Remember Who You Are: A Lion King Movie Review

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You ever had a Disney movie tell you about yourself? I mean, I know that there’s always an underlying uplifting message in most kids movies but you ever had one just make you feel… seen? Welp, The Lion King did that for me the other day.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of the live action version of Disney’s The Lion King. In case you’re one of like 2 people on the planet who hasn’t seen the original, here’s a little about the movie:

The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, 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 Lion King: Tickets Now on Sale

The cast of this modern refresh of the classic includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.

THE LION KING – (Left to Right) Billy Eichner (Timon), Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala), JD McCrary (Young Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), Donald Glover (Simba), Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Nala), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Oliver (Zazu), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari) and Eric André (Azizi). Photo by Kwaku Alston. © 2019 Beyoncé/Kwaku Alston.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • James Earl Jones IS Mufasa. I’m so glad that James Earl Jones agreed to reprise his role as Mufasa (25 years later!!!) because honestly, who else could do it? Whoooo?! No one. That’s who.
  • Mufasa’s murder is even more gut-wrenching in live action. Somehow I felt more connected to the characters because they looked so real. Cue thug tears.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor ALMOST makes Scar likable. Almost. His voice is just so… *sighs*
  • I’m glad that this didn’t turn into the Beyonce show. Nala didn’t have a whole lot of screen time in the original version and I’m glad Disney didn’t bend over backward to make this all about Bey.
  • Timon and Pumbaa are even more hilarious than I remembered. Seriously, I cackled uncontrollably.
  • Maybe don’t see this movie in IMAX if you get motion sick or have vertigo. It’s a lot.

My biggest takeaway from the movie was this message: Remember who you are.
The original version of this movie came out when I was about 13 so that message flew over my head, but as an (alleged) adult, hearing Mufasa tell Simba to remember who he is held new meaning.

Life is hard. Adulting is hard. We experience things that just… suck. Sometimes, we run from our problems; whether that means actually packing up and leaving or retreating into solitude, we run. I’ve been guilty of that avoidance. I’ve been guilty of forgetting who I am. Forgetting my strength, resilience and general dopeness. Sometimes it’s my family and friends who snatch me outta my funk and remind me that I am stronger than I think. This time it was The Lion King.

Thanks Mufasa, you the real MVP.


About a week after I saw the movie, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala) and JD McCrary (Young Simba). Jump to the next page to check out what they had to say about their experiences and what’s next for them.

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T. Espinoza is CEO at The Style Medic. She's the Diva next door, the girlfriend who always looks Fab but doesn’t spend a bundle. She works with the active, focused Diva who wants to look fly, save time and most of all, save money. T. can help you streamline your wardrobe, maximize your budget and take your style from flat-lined to FABULOUS!

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