The Lion King Movie Review

Twenty five years ago, The Lion King hit theaters. To say that it was a hit was an understatement. It is a masterpiece that to this day is loved, treasured and referenced.

Yesterday, the reboot was released. Directed by Jon Favreau, the new film follows the narrative of it’s animated predecessor. Simba (voiced by Donald Glover as an adult and JD McCrary as a child) is the son and heir to Pride Rock. His parents, Mufasa (James Earl Jones, the only holdover from the original film) and Sarabi (Afre Woodard) are King and Queen, respectively.

As a young cub, as many young are, Simba is energetic, curious and doesn’t exactly follow his parent’s instructions. Unfortunately, he gets his best friend Nala (voiced by Beyonce as an adult and Shahadi Wright Joseph as a child) in trouble as well.

Neither knows that Simba’s Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has a chip on shoulder. Scar’s plan to remove all obstacles to the throne nearly succeeds as Simba runs from fear and shame. He is befriended by Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), a couple of misfits who only know freedom and a boundary-less life.

Then Simba is reminded of who he is. Can he step and be King or will he continue to run from his past?

If I had to rank all of the live action reboots that Disney has released over the past few years, this film would easily rank as #1. Favreau and his creative team had a herculean task on their hands: create a new film while showing deference to the 1994 animated film.

In my opinion, they succeeded. I felt a chill down my back as the opening number started. The animation, if it can be described as that, looked more like a documentary on the National Geographic channel than a film with a fictional narrative. I loved the cast, who, like the creative team, were able to put their own spin on their characters while showing deference to the actors who lent their voices to the 1994 film.

If I had to choose my favorite things about this film, I would choose two. The first is Nala and Sarabi. In the 1994 film, Sarabi is a glorified background character. In this film, Sarabi is more prominent and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Nala is the power behind the throne and a warrior in her own right.

The second is Timon and Pumbaa. These characters bring a lightness and a comedic element to a narrative is full of psychological symbolism and heavy with the ideas of fate and responsibility.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Lion King is presently in theaters.


Flashback Friday- Mid 90’s Cartoons- The Lion King (1994) & Space Jam (1996)

The 1990’s produced a vast array of entertainment, especially for younger audiences. The Lion King (1994) and Space Jam (1996) are two of these movies.

The Lion King

Simba (voiced as a cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and by Matthew Broderick as an adult) is a young lion prince in the jungle. When his uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons), accuses Simba of murdering his father by starting a wildebeest stampede, Simba runs. Years later, when he comes face to face with his past, Simba must decide to run or face his demons.

I like this movie. Taking a break from their traditional fairy tale/prince and princess/happily ever after storyline, the good people at Disney took a risk with this movie. The risk paid off. The movie won multiple awards and it’s Broadway incarnation has been playing for nearly 20 years. What I find interesting is that this movie could be construed as, Hamlet in the jungle. But that’s fine, because it is an enjoyable film.

Space Jam

Michael Jordan (playing himself) must help the Looney Tunes gang win a game of basketball against aliens who have stolen the abilities of well known NBA players.

Michael Jordan was the king of basketball in the 1990’s. So it made perfect sense to cast him rather than cast an actor and teach them how to play. This movie is not for everyone, but it is entertaining and it has a message about self esteem at it’s core, a message I think we all need to hear every once in a while.

I recommend it.


Dear Tourists

Dear Tourists, Welcome to New York City!

Before you take your cameras out with the enormous lenses and your oh-so-handy MTA maps, I would like to provide some advice. New York City is not Disneyland. Millions of us live and work here every day. For your enjoyment and my sanity, here are my tips for your very first New York City vacation.

1. If you are unsure about where you are going, do not stop in the middle of the street, because you will certainly be obstructing traffic. Please stand away from the center of the sidewalk if you need to consult a map.
2. The same goes if you are trying to take a picture. I’m sure that the picture you’re planning on taking will be beautiful, but if you’re standing in the middle of the street taking pictures while I’m trying to get back to my desk with only a few precious minutes left before my lunch hour ends, don’t be surprised if you get elbowed, cursed at or jostled by angry and fuming New Yorkers.
3. Save the pictures of the cartoon characters and the superheroes for your next visit to the amusement park. It’s true that life-sized Disney and Marvel characters can be found at Times Square, but do you really want to spend your extra change to pay these costumed human beings to take a photo with you in the most crowded part of the city?
4. If you must take a taxi, take only the yellow or green cabs. Take the independent black town cars only if you have to, because they aren’t heavily regulated. And if you are approached by a pedi cab driver, run, don’t walk to the nearest subway station. Your likely to get to your destination faster and for much less money.

5. If you see a celebrity on the street, you can politely greet them but don’t be a part of the paparazzi. There’s no sign of a tourist more than the sight of a gawking fan with a huge camera.
6. Consider leaving Manhattan during your trip! There is plenty to see and do in the outer boroughs. The views of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade are beautiful.
7. Eat someplace else besides the chain restaurants. There is nothing wrong with TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, etc., but did you really come all this way just to eat at the same restaurants that you can find at home?
8. Hawkers will hound you to sell various walking or bus tours. It’s better to pick two or three tours beforehand and stick to them.

You’re eventually going to need to take the subway. Taking a taxi throughout the city gets expensive very quickly. You can drive if you want to, but traffic is a nightmare and parking can be overpriced. These are my tips so you can enjoy your first subway ride peacefully.

1. If you don’t want to be spotted as a tourist, download one of the many apps that are available from the iTunes and  Android app stores that will help navigate you throughout New York City.
2. During rush hour, it is advisable that if you are unsure about where you need to go, that you stand far away from the turnstiles and the stairs at the train stations. Rush hour on the subway in New York City is like a stampede scene in the Lion King.

3. You are paying one (1) fare. That means you are paying for one (1) seat. You are not paying for your bags to have their own seat. Just put them on the floor or on your lap.
4. Gentlemen, and not to forget, ladies — close your legs and don’t manspread. Manspreading is at best a pain and at worst a huge headache for passengers around you, especially on a crowded train.
5. There are many places in NYC that are suitable for children to play in, but the subway car is not one of them. Please keep your kids safely nestled on their seats.

And finally:


Thank you and enjoy your trip.

%d bloggers like this: