The Disney Live Action version of the legendary "Lion King" had critics and regular moviegoers
on seriously opposing teams.
Some critics felt that remaking of the movie was a cold-hearted Disney cash grab.
But many fans of the original movie said that The Lion King remake was a fun ride that introduced
a new generation to a classic story.
Well, in this video, I won't start debating whether this animated classic should have
been remade in any other way.
Let's leave all the hot takes about these sort of things in the comment section.
Instead, we'll take a look at some of the major changes between The Lion King versions
in 1994 and 2019.
In particular, we'll go over the darker stuff that the creators didn't see fit for the remake.
Believe it or not, the original saw some controversies, and the remake felt it necessary to avoid
But before we start, a little reminder here: we aren't saying we agree or disagree with
We want to hear what you think in the comments section.
The final say is yours.
Let’s get started!
Racist Hyena Issues Yes, let’s talk about it.
Back in 1994, some academic critics thought that the portrayal of these hyenas was racist.
The evidence, according to them, being that the overall cast was mainly white, but the
two leading hyenas Shenzi and Banzai were voiced by minority actors: Cheech Marin and
And these hyenas were portrayed as low-life thugs that used slang and were hidden away
somewhere in the shadows of the Pride Lands.
One Harvard psychologist's interpretation saw the hyenas as more urban, which was an
opinion that circulated until a Disney spokeswoman was asked about the controversy.
Her response was straightforward, to say the least.
She said: "It's a story.
These people need to get a life."
Which, agree with it or not, we can all probably agree that you would never get that level
of blunt honesty in a Disney PR release in 2019.
When we look at the new version of The Lion King, things have definitely taken a turn.
We can only assume this, but clearly some Disney bosses or creative minds tried to avoid
the reemergence of this scandal.
The hyenas are smarter and not there to be the butt of a joke.
This time, they seem to be Scar's equals.
The new cast and crew of The Lion King have acknowledged the changes, but possibly for
Director Jon Favreau said that they hyenas had to change a lot because of the photo-realistic
nature of the film.
According to his words, "having too broad of a comedic take on the hyenas felt inconsistent
with what we were doing".
Whatever the particular considerations behind the change, it really seems that the true
nature, or their essence, has turned from a comedic force into symbolizing danger.
Just look at Shenzi.
She's played by Florence Kasumba who described the hyena as a threatening force.
In the heated climax, Shenzi has her own fight with Nala, while Simba and Scar tear at each
Many people would argue the racism accusations levied over the initial hyena portrayals were
baseless, and concocted by people who simply looking to make something out of nothing,
while others believe that there was merit to their criticism.
What do you think?
But, we’re just getting started here, let’s talk about that Twitter storm that Scar's
new look set off back in April...
Scar's New Look When The New Lion King trailer came out, it
started a major Twitter fire among Disney's and the original movie's fan base.
There are two main differences in Scar's look when you compared it to the first movie.
His mane is no longer black and luscious.
Instead, it looks more patchy.
And then there's the fur color.
No longer is it dark brown.
Now it's a sandy color just like Simba and Mufasa.
Many fans said that the lion that they’re seeing just isn't Scar anymore.
His cartoon design made him appear far more villainy and dark in tone that just wasn’t
something that was as possible with photo-realism.
Which was an overall major criticism across the film as a whole.
The Lion King Lost Its Queer Coding But differences regarding Scar didn't end
Some people have accused Disney of giving its evil characters stereotypically homosexual
Namely, they mention Hades, Captain Hook, and Scar as appropriate examples of queer
coding the villains.
This time, it's different.
Scar has a thing for Simba's mom.
We learn about this when Scar mentions that long age Sarabi chose Mufasa over him.
But Scar isn't over her, but she shoos away any of his advances.
Favreau said that this new love triangle was inspired by Shakespeare.
He explained that in Hamlet, there was the mother of the murdered father going with the
The Lion King is based on the classic play so one could argue this fits in with the story.
The thing is though, although some people criticized Disney in the past for giving some
of these villains stereotypically gay traits… changing that didn’t really stop criticism.
As several outlets and people on twitter have since complained about Scar being straight-washed…
Mustafa's Death Is Less Emotional I think we can all agree that Mustafa's death
in the first movie was simply brutal.
We all cried.
But many viewers found the interpretation of this legendary scene considerably less
bleak in the remake.
