A new TV spot Disney is calling a "Special Look" dropped for The Lion King during last night's Oscars ceremony. Disney, over the last handful of years, has been making the most of their large library of classic titles by re-imagining many of these tales in live-action for modern audiences and, so far, that strategy has paid off handsomely. This year will see several classics getting the remake treatment, but this is surely the one most precious to those who grew up in the 90s and this latest footage further teases this new take. Thankfully, we're seeing some never-before-seen footage in this new spot which adds to the mystique of the first full-length Lion King trailer.
Director Jon Favreau's all-new The Lion King journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub's arrival. Scar, Mufasa's brother-and former heir to the throne-has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba's exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
The cast includes mostly new voices, with Donald Glover (Simba) Beyonce (Nala), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Kani (Rafiki), John Oliver (Zazu), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Billy Eichner (Timon), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), Eric Andre (Azizi) and Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) rounding out the core cast. Amy Sedaris will also be voicing a new character. Most importantly, James Earl Jones will be reprising his iconic role as Simba's father, Mufasa. Jones is the only original cast member returning for the remake. But if only one of those original actors was going to make the cut, Jones is clearly the best choice.
This is commonly referred to as a live-action remake, though, there has been some debate about that. Even though these animals look to be real, and the scenery looks to be real, it is all done with CGI. It's the same technology Disney employed to make their recent remake of The Jungle Book, which had live-action elements, but was mostly CGI. Technically speaking, when it comes down to it, this isn't live-action, but it will have that look and feel to it. Jon Favreau, who also directed The Jungle Book and Iron Man, is in the director's chair. Though, there have been some concerns that this remake will just be exactly the same movie with updated technology, there have been assurances provided that won't be the case. It does certainly appear that the core story and much of what made the original a success will remain intact.
1994's original animated version of The Lion King was one of Disney's most successful animated endeavors of the 90s. The movie was a runaway critical success and grossed a staggering $968 million worldwide, working from a budget of just $45 million. Movies rarely see that kind of return these days, but back then it was nearly unheard of. With nostalgia being a very powerful thing, and with the footage we've seen so far being as visually stunning as it is, this remake is poised to be an equally big success. Disney is set to release The Lion King in theaters on July 19. Be sure to check out the new trailer below.