Musical legend Elton John recently panned the 2019 remake of The Lion King. Specifically, the film’s soundtrack. John offered his theory concerning the differences between the original 1994 version and the new incarnation, and where he believes the true musical spirit of the animated classic can be found.
In an interview with GQ, John called the Lion King remake a “huge disappointment to [him]”. The major reason for John’s disappointment was that he believed that “they messed the music up. The magic and joy were lost.” John noted that the original film’s soundtrack was a major success on its own, as “it was the bestselling album of the year.” That is contrasted with the soundtrack for the new version, which “fell out of the charts so quickly, despite massive box-office success.”
John, who provided many of the iconic songs for the original version of The Lion King, believes that “the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around”. John claims to have offered to work more closely on the film, but he “wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect.” However, John’s disappointment in the music from the new film was tempered by his happiness that “the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”
While the 2019 version of The Lion King was indeed a box-office success, strong condemnation of the musical vision from a person who helped to make the original film a classic deserving of remaking may sour the tastes of some fans of The Lion King who hoped that it would be respected by those who worked on the 1994 original.
Helmed by Jon Favreau, The Lion King features the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Florence Kasumba, Eric André, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones.
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