Elton John Blasts The Lion King Remake, Calls It A Huge Disappointment


Touting best-in-class visual effects and a voice cast for the ages (Donald Glover! Beyoncé! James Earl Jones!), The Lion King was undoubtedly one of the great summer blockbusters of 2019.

And it certainly turned in an impressive performance at the worldwide box office, raking in $1.62 billion for Disney – a company that was still riding high after the runaway success of Avengers: Endgame.

That’s not to say The Lion King didn’t have its fair share of detractors, with some critics even going so far as to suggest that transitioning Disney’s Hamlet parable to the realm of live-action was wholly unnecessary, as it robbed the film of its heart and soul. Elton John certainly thinks so, too, after telling GQ that The Lion King of 2019 left him “hugely disappointed,” largely due to the movie’s handling of the original soundtrack.

The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up. Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost. The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year.

The music maestro went on to highlight the stark contrast in The Lion King‘s impact beyond theaters, as in 1994, the official soundtrack remained in the charts for weeks on end. And Disney’s live-action remake? Well, as Elton John recalls, it slipped off the public’s radar faster than you could say Hakuna Matata.

Via GQ:

The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success. I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.

Despite earning a pretty penny at the global box office, there was a general feeling of ‘been there, done that’ with Disney’s The Lion King remake. Sure, it helped introduce the tale of Simba to a younger audience, but as Elton John points out, it didn’t really have the same level of cultural impact as its animated predecessor.

Source: GQ