Hakunah Matata—I’ve got some worries

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By Managing Editor

Disney announced Sept. 28 there is a “new reimagining” of “The Lion King” in the works.

The movie has been connected to director Jon Favreau, who led the “reimagining” of “The Jungle Book” released earlier this year. The movie was a box-office success with a worldwide gross of $965 million.

Along with “The Jungle Book” remake, many other Disney movies from the 20th century have been redone as live-action and CGI-filled films. 

“Maleficent” remixed the original tale of “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Cinderella” retold the title character’s story. Tim Burton reimagined “Alice in Wonderland” and the sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Lin-Manuel Miranda will be composing music for “The Little Mermaid,” which doesn’t have a set release date or an actress to play Ariel. “Harry Potter” co-star Emma Watson will be portraying Belle in the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” movie set for a 2017 release.

Disney also announced nine remakes or reimaginings with little-to-no details, including a “Maleficent”-like movie about Cruella de Vil.

With all of those past and upcoming projects—that all did moderately or substantially well—a redo of “The Lion King” probably seemed like the next logical step for Disney because it can’t remake “Frozen” quite yet. However, I wish they would leave the classic film alone.

Though Favreau had success with “The Jungle Book,” he’s really going to have to step it up for his newest film.

The original “The Lion King” movie in 1994 grossed $968 million—which is a few million more than the new “The Jungle Book” for which the original film grossed $205 million in 1967. While there was room to improve on “The Jungle Book,” the new “The Lion King” will have to be really special to surpass, or even reach, the quality, reception and box-office success of the original, which won multiple Grammys, Oscars and Golden Globes.

Favreau also had more to work with and adapt in “The Jungle Book” with main character Mowgli than he will for “The Lion King,” which is—obviously—filled with lions and other animals and no human characters. The animals in “The Jungle Book” were done well enough, but while they were important characters, they were not the ones carrying the storyline.

Though it’s exciting to hear that the movie, much like upcoming “Beauty and the Beast,” will feature songs from the original movie, imagining a CGI warthog singing about his flatulence issues is more cringeworthy than funny.

As someone who grew up watching “The Lion King” so many times it could be called an obsession, it makes me nervous to think Favreau may change important aspects of the film to make it work as a semi-live-action, mostly-CGI movie. It will be hard for any remake to compare to the original movie—or even the sequels “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride” and “The Lion King 1 1/2.”

Also, this remake most likely won’t have Ferris Bueller, aka Matthew Broderick, voicing adult Simba, so what’s the point?

As Scar warned in 1994, “Be prepared.”