The Lion King (2019)
July 29, 2020
Bob: Hey, there, Julie.
Julie: Oh, hi, Bob.
Bob: So, tell me about your ideas for a cinematic Lion King remake.
(A shot of a sunrise in Africa is shown, with zebras in the foreground)
Julie (vo): It begins as before, with the sun rising in Africa, though it is half CG and half real footage.
Bob: So you're looking to combine live action and animation, then.
Julie: Exactly. But it's not like what every other movie does it. (Listening intently, Bob takes out a pen) You see, it's not about the technology, it's about the feel of the world (whispers) and characters.
(Various shots of the Lion King Broadway show that Julie Taymor created are shown)
Julie (vo): It'll be like my Broadway show; same songs and characters, but on a more unique and grander scale. We'll still have actors in costumes, but it'll be less puppets and more clothes...
(Cut to shots of the movie, Titus)
Julie (vo): ...similar to what I did in the film, Titus.
Bob: So, like in that film, it takes place in no time period and...every time period?
Julie: One hundred percent.
Bob: And it's kind of a Jesus Christ Superstar vibe. But won't people...
(Another shot of the stage play is shown)
Bob (vo): ...miss the elaborate costumes from your stage show?
Julie: Well, we don't want to give people what they've already seen, do we? We want to give them new ideas against a familiar story.
Bob: I see what you're saying.
(More shots of the Broadway show are displayed)
Julie (vo): There will be no big Hollywood stars, all the actors will be African and will build the environment out of African culture, artwork and history. It'll be like Black Panther, mixing modern technology with timeless traditions to create something new yet classic.
Bob: Black Panther was beloved by a lot of people.
Julie (vo): The battles will be comprised of the finest fight choreography, with the actors carrying wrist blades that look similar to claws. It'll be more violent than the other Disney remakes, showing that we want to grow up with our Disney audience and not treat them like children forever.
Bob: (as posters for the Mulan remake and Christopher Robin pop up) We've currently been experimenting with that.
Julie (vo): At the end, when "The Circle of Life" is sung once more, a real baby is held up and the world is revealed to be a mix of modern-day Africa and years of history that inspired the stage show, so we represent the complicated past with the complicated future, not just for Africa but the human animal as a whole, fighting for the power, justice and unity.
Bob: Wow. Well, that sounds brilliant.
Julie: You like it?
Bob: It's challenging, it's brave, it pushes the boundaries of not only what Disney can do, but what cinema can do.
Julie: And it doesn't have to be that expensive. It's not about looking real, it's about feeling real.
Julie: Wonderful. So shall we start production next year?
Bob: Oh, we're not gonna make it.
Julie: (stunned) What?
Bob: No, I set this meeting to see what we shouldn't do for a Lion King remake.
(We are then shown a shot of Bob's notes during his exchange with Julie: "All Computer Animated", "Keep It Exactly The Same As Original", "Make It All About The Technology", "Fill It With Celebrities", "Dumb It Down More For Kids", "To Hell With New Ideas", "Throw Tons Of Money At It", "Give Julie 'Executive Producer' Credit For Her Troubles")
Bob: I just took everything you said and wrote down the complete opposite.
Julie: But why?
Bob: You're a thinker, Julie, and people don't want that. We want to give them comfort food...
(A shot of various Disney animated films and their respective remakes are shown)
Bob (vo): ...under the guise of something deep and timeless...
Bob: ...even though we're just feeding folks the same old shit.
Julie: Don't you want to challenge and evolve and enlighten your fanbase?
Bob: Not as much as I want to make money.
(Then, to a "ta-da!" sound, we cut to a shot of the Lion King remake, along with the phrase: "AND THAT'S HOW WE MADE IT". We then cut to NC sitting his home, having watched it all, presumably as a bonus on DVD/Blu-Ray. He is quite stunned)
NC: Well, that was the saddest featurette I've ever seen.
(With that, the proper NC title sequence is shown. After that, we go through NC's home and see his cats Chaplin and Buster lying on the couch)
Chaplin ("voiced" by Doug): Come on, Buster, it's time to get up.
Buster (also "voiced" by Doug): Do we have to, Chaplin?
(Cut to five hours later, and we again go through NC's house to see the two cats on the couch, Buster lying upside-down)
Chaplin: All right, Buster, now we really should get up.
Buster: But I was seeing if I slept like this, if I would dream upside-down.
Chaplin: That's as brilliant as me sleeping on a mirror to see if I dream backwards.
Buster: (climbing up on couch armrest) So what are we gonna do today, Chaplin?
Chaplin: It's time you learned the benefits of becoming the next cash cow.
Chaplin: (looking into camera) I'm Chaplin.
(Chaplin and Buster walk down the hall. Buster plays with a string on a scratching post, while Chaplin stands on top of it)
Chaplin: Look, Buster. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.
Buster: Wow! And how about that shadowy stuff?
Chaplin: That's ours, too. We're cats, we own everything.
Buster: Got it.
Chaplin: As a cat on an online show, I serve as the series cash cow. But one day, Buster, the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you, as the new cash cow.
Buster: And this will all be mine?
Chaplin: If you pee on it, yes.
Buster: And I can do whatever I want?
Chaplin: Buster, there's more to being a cat than getting your way all the time.
Buster: There's more?
Chaplin: Actually, no, that's it.
Chaplin: But, dear nephew, son or brother, you must learn the profitable ways of being a cash cow.
Buster: Well how do I learn?
