Happy Thanksgiving, everybody (well, everyone in the United States; the rest of you, happy Thursday). We hope you've been enjoying our continuing coverage of Lasso, the best Thanksgiving movie ever made, but we have to turn to a different kind of animal movie now: Jon Favreau's remake of The Lion King. As the only non-American on staff, and thus the only person not gobbling turkey right now, it's up to me to write about this - and as the only member of staff who was six when the original movie was released, it makes sense emotionally too.
A trailer for the film just dropped, and it's like looking into the future at Bob Iger swimming through a vault of money like Scrooge McDuck:
This thing is going to make a billion dollars, irrespective of the release date's proximity to that of Aladdin.
What can we tell about the movie from this? For one thing, it's playing things very safe. Pretty much every shot in here can be mapped directly onto a counterpart in the animated original, suggesting Favreau is effectively pulling a Gus Van Sant with this remake. Honestly, the original's a perfect movie, for all its flaws (and I'm aware of how oxymoronic that sounds), and one of if not the most beloved of Disney's '90s output, so that's probably a strong choice, if not a particularly bold one. This is all based on the trailer alone, of course; the film is confirmed to have been influenced by the blindingly-popular stage musical as well, so it won't be a total rehash.
The whole thing also looks absolutely gorgeous, bringing a touch of choreographic and atmospheric stylisation to a world that's otherwise wholly photorealistic. Favreau and his presumably gargantuan effects teams have upped the game even further since The Jungle Book, though it's notable that we still haven't seen any of these animals talk (or sing, or dance, which will probably be the weirdest element of the film). Despite being entirely animated, Disney's insisting on calling this film "live-action," and it looks close enough that it's not that ridiculous a term to apply to it.
Finally, the teaser smartly features on two things: the insanely strong cast, all namedropped at the end, and the opening sequence, which in its original form is surely one of the best such sequences in animated cinema. I can already tell this movie is going to make me sob and sob, even as I remain conscious of Disney raking in our collective dollars, and I'm not sure what that says about me. I know what it says about the movie, though, because even the trailer makes sure to remind you of just how badly it's going to fuck you up with the inclusion of this shot.
The Lion King releases on July 19th. Be prepared.