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When I heard that there would be a live action Lion King staring Beyonce and Donald Glover, I was just as excited as the next person. Donald Glover is an incredible artist and is incredibly versatile in both his acting and music; he balances the non-toxic masculinity, chivalry, and openness that a character like Simba has. And of course, Beyonce is a Queen, just like Nala.
But this reboot still left me wondering…why?
The original Lion King has aged incredibly well and its sequels (Lion King 2 and Lion King 1/2), though not nearly as popular, haven’t aged badly either. The lessons taught in the original are still important and prevalent today. Aside from wanting to spend millions of dollars creating a beautiful movie with recycled characters and a recycled storyline (which was originally recycled from Hamlet), there is no one that needed this movie.
When you look at other reboots that have happened in recent years, it is easy to understand why this is happening. Look at all of the recent Spiderman reboots, the unnecessary Superman and Batman reboots, the reboots of Boy Meets World, That’s So Raven, Arrested Development, the Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans, and all of the others. They attempt to cash in on the memories of millennials for a quick cash grab that requires little to no work and creativity.
Rather than taking risks and working to put together a statement of artistry that is truly unique and creative, Hollywood sticks to the same safe choices. This is why superhero movies will continue to thrive, they are safe and are guaranteed to make money and those that do not quite meet their price tag are compensated for by those that do.
And really, can it be considered a live action movie if it is entirely animated? It should just be called an animated film.
Opinions like mine will mean so much nothing for a film like this because people will still pay to see it because of the star-studded cast, dependable storyline, music, and nostalgia. For many, films are not an opportunity to challenge themselves by analyzing all of the small things that make so many films great. Rather they are a chance for escapism, which is valuable in its own way. However, if escapist movies are the only ones being created by Hollywood, they should stop pretending that each recycled idea is innovative.