ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

Hot on the heels of the wild success story that was The Jungle Book earlier this year, it's been announced that director Jon Favreau will be pouncing on another Disney live-adaptation in the near future.

Late September, it was announced that the circle of life will be coming round again with a brand-spanking new remake of The Lion King.

As with The Jungle Book adaptation, the project is set on bringing back the most vibrant elements of the 1994 animated musical, complete with all the most iconic tunes and characters. Here's the official statement that was released by Disney at the time of the announcement:

"Disney has officially confirmed that The Walt Disney Studios and director Jon Favreau are putting a new reimagining of 'The Lion King' on the fast track to production. The project follows the technologically groundbreaking smash hit 'The Jungle Book,' directed by Favreau, which debuted in April and has earned $965.8 million worldwide."

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Yet, as we get ready to really feel the love towards the live-adaptation of the Disney classic, we may wonder – how similar will it really be to the 1994 original? And most importantly, will The Lion King live-action movie be suitable for kids? Let's analyze the evidence below:

Will The Lion King Live-Action Movie Be Suitable For Kids?

1. The Rating Is Likely To Be PG

'The Lion King' is likely to be PG | Disney
'The Lion King' is likely to be PG | Disney

Ever since Disney started churning out live-action adaptations of its most popular animation movies such as Cinderella and The Jungle Book, we've observed this particular pattern: The movies have almost always had a PG rating. Because of this, it's very likely that The Lion King will also follow this trajectory.

For those not aware, PG stands for "Parental Guidance" and means that although the movie is family-friendly, there will still be "some material [which] may not be suitable for children." Essentially, parents need to use their own discretion as there might be instances of mild violence and slight profanity in The Lion King.

2. An Exploration Of Dark Themes

Scar assembles his army | Disney
Scar assembles his army | Disney

Those of us introduced to 1994's The Lion King as kids will know that certain parts of the plot in the animated movie are slightly unsettling. As the live-action adaptation is likely to evoke a similar vibe to the original, parents should be wary of allowing very young children (under 5-years-old) to watch the following pivotal moments:

  • Mufasa's murder scene, where he is trampled by a stampede of wildebeast, may frighten young kids who are afraid of losing their parents or aren't yet familiar with the concept of death.
  • A group of bloodthirsty hyenas terrorizing two cubs in a steaming boneyard may frighten youngsters with mild instances bullying and aggression.
  • There are numerous scenes where animals are preparing to eat each other – for example, Zazu is almost plunged into a lava pot by hyenas.
  • Scar's song 'Be Prepared,' which is flooded with dark imagery, shows a scavenger army of hyenas assembling to take over Pride Rock. Although kids are unlikely to pick up on this, some parents might find the parallels to goose-stepping Nazis inappropriate.
  • Scar's death scene is overwhelmed with flames, ferocious snarls, snapping teeth and images of sharp claws being dug into paws.

As an example, here's a glimpse of Scar's demise at the end of The Lion King:

3. Slight Sexual Undertones

Nala gets close to Simba | Disney
Nala gets close to Simba | Disney

As the song 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight?' is a classic in The Lion King, it is very likely that it will also make an appearance in the live-action adaptation. As it features a romantic scene between two lions, parents should be prepared for mild sexual undertones and a bit of flirting throughout.

In particular, Nala makes "bedroom eyes" at Simba, heavily implying she would like to mate with him. They also roll around together in the foliage and pin each other down. Below is the sequence from the 1994 animation, which we will probably see in the Jon Favreau version too:

4. The Overall Message Is Incredibly Positive

Simon and Puma are the movie's most comical characters | Disney
Simon and Puma are the movie's most comical characters | Disney

Yet, although there will be certain elements in The Lion King not entirely suitable for very young children, the overall message of the live-action will be teach youngsters many essential life lessons.

In particular, the movie's focus on the importance of family, friendship, unconditional love and sacrifice dishes out a very positive message and the lead character Simba remains a wonderful role model: He is kind to others, incredibly brave, determined and in touch with his emotions.

Ultimately, all of these things will ensure that a child comes away from The Lion King with a positive outlook on the movie.

Do you think that in general, Disney live-action movies are suitable for kids?


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