No facial expressions and a less nightmarish atmosphere made this moment far less emotional.
And while Simba used to carry the guilt with him for the rest of his exile, the new movie
watered this down as well, at least according to fans who went on an emotional rollercoaster
ride while watching the 1994 version.
Many agree that the remade scene just didn’t pack the emotional punch that the original’s
Less Entitled Lions Did the Lion King creators check the characters'
sense of entitlement?
Some people think that's exactly the case.
There's the scene in the original version of The Lion King where Simba and Mufasa look
over the vast Pride Lands.
Simba says, "And this will all be mine?" to which Mufasa responds, "Everything".
Now, in the 2019 version, things are a little different.
This time, Mufasa is more humble and tells his son that the land doesn't belong to anyone.
The lions protect the land instead of owning everything until the horizon.
This seems to be a revision to show Mufasa and Simba in a more favorable light, as one
could argue the Lions are essentially dictators and Simba was pretty entitled throughout the
Nala Gets More Screen Time Nala's character is regarded as being a bit
underdeveloped in the 1994 version of The Lion King.
This time around, Nala gets more things to do.
For example, there's the scene where Nala sneaks way from Pride Rock to find more food
for her family.
This means sneaking past Scar as well.
And then there's the moment when she gathers all the lionesses to tackle Scar.
She asks them: Are you with me?".
As you might remember, she didn't have to ask twice.
Likely a creative decision to expand on a female character.
Shenzi Outranks The Other Hyenas The original Lion King had three leading hyenas.
Banzai, Ed, and Shenzi.
Each with their own personality.
And although Ed was dumb as a box of rocks, there didn’t appear to be any real rank
or order to them.
The new movie puts Shenzi in an alpha female role that actually mirrors the way hyena clans
work in the wild.
This time, there's no Banzai and Ed.
Instead, you have Azizi and Kamari who are her second and third in command.
There's no doubt that they are her subordinates.
One could argue this was a creative choice to have another powerful female role, not
on the side of good, but on the evil side as well.
Fascist Hyenas Did you think that we were already done with
Not really, because in the original film they were shown as fascistic.
And not in a 2019 everything I disagree with is fascistic kind of way, but in an actual
goose-stepping Nazi imagery kind of way.
We actually see them as mirroring German soldiers during WW2 during Scar’s Be Prepared song.
It’s pretty unmistakable, it's the straight-legged marching style of the German stormtroopers.
According to some observant viewers, the scene seems to be borrowed from Leni Riefenstahl's
Triumph of the Will.
Now, the new movie still has its own version of "Be Prepared".
But instead of a song, you'll get more speaking, and there's zero goose-stepping involved.
The times have definitely changed and nowadays having this kind of imagery might be too risky
After all, the company has positioned itself as having more progressive and culturally
sensitive values than in the past.
But one could argue that there isn’t a problem with portraying the bad guys as fascists.
Afterall, they’re the villains.
What do you think?
Caught In A Web Of Lies In the 1994 version, Simba literally forces
Scar to confess in front of the lionesses about murdering Mufasa.
But in the remake, the lionesses are smart enough to figure it out on their own.
That's because, in an earlier scene, Scar said that he didn't make it to the gorge in
time to save Mufasa and Simba.
But later, he claimed that he saw the fear in Mufasa's eyes.
This is exactly what made the lionesses understand that they have got a liar on their hands.
No Hint Of Lion Love Things got pretty suggestive in the original
Simba was on top of Nala, and she gives him quite a telling look.
The scene cuts away to the next one when they start necking each other.
The "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" sequence is still there in the new movie, but it's
a bit different this time.
First of all, it takes place during the daytime.
And, more importantly, Timon and Pumbaa keep an eye on the young lovers throughout the
This way, all the people in the audience can be fully sure that there's no funny business
going on and all the kids' eyes can be left uncovered.
Thematically, I think it can be argued that they left out an important part of the Circle
of Life, but maybe it would be deemed as inappropriate today.
Given that the original only really implied sex, do you think they were too sensitive
removing it given that it fits the Circle of Life theme?
Of all the changes that happened in The Lion King, which ones do you think were merited.
Do you think Disney made the right decision with their changes to correct problematic
issues in the original?
Or do you think people are too sensitive?
Let us know in the comment section below.
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But most importantly, stay wicked!