With the rare exception (‘Casino Royale’ springs to mind) movie remakes suffer the fate of critical comparison. Characters we loved are ruined forever by another actor. Scenes we memorised are deleted, or worse, reimagined. So, you can imagine the trepidation with which I approached the new version of ‘The Lion King’.
We love the original (1994). And yes, I did cry when I first saw it. But then give me 5 minutes of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and I’ll be bawling my eyes out.
So, heading to the cinema 25 years later, I had to wonder if the new version would have the same impact? Put simply – would it be as good as the original? However, part way through the film, that question no longer occupied my thoughts, replaced by something as surprising as it was poignant.
The opening to the 2019 version of ‘The Lion King’ is faithful to the majestic beginning of the original (without the slightly wonky giraffe which always slightly disturbed me). The heart-pounding crescendo leading into the ‘thump’ of the title screen makes you want to rise to your feet and applaud. However, this being England, we just sit in appreciative silence.