The live-action version of Disney’s The Lion King smashed it at the box office, grossing over $US 1.6 billion worldwide including a solid $US 6 million (RM 24 million) haul over here in Malaysia. The critic reviews, however, was a mixed bag. The film has a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes (with a 6/10 critic score average). While I personally enjoyed the film, I also found it to be an unnecessary remake that said nothing new.
And it looks like Elton John found the film to be a huge disappointment as well mostly because of the music. John, of course, composed the entire soundtrack album of the original The Lion King alongside Tim Rice. The album would go on to become an all-time classic with iconic songs such as ‘Circle of Life’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’. While the legendary singer showed his support for the film back when it was released, he has now decided to come forth and speak his mind. In an interview with British GQ, John said:
“The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me because I believe they messed the music up. Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost. The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success.”
It’s easy to see where Elton John is coming from. The live-action remake of The Lion King mostly featured soulless remix versions of John and Rice’s original soundtrack from 1994. The new song by Beyonce was quite the letdown as well.
John also says that he’s said because Disney didn’t include him in the creative process as much as he would’ve liked.
“I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”