Can you feel the love tonight in Disney’s latest live-action film, The Lion King? Be prepared on whether this film is kid-friendly in my Lion King Parent Review. I’m breaking down all of the thematic elements and addressing its PG rating. Get a moms perspective on if children should see The Lion King. And of course, no spoilers.
THE LION KING PARENT REVIEW #TheLionKing
I’ve been quite honest about my opinion of Disney’s live-action remakes. In fact, for the most part, I think I go against the grain. While others are rolling their eyes at bringing our cherished animated classics to life, I feel it gives us something new. Something we can relate to, but different.
With that being said, when I heard Disney was producing a live-action Lion King, I was….intrigued. For starters, there are ZERO human beings in The Lion King. The story is completely based on animals, and although they might have human-like qualities, how would this work?
The animated version of Disney’s The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie from my childhood. So of course on opening night, our family headed to our nearby theater. I had the kids snap a quick photo with this incredible backdrop.
I’m going to assume you are fully aware of the original story of The Lion King. Disney’s live-action remake follows this same story, almost scene for scene.
The opening sequence followed the original, but in this version it looked so incredibly life-like. The savanna showing the animals await to meet the new Prince was portrayed beautifully. The opening set the tone for the film. It truly opened with a bang, making you feel like this was a Disneynature film and you were seeing REAL animals in their natural habitats.
But of course we all know Disney’s live-action The Lion Film is done completely in CGI. These life-like animals are all computer generated, and it’s really hard to believe. In fact, my niece still does not believe me! She was arguing with me in the theater that there was no way these weren’t REAL animals!
From the expressions to the natural movements, Disney pulled us in, and made us believe these animals were indeed real. And because of this, it made us feel more connected to these characters.
I thought Disney portrayed the physical features of the characters perfectly. Mufasa is royal and majestic. He is larger than life, and has a powerful ROAR. On the other hand, Scar seemed scraggly to me. It really reflected the characteristics of their animated versions.
Simba is really an adorable lion cub. You can’t help but fall in love with his curious and feisty personality. It’s beautiful to watch the father and son connection shared between Mufasa and Simba. I think it makes that scene all the more gut-wrenching to watch.
I know you all know which scene I’m referring to. It’s one of the most devastating scenes in Disney movie history. Because these characters are so unbelievably life-like, it makes it that much more REAL. Clearly Disney knew what they were doing, because it really tore your heart out and stomped on it into a million tiny pieces. You literally wanted to jump into the screen to console Simba. You were right there along with him screaming, “NOOOOO!!!”
The songs play a huge part in Disney’s animated classic, and it’s no different in this remake. For the most part, the songs remain the same. Hakuna Matata was light-hearted and silly with some added lyrics…my kids were rolling! The Circle of Life, gave you chills in the opening scene. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, was playful and spot-on. Can You Feel the Love Tonight, really pulled out the WOW factor. Beyonce nailed it as Nala. The only song that left me underwhelmed was Scar’s, Be Prepared. It didn’t leave me with that terrifying feeling and evilness you feel in the original. I just felt like something was missing.
Is The Lion King Kid-Friendly?
The question you’ve all been waiting for. Should you take your kids to see Disney’s live-action The Lion King? Well, that depends. Let me explain. The Lion King has a running time of 1 hour 58 minutes, compared to the 1 hour 29 minute original. At almost 2 hours, this can be a long time for little ones. I will tell you that the film didn’t seem to feel too long. It didn’t drag on and there weren’t any lull moments. I saw the movie with my two boys, ages 5 & 9, and my niece and nephew, ages 7 & 9, and they were fine with the duration.
Disney’s live-action The Lion King is rated PG, and rightfully so. It is rated PG for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements. With the characters seeming more life-like than ever, the scenes are guaranteed to be a bit more scary.
Violence: Aside from that scene, there is violence and fighting among the lions and hyenas, much like the original. However, it can be rather loud and there are definitely a few suspenseful moments. There are a few jump scenes that upset my 5 year old. He is very sensitive to loud noise, and doesn’t like to be startled. He ended up watching the movie sitting curled up on my lap. If you were to ask him if he liked the movie, he will tell you it was a bit too scary and loud.
Language: While there weren’t any swear words in The Lion King, there were still a few choice words that could have been left out. I heard one use of the word “stupid,” that could have been left out. My 9 year old pointed out that the word “murder” was used an excessive amount. It did bother him a bit and he felt an alternative word could have been used.
Adult themes: None. Aside from some lions nuzzling, there is nothing to worry about here.
Conversation Starters: Disney always does a good job highlighting real world themes we can all learn from. My favorite being when Simba asks Mufasa if he will one day “own” the Kingdom. Mufasa simply states that the Kingdom belongs to no one, but the King must protect the Kingdom. He explains the circle of life and that we must respect all creatures. Tell me this doesn’t ring true in today’s world? Bravo, Disney.
Taking note to the above, you can use your best judgement on if The Lion King is safe for your kids. We all know no two children are the same. I probably should have waited for my 5 year old to see this movie in the comfort of his own home. But my 9 year old? He was on the edge of his seat, immersed in every second.
Did Disney’s live-action The Lion King live up to my expectations? Honestly, nothing can replace the classic animated version for me. Call it nostalgia if you’d like, but there’s something special to me about the original. But this adaptation? It has its own uniqueness and offers something the original doesn’t….realness. The story pulls at your emotions just as well, if not deeper, because of the life-likeness of the animals. If you’re a fan of the original, be prepared to be fully engaged in this triumphic remake.
Follow The Lion King on Social Media:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyTheLionKing/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyLionKing
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lionking
- Website: https://disney.com/lionking
- Hashtag: #TheLionKing
Disney’s live-action The Lion King has ROARED into theaters everywhere! Will you be taking your family to see Disney’s latest remake?
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