Disney's much-anticipated live action remake of the all-time favourite The Lion King, releases Friday. The original animated classic of 1994 has too much of nostalgia connected to it, setting expectations higher for Jon Favreau's retelling. For a larger part of the audience who grew up on the story of Mufasa, his son Simba, the cruel uncle Scar—all set in the visually spectacular African grassland— The Lion King is one that resonates with their own childhood.
What lingered on about the story was some of the profound life lessons it passed on, introducing children to life, love, death, loss, anger and victory at an early age. The movie also pushes one to look into one's self and reconnect with strengths and weaknesses. All said, memories of this iconic classic are defined by a few key scenes and dialogues that played out on the screen in the animated version. Here's revisiting some of those before the live-action remake hits the screens on Friday.
'Circle of Life': Nothing defines The Lion King more than this spectacular scene, with Elton John's music playing in the background. The stage is set, and we see Rafiki on the clifftop, holding baby Simba high up for all the kingdom to see. Proud parents Mufasa and Sarabi stand behind him. For the first time, we witness the kingdom, with all the animals gathered to meet the 'crown prince'. The iconic African chant, and the view of the blazing sun, will never fail to trigger goosebumps. The 'Circle of Life' song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1994.
The elephant graveyard: This barren wasteland, littered with elephant skeletons, is one place Mufasa warns Simba against venturing into. Simba, however, in an attempt to prove his bravery, takes friend Nala along to the graveyard. Accompanied by Zazu, they explore, as Scar's hyenas chase them. The three hyenas have been commissioned by Scar to kill Simba. Mufasa reaches just in time to rescue the cubs, and this is where Mufasa delivers yet another profound life lesson to Simba—that being 'brave' doesn't mean you go looking for trouble.
Timon, Pumbaa and Hakuna Matata: In the midst of the heaviness of death, loss and fear, it is Timon, Pumbaa and their happy-go-lucky attitude that brings in the lighter moments into this classic. The duo rescuing an exhausted, lonely Simba from vultures, and introducing him to a carefree life, albeit for a while, is another ever-green frame from the original film. Not to forget the song 'Hakuna Matata', which thankfully has been retained in the reboot. Timon and Pumbaa are placed into the plot when Simba is worn out—physically and emotionally. The duo is often symbolic of people who walk into our lives, during some of our toughest times, and enliven us.
'Long live the king': One of the most haunting lines from the classic, this dialogue is mouth by an eerie, green-eyed Scar as he pushes Mufasa off the cliff to his death. Mufasa was desperately trying to save Simba who got caught in the midst of a stampede. The live-action reboot of this significant scene is another one to look forward to.
Nala meets Simba again: This could probably be termed one of the turning-points in Simba's life, after he goes into hiding as a cub post his father's death. Nala and Simba are now fully grown, and get into a fight not recognising each other. She is the clear winner as she pins him on to the ground, and that's when Simba realises its Nala. A frame that deserves to be frozen, and looked at over and over. From here, with childhood friend Nala and others by his side, Simba rediscovers his purpose, and goes on to reclaim his title as the lion king.