clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A side-by-side comparison of the new Lion King with the 1994 original

Can you feel the shot-for-shot recreation tonight?


Though Disney’s remake of The Lion King reportedly won’t be a shot-for-shot recreation of the 1994 original, the film, from director Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book), looks pretty darn similar. “The Lion King is a revered and beloved movie, so you’d better revere and love those parts that the audience wants,” Disney production chief Sean Bailey said last December.

The upcoming Lion King features new characters, such as Amy Sedaris as an elephant shrew, but the released footage has mostly walked familiar ground. To understand just how close the CG-version skews to the first movie, we’ve matched every shot in the new trailer with its corresponding shot in the original.

Disney and Disney

The elephant graveyard

The looming skull isn’t present in the remake, but the spooky aura and ribcage are still there. Nala and Simba look dwarfed. It is ominous and foreboding.

Disney and Disney

Terrified Simba and Nala

It’s a scary place out there for two little lions! Zazu doesn’t make the remake’s journey into the graveyard, but perhaps it’s more frightening for the kids to be on their own.

Disney and Disney

Hyenas attacking Simba and Nala

The hyenas — renamed from Shezi, Ed, and Banzai to Shenzi, Azizi, and Kamari — swarm in on the kiddos. They don’t pop out from the eyes of the elephant skull, but it’s still the same predatory descent.

Disney and Disney

Birds in flight over the savanna

The faithful recreations even extend to more minute shots, like this nice panoramic view of birds over a river.

Disney and Disney

Mufasa and Simba share a bonding moment

They gaze upon the land. Guess remake-Simba favors Mufasa’s left side instead, though.

Disney and Disney

Sunrise over the Pridelands

Everything the light touches belongs to the Pridelands. That sweeping view!

Disney and Disney

Simba tries (and fails) to catch a bug

Those bugs are pesky little things.

Disney and Disney

Zazu seeks an audience with the prince

The red-billed hornbill’s plumage isn’t so blue anymore, but he’s still unmistakable.

Disney and Disney

Bounding gazelles

Another tiny, yet still replicated shot! The gazelles! How graceful!

Disney and Disney

Mufasa walks with a guilty Nala and Simba, accompanied by Zazu

The shot of the lions walking home is the neatest showcase for the difference in aesthetics between the cartoon and its photorealistic recreation.

Disney and Disney

Simba feels the pressure to live up to his father’s legacy

The latest trailer also recreates one of the original movie’s most striking shots: Simba literally trying to follow in his father’s footsteps, placing his little paw in his father’s big pawprint.

Disney and Disney

The wildebeest stampede

The intense, frenetic chaos of the stampede is quite heartrending in photorealistic form. There’s definitely a lot more dust in the 2019 version than there was in the 1994 version.

Disney and Disney

Simba runs from the stampede

The fast-paced nature means we don’t quite get a shot of Simba’s face. Could his expression be as terrified as it is in the original?

Disney and Disney

Scar observes the stampede from a cliff

He is scheming. He will let Mufasa fall to his death. Long live the king.

Disney and Disney

Scar tells Simba to run away and never return

Scar looks more distinctive in the original, but his ragged appearance and eye scar set him apart from the other lions. He looms over Simba.

Disney and Disney

Simba is (rightfully) terrified

Poor baby Simba! His facial expression is more detailed in the original, since real-life lions can’t really make facial expressions. But new Simba is fluffy!

Disney and Disney

Rafiki looks mysteriously at the camera

Like the change in Zazu’s character design, the close-up of Rafiki emphasizes the remake’s stress on realism over style.

Disney and Disney

The Hakuna Matata montage

Here is baby Simba on a log, following Timon and Pumbaa across a waterfall. Timon notably walks on four legs rather than two.

Disney and Disney

And here’s awkward teenager Simba!

Remake awkward teenage Simba doesn’t have a weird chest puff anymore, but you can definitely see the lanky in-between stage.

Disney and Disney

Finally, the three friends walk against a full moon

How majestic! The photorealistic treatment means we get elegant silhouettes versus the full colored versions.

Disney and Disney

Rafiki swings through the trees

Where did he come from? Where will he be? Where did he come from? That monkey Rafiki.

Disney and Disney

The beginning of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”

Again, the recreation’s colors are a little more muted, but there’s still something awe-inspiring about the waterfall that serves as the backdrop to Simba and Nala’s courtship.

Disney and Disney

Nala takes a dainty sip of water while Simba looks on

Instead of being lush and turquoise, the water is a more realistic ... water palette.

Disney and Disney

Rafiki draws Simba a mane

The remake-Simba drawing is larger and just focuses on his face. But the same bright red mane is there, despite Simba’s mane not being bright red.

Disney and Disney

Simba takes his place on Pride Rock and ROARS

We’ve seen Simba as a little prince-cub — now we get a glimpse of him taking his rightful place as king of the Pridelands, roaring from atop Pride Rock.

Disney and Disney

Timon and Pumbaa sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

Though Timon is riding on Pumbaa’s back rather than walking by his side, the two friends are still as jaunty as ever as they wander through the jungle, singing one of the most famous songs from the film.


The end of the live-action Little Mermaid makes the animated sequel impossible


Everyone calm down — the fish in the live-action Little Mermaid actually look fine


Every Marvel movie release set for 2023 and beyond

View all stories in Disney

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon