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Elton John says new version of The Lion King “was a huge disappointment”

By | Published on Wednesday 16 October 2019

Elton John

The public are doing a pretty bad job of convincing Disney to stop making inferior new versions of all of its classic movies, they apparently thinking that rushing out to see all said remakes in the cinema might do the job. But maybe the studio will listen to Elton John.

He, of course, co-wrote five songs for the 1994 original version of ‘The Lion King’ with lyricist Tim Rice. Those songs went on to be big hits and remain popular to this day.

So, what does John think of the 2019 remake of the film? He tells GQ: “The new version of ‘The Lion King’ was a huge disappointment to me”.

Too right! But why? Because the animation was too slick and the talking animals looked weird? Because the energy of the original was lost? No, “because I believe they messed the music up”.

Oh yeah, of course. He explains: “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”.

One issue, he reckons, is that while he did work on reworked versions of his original songs for the movie rehash, he wasn’t involved as much as he should have been. “I wish I’d been invited to the party more”, he says. “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”.

But, he adds, “I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the ‘Lion King’ stage musical”. And I don’t think John was directly involved in the development of the stage show, so that tempers the hubris a bit.

Anyway, if Disney could stop making inferior new versions of all its old films, that would be great.