life" sequence even though the species is only found in southwestern Africa rather than the East African setting of the story. (The similar and related East African oryx, specifically the beisa oryx (Oryx beisa beisa), would've been a more appropriate choice.)
    • In two prominent group shots of animals in the teaser trailers, an Indian rhino is prominently featured, though geographically accurate black rhinos (which actually live in Africa) appear in the background of other shots. One of the latter TV spots released before the film shows that the animal was been replaced with an appropriate African species of rhino (specifically a black rhino).
    • Rafiki's design firmly establishes him as a mandrill (as opposed to a baboon), resulting in him being very out of place as mandrills hail from the rainforests of West Africa as opposed to the East African Serengeti. (The fact that he mostly speaks the South African language isiXhosa throughout the film further adds to the confusion.)
    • Timon being a meerkat flies pretty heavily in the face of the species' actual biogeography given that meerkats are endemic to the Namib and Kalahari desert regions of southwestern Africa.
    • The rhinoceros beetle is most likely intended to be a centaurus beetle (Augosoma centaurus) which are only endemic to western equatorial Africa.
    • A downplayed example with the giraffes seen throughout the film, which specifically resemble the Rothschild giraffe subspecies/ecotype.note  Despite these giraffes presently only found in a select few protected regions of Uganda and western Kenya, their historical distribution was wider only a few centuries ago and possibly could've encompassed the Serengeti-Mara region proper alongside their cousins, the Maasai giraffe (G. c. tippelskirchi), which don't appear in any of the footage despite being the most common giraffe in the region.
    • An African gray parrot is seen hitching a ride on an elephant's tusk despite not being native to southern Kenya.
    • As in the original movie, South American leaf-cutter ants appear in Africa.
    • The gazelles, despite having horns like those of Thomson's gazelles, more closely resemble springbok in their colour and patterning. Springbok are only found in southern Africa.
  • Mood Whiplash: The main trailer ends with a delightful rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight from Timon and Pumbaa, contrasting and providing a balance to its overall serious tone. The movie itself, however, takes the scene the clip is from in the opposite direction, in that it starts with the song being sung by the two of them and their neighbors… until it's abruptly cut off when Nala attacks them.
    • Earlier in the film, we get a tense scene where Nala is hiding from Scar and the hyenas while escaping Pride Rock. The tension is instantly broken when Zazu pops up, asking the villains if they heard about his woodpecker-minded brother - thereby providing the distraction needed for Nala to escape.
  • Mythology Gag: The trailers provide the following examples:
    • A meta-example with the film's marketing. The original film's first teaser trailer was simply the "Circle of Life" sequence. This film's first teaser trailer (screened only for the D23 2017 Expo) was the new "Circle of Life" sequence, and the first public teaser trailer (released in November 2018) also largely consisted of scenes from “Circle of Life”.
    • Rather than an elephant graveyard (despite still being called that by the characters), the hyenas' main den site bears a much closer resemblance to the Outlands as portrayed in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, chiefly by way of the combination of rock formations/large termite mounds and the numerous tunnels and caverns within.
    • The shot of cub Simba looking at a rhinoceros beetle sitting on a rock is a reference to a similar moment in the original with Pumbaa.
    • Scar's design resembles that of Zira, the main villain of Simba’s Pride, featuring a lean build, dull brown coloration, torn right ear, and prominent dark stripe running down the center of his foreheadnote .
    • While just a face instead of the whole body, the painting of Simba on Rafiki's tree is the same design as in the original movie.
    • This rendition of the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" sequence ends with Simba and Nala cuddling on a large rock in a forested cliffside region, similar to the end of an early version of the same scene from the 1994 production.
    • Simba seated in-between his father's forelimbs as he learns about the kings of the past (as opposed to being on his back as in the original) a position reminiscent of a similar scene between Simba and Sarabi from early in the development of the original film.
    • There are a few background creatures in Timon and Pumbaa's jungle home that are references to various minor characters from prior Lion King projects:
      • The bat-eared fox is a callback to Bhati, a unused character from early drafts of the original film who was one of Simba and Nala's childhood friends.
      • The aardvark is a callback to Daabi, another unused character from early drafts of the original film who was also one of Simba and Nala's childhood friends.
      • The bushbaby is a reference to Laininote , a recurring minor character from The Lion Guard who appears in a number of episodes.
    • The film contains various references to the Broadway play:
      • The film proper begins with a short scene of a mouse scurrying about, minding its own business before it runs afoul of Scar, much like the Broadway play.
      • Zazu’s line about Mufasa’s rambunctious childhood is lifted directly from the show.
      • During the stampede, Mufasa gets to the tree Simba is holding onto and asks him to jump to him, just as his Broadway counterpart did. He doesn’t get the chance to catch Simba, however, because this time, a wildebeest plows into him, knocking them all over.
