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The Lion King
Directed by Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Produced by Steve O'Brien
Written by Cinco Paul
Ken Daurio
Based on Disney's The Lion King
by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Starring Matt Damon
James Earl Jones
Vince Vaughn
Blake Lively
Sean Astin
Judd Apatow
Jim Hanks
Omar Sy
Tika Sumpter
Alan Tudyk
Eric Bauza
Lake Bell
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Jean-Christophe Poulain
Edited by Seamus O'Toole
Production
companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Reel FX Creative Studios
Distributed by Disney+
Release date July 12, 2024
Running time 97 minutes
Country United States
Language English


The Lion King is a 2024 American computer-animated musical drama film produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a remake of Disney's 1994 traditionally-animated film of the same name, and the third CGI remake of a Disney classic. it was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff and written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and features an ensemble voice cast consisting of Matt Damon, James Earl Jones (reprising his role from the original film), Vince Vaughn, Blake Lively, Sean Astin, Judd Apatow, Jim Hanks, Omar Sy, Lake Bell, Tika Sumpter, Alan Tudyk, and Eric Bauza.

The Lion King was released on Disney+ on July 12, 2024. The film received acclaim from critics and audiences for its humor, animation, visuals, sense of nostalgia, Hans Zimmer's musical score, performances (particuarly those of Damon, Earl Jones, Vaughn, Lively, Astin, and Apatow), and its faithfulness to the original film. A prequel, The Lion King 1 1/2, was released on May 8, 2026.

Plot

In the Pride Lands in Africa, a pride of lions rule over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock. King Mufasa's and Queen Sarabi's newborn son, Simba, is presented to the gathering animals by Rafiki the mandrill, the kingdom's shaman and advisor. Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the "circle of life", which connects all living things. Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, covets the throne and plots to end Mufasa and Simba, so he may become king.

He tricks Simba and his best friend Nala into exploring a forbidden elephants' graveyard, where they are attacked by three hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. Mufasa is alerted about the incident by his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, and rescues the cubs. Although upset with Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba. Meanwhile, Scar visits the hyenas and manages to convince them to help him overthrow Mufasa in exchange for hunting rights in the Pride Lands.

Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample. He informs Mufasa of Simba's peril, knowing that the king will rush to save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge's edge. Scar refuses to help Mufasa, instead sending him falling to his death. He then convinces Simba that the tragedy was Simba's own fault and advises him to leave the kingdom and never return. He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Scar tells the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede and steps forward as the new king, allowing Shenzi's clan to live in the Pride Lands.

Simba collapses in a desert and is rescued by Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog duo. Simba grows up in the oasis with his new friends and other animals in their oasis, living a carefree live under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries" in Swahili). Now a young adult, Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who turns out to be Nala, who is also grown up. She and Simba reunite and fall in love, and she urges him to return home, telling him that the Pride Lands have become a drought-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba refuses and storms off. He then encounters Rafiki, who tells him that Mufasa's spirit lives on in Simba. Simba is visited by the ghost of Mufasa in the night sky, who tells him that he must take his rightful place as king. Realizing that he can no longer run from his past, Simba decides to return to the Pride Lands.

Aided by his friends, Simba sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock and confronts Scar, who was about to fight Sarabi. Scar taunts Simba over his role in Mufasa's death and backs him to the edge of the rock, where he reveals to him that he murdered Mufasa. Enraged, Simba forces him to show the truth to the rest of the pride. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, and the lionesses fend off the hyenas where Scar, attempting to escape, is cornered by Simba at a ledge near the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy and attempts to blame his crimes on the hyenas; Simba spares his life but orders him to leave the Pride Lands forever. Scar refuses and attacks his nephew, but Simba manages to throw him off the cliff after a brief fight. Scar survives the fall but is attacked and mauled to death by the hyenas, who overheard his attempt to betray them.

Afterward, Simba takes over the kingship and makes Nala his queen. With the Pride Lands restored to its usual state, Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the assembled animals, continuing the circle of life.

Cast

  • Matt Damon as Simba
  • James Earl Jones as Mufasa
  • Vince Vaughn as Scar
  • Blake Lively as Nala
  • Sean Astin as Timon
  • Judd Apatow as Pumbaa
  • Jim Hanks as Zazu
  • Omar Sy as Rafiki
  • Lake Bell as Sarabi
  • Tika Sumpter as Shenzi
  • Alan Tudyk as Banzai
  • Eric Bauza as Ed
  • Izaac Wang as Young Simba
  • Vivienne Marcheline-Jolie Pitt as Young Nala

Reception

Critical response

The Lion King was praised by critics and audiences alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 97% approval rating based on 203 reviews. The consensus reads, "With colorful animation, emotional elements, impressive visuals, and thrilling voice acting for yet another charming CGI Disney remake, The Lion King seems content to brilliantly recapture the original film's spirit and provide a moral message to children who grew up with it". On Metacritic, it has a score of 89 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale.

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