While Avengers: Infinity War seems to have stolen Disney’s D23 Expo, Jon Favreau did enough to get fans excited for his live-action remake of The Lion King. After directing the massively successful remake of The Jungle Book, Favreau has moved onto an even more beloved animated classic and the first footage from The Lion King was shown at the event.
Thanks to IGN, we have a step by step analysis of the first footage, which is a frame-for-frame recreation of the original movies iconic opening.
Check out the description below:
The Lion King first footage reveal was close to a frame-for-frame recreation of the “Circle of Life” opening of the animated movie. We see the sun rise over the African savanna, though of course this time it actually is a real sunrise over the horizon. The film is shot to match up with the same shots of the animals you see during that opening sequence in the cartoon, and they look photo-realistic despite being CGI. It’s especially powerful when you see them running by a realistic shot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background.
As this is the “Circle of Life” sequence, the crowd went nuts when the camera pulled back and revealed Pride Rock. It truly was stunning how carefully and effectively Favreau and his team captured the imagery of the animated movie and brought it realistically and powerfully to life in this film.
Of course, if we’re heading up to Pride Rock, we did see Rafiki, who looks very similar to how he looks in the cartoon, though a bit less gangly and a bit more realistic than as cartoony. The biggest character design change was for Simba, simply because he is a lot furrier than he was in the cartoon. Instead of being as round and stylised as baby Simba in animation, this version is a bit closer to a realistic lion cub. No cause for alarm: he is so. damn. cute. He sneezes at one point in a shot that seemed to be a good showcase of how this movie will try to have its characters both be adorable while also realistically animalistic.
The sequence ends with Rafiki marking Simba and then presenting him by holding him up over the animals gathered at Pride Rock. Jon Favreau’s The Lion King stars Donald Glover as Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumba, John Oliver as Zazu, and James Earl Jones returning to voice Mufasa. Hugh Jackman has reportedly been cast as the voice of Simba’s villainous uncle, Scar. The Lion King will land in theatres on July 19, 2019.