      • Scar’s subplot about trying to make Sarabi his queen is unquestionably a reworking of a subplot from the Broadway adaptationnote  in which Scar infamously tries to make Nala his queen.
    • When Pumbaa suggests keeping Simba, he explains that “one day when he’s big and strong” he'll be able to protect them, quoting “My Lullaby” from Simba’s Pride.note 
    • At the end of the film when Simba is reuniting with his friends and family after the battle, the rain causes the mane on Simba’s crown to be matted down and more closely resemble a scrapped hairdo his animated counterpart originally sported.
    • When Scar arrives at the Elephant Graveyard and Kamari threatens to eat him, Scar asks why they'd settle for one meal now when they could be feasting for the rest of their lives. The 2003 Platinum Edition DVD's director commentary stated that when Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella were auditioning for roles as hyenas, they shared a nearly identical exchange ("One meal now or a million in the future?" "One meal now, definitely one meal now.").
    • The film also has references toThe Lion King 1½
      • Like , this movie reveals that, after distracting the hyenas, Timon and Pumbaa were chased into a cave until Pumbaa chased the hyenas off.
      • As with , we find out that Timon and Pumbaa were watching Simba and Nala during their verse at the end of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight".
      • The movie has a shot of baby Pumbaa making bubbles in the water. In the midquel, Pumbaa made a jacuzzi out of a water hole by continuously passing gas in it.
  • Novelization: Simply titled, The Lion King: The Novelization was released over a month in advance of the movie's premiere.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Before Scar kills Mufasa, like the original he says, " king!".
    • And by the end of the film, Shenzi says, "There's only one true thing you ever said, Scar. A hyena's belly is never full." She turns out to be right, as the hyenas eat Scar alive not long after that.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The oasis is no longer Timon and Pumbaa's exclusive home, but a haven for self-described 'outcasts' (as seen below under Seldom-Seen Species).
  • Real Is Brown: The film lacks the sometimes extravagant colors of the original. The animals go through Adaptation Dye-Job to match the realistic colors of their species, resulting in most of them being gray or brown, and the landscapes, while spectacular, are also less colorful than in the 1994 animated film.
  • Reality Ensues: Even though Simba lives with them and has changed his diet to insects, the other animals other than Timon and Pumbaa are still afraid of him since he's still their natural predator.
  • Reimagining the Artifact: Timon putting on a skirt and doing the Hula would really not fly nowadays, and would clash heavily with the photorealism of the movie. Here he starts doing a parody of Be Our Guest before the hyena's attack.
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • The "Circle of Life" sequence features gemsbok, red-billed oxpeckers, an African grey parrot, greater kudu, topi, vervet monkeys, white rhinoceroses, little egrets, and grey crowned cranes.
    • A group of banded mongooses and a flock of village weavers are featured in the "Just Can't Wait to be King" sequence.
    • A flock of white-backed vultures surround an unconscious Simba in the desert.
    • Other residents in Timon and Pumbaa's home include a lesser bushbaby, a bat-eared fox, an aardvark, a black and rufous elephant shrew, Günther's dik-diks, and vulturine guineafowl.
  • Sexual Extortion: Scar offers to marry Sarabi so he can get the support of the lionesses, and when she refuses says that if she doesn't marry him, he will allow the hyenas to eat before the lionesses, which, given how many overhunting hyenas they are, likely means starvation.
  • Shot-for-Shot Remake:
    • Of all the live-action remakes (or in this case, photorealistic animation) to come out of Disney during the new tens, this one is the one that sticks the absolute closest to its original, even more so than Beauty and the Beast. If there are any additions, they err on the side of being extremely minor and easy to miss, with only one or two outright new scenes.
    • Played intentionally with "The Circle of Life," which remakes every shot from the original exactly as it was down to every last detail in the same order.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Indian rhino prominently featured in the "Circle of Life" sequence is likely a reference to director Jon Favreau's previous Disney work, The Jungle Book, which is set in India and features Indian rhinos.
    • Simba boasts "There will never be a king like me!" before launching into "Just Can't Wait to Be King".
    • When Timon and Pumbaa bait the hyenas, they begin to sing "Be Our Guest".
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Unlike in the original, Simba's eyes are a hazy blue as a baby. This is true to actual lion biology, in which cubs are born blind and cannot open their eyes until about ten days after their birth. The blue color is a result of delayed melanin production, but this changes as the cubs grow such that their eyes are golden-brown by the time they're three months old, as reflected in Simba's "cubhood" design.
    • Mufasa's mane is noticeably darker around the edges, which is a sign of a strong, healthy lion in real life. In contrast, Scar's mane is sickly pale and scraggly, which justify his status as the runt of the two, though nearly all the scenes featuring Scar position him in low lighting to make his mane as dark as his animated counterpart.
    • The zebras specifically look like Grant's zebras (Equus quagga boehmi), a subspecies of zebra is endemic to the Serengeti ecosystem where the story is set. Considering the surprising number of species and subspecies of zebra there are (three species, one of which has six recognized extant subspecies)note  and the fact that their physical differences are quite subtle, this attention to detail is commendable.
    • Unlike in the original film and its continuity, the hyenas here actually make real hyena sounds as opposed to canine calls.
    • Timon is seen walking on all fours instead of two like in the original. Real meerkats can stand on their hind legs but cannot walk bipedally.
    • Among the animals eating bugs with Timon and Pumbaa is a bat-eared fox, a species of fox which is known for its primarily insectivorous diet.
    • The film features both black and white rhinoceroses, appropriately distinguishing them via coloration and mouth shape (the former having a narrow, pointed mouth and the latter a wide mouth).
  • Slasher Smile: The hyenas seem to be mostly teeth when they're barring them.
  • Stargazing Scene:
    • Mufasa and Simba literally tells Simba to "Look at the stars" and goes on to explain that "The great kings look down on us from those stars."
    • Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa lay in a tree and stargaze, eventually starting a conversation about what each of them think about the nature of the nature sky and what exactly stars are.
  • Stock Audio Clip:
    • A trained ear can detect that Mufasa's returning speech used in the teaser trailer is comprised of both audio from the original film ("Everything the light touches is our kingdom.") and James Earl Jones re-recording more or less the same lines ("But a king's time as ruler" onwards). This can be identified due to Jones' voice sounding distinctly older than the original dialogue from 1994 for the second portion of the quote. In the film proper, a few more demanding lines from Mufasa are delivered using Jones’ original recordings from 1994, most prominently, "If you ever come near my son again...".
    • Lebo M.'s opening vocals for the 1994 "Circle of Life" are used in the teaser trailer. The whole of the song is the same audio track as the original save for the trailer embellishments.
    • “Circle of Life”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, and “Remember” note  reuse much of the original renditions’ backing vocals and choir.
  • Straw Nihilist: Hakuna Matata is interpreted this way in the movie. According to Timon and Pumbaa, there is no "circle of life" or anything beyond the here and now, only a "meaningless line of indifference". Nothing really matters beyond living comfortably and choosing your own happiness over a meaningful purpose.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Subverted. During "Hakuna Matata" Pumbaa thinks Timon is going to cut him off before he can say "farted", just like in the original, but to his surprise he actually gets to complete the rhyme.
    Pumba: And I got downhearted, every time that I... faaaaaaaarted — are you gonna stop me?!
    Timon: No I'm not! You disgust me!
  • That Came Out Wrong: Simba accidentally startles a topi while pouncing on a butterfly. The topi quips that he's glad that it was Simba and not "a real lion", but then he stumbles over his words while trying to correct himself. Finally, all he can muster is: "Yeah, I'm gonna go," and he leaves.
  • Tie-In Novel: A graphic novel anthology published by Dark Horse Comics entitled Disney's The Lion King: Wild Schemes and Catastrophes, features stories from Simba's childhood days.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Timon and Pumbaa love their grubs, sharing them with Simba and the other animals they share the jungle with. The novelization and Wild Schemes and Catastrophes reveal that Timon also loves to eat eggs, something that meerkats do eat sometimes in the wild.
  • Villain Song: Scar's "Be Prepared" is retained here, and while it's noticeably slower and shorter than the original, it's also much angrier and more intense in tone.
  • Villain Team-Up: Whereas in the original film Scar and the hyenas were apparently long-time allies, here they don't form their alliance until Scar approaches them for help killing Mufasa.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Once Simba and his mother Sarabi out Scar as Mufasa's murderer, Scar's Faux Affably Evil nature deteriorates to the point where he roars at his hyenas to kill Simba and all of the lionesses. It's even more pronounced during Simba and Scar's final battle.
    "This is MY kingdom! MY DESTINY!"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Simba falls into the thorns before making his way out of there and leaving for the desert, a hyena who was accompanying Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi falls with him too and unlike Simba, it's implied that the hyena dies because is never seen making it off the thorns. Surprisingly, neither Shenzi, Kamari nor Azizi are shown to notice it and it's never brought up again.
  • You Just Had to Say It: In the original film Simba tells Timon and Pumbaa they have to act as ‘live bait’ to distract the hyenas. In this version though Pumbaa slips out they need someone big and juicy to cause a diversion and as a result Pumbaa causes himself to become the bait along with Timon to an extent.



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