Chaplin: By watching our master, the Nostalgia Critic, talk about one of the biggest cash cows of all time: The Lion King.
Buster: Which one? The original or the remake?
Chaplin: There is no difference between them, yet they still make money.
Buster: Wow! That is a cash cow!
Chaplin: Now let’s see our master scorn the gods again.
(Both cats stand in the doorway and look at NC at his desk, who looks extremely miserable)
Buster: Is his face usually that red?
Chaplin: Only when he talks about recent Disney films.
Chaplin: Yeah, it’s tough.
(NC looks at us, still pretty pissed off)
NC: I mean, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this movie?
(The title for The Lion King remake is shown, followed by footage from the film)
NC (vo): It’s spectacular. That’s something that hasn’t been said about it yet. But we all know it’s bullshit. And yet our nostalgia made us see it. So I guess the real question is, what the hell is wrong with us?! The 2019 Lion King remake was laughed at by many, but in the end, it’s Disney who had the last laugh, all the way to the bank. For the while, it was the highest-grossing animated film. Not adjusted for inflation… (Posters for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, The Lion King and The Jungle Book are shown) …I don’t even think it cracks the top five when you factor that. (Poster of…) Frozen II would eventually beat it out… (Screenshot of Elsa looking anxious) …yay? But the writing was on the wall, this was a massive hit. Despite critics and online crybabies like myself complaining about how shallow and uninspiring it is, the typical moviegoing public ate it up like (Photo of pigs in blankets with pig snouts is shown) …warthogs in a blanket.
NC (vo): As much as people like to make fun of it, there’s clearly a fanbase for it. So the question’s then become, what’s wrong with the film, how can it be fixed, who enjoys it, what’s their addresses, and how much shit can I produce in paper bags on their birthdays? Let’s analyze the how, why and…
NC: No. No, I’m still stuck on the ‘why’. This is Lion King 2019.
Chaplin: (still in the doorway) Ooh! We’re gonna get some good information here, huh, Buster? (looks behind him) Buster?
(Cut to Chaplin jumping and batting at a hanging string)
Buster: Just a second. I feel like if I grab this string, I’ll change the world!
Chaplin: Stop being cute! As if that has anything to do with being a cash cow!
Buster: (Leaps up) I’m Buster! (Leaps up again) I’m Buster!
(The movie starts by showing the Disney logo and signature castle, which has a hand-drawn design, a homage to the fact that the animated film was released in 1994)
NC (vo): The film immediately mocks us with the logo in the traditional hand-drawn style Lion King was praised for. It’d be like (Picture of Eoin Colfer next to a poster of Disney’s 2020 Artemis Fowl movie) the author of Artemis Fowl opening that film with (A superimposed hand giving a thumbs-up appears in front of him) “I think we’re in good hands.”
("Circle of Life" begins as the sun rises over Africa)
NC (vo): We open on the only live-action shot in the entire movie, which…
NC: I guess I should clear up some confusion, this is a fully animated feature.
(Cut to various footage showcasing the movie’s photorealistic effects, along with an article clarifying that the movie was entirely animated)
NC (vo): Despite the media calling it a live-action remake, Disney never officially referred to it as such. But they didn’t go out of their way to correct anybody either. My guess is they liked that people thought some of it had to be real and…I’ll be honest, I was 100% convinced at least the backgrounds were shot in Africa. It fooled me, and that’s not an easy thing to do when it comes to CG. So, on a technical level, I do have to give them a lot of credit.
NC: But then this raises a question: if the entire film is animated, why does it look so ugly?
(A montage of photos of vibrant African landscapes is shown)
NC (vo): Africa is gorgeous, such a wide variety of colors, shapes and environments. (Footage from the original Lion King’s landscapes is shown) The original took advantage of being animated and magnified even more how grand and epic their landscapes are. It’s one of the few movies where, whenever it’s released on the big screen, I always buy a ticket to go see it. (Cut back to footage of the African landscapes from the remake) Here, every shot looks it was soaked in cat piss and dried off with monkey shit. It’s fucking hideous!
NC: But part of the reason for that may be that the director, Jon Favreau, said…
(Cut to an article on how Jon Favreau was inspired by Richard Attenborough’s nature documentaries)
NC (vo): …he wanted the film to feel like a BBC documentary. (Footage of environments from the remake is shown) So he didn’t go for a lot of pretty shots because he felt like it wouldn’t have looked as realistic. Okay, I guess I can understand trying to create a style and trying to go for realism over fantasy and stuff. There’s just one problem…
NC: Animals don’t fucking talk!
NC (vo): Realism ruined! Yeah, a lot of it looks like it’s really there and that’s a credit to the animators, but the idea as a whole doesn’t work. If you told the story without any talking or songs, granted, it would’ve been very difficult and incredibly risky. I would see how that could work and would tip my hat to such a daring idea, even if it failed. (An image from the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians is shown) 101 Dalmatians did something similar, and that turned out okay. (Cut back to the movie) But this makes no sense. If you want us to have a connection, you have to either embrace the human emotion of the characters or the realism of the animals. You can’t do both.
(Both versions of Mufasa and Rafiki greeting each other are shown)
NC (vo): Because the warm welcoming embrace of two friends who have known each other for years now looks like a janitor just doing his Thursday thing. There’s no heart in it whatsoever. Even the other animals have a look like... (voicing over the animals in the opening) Ah, shit, was that today? All right, buck up, we have to pretend we like the people who are gonna eat us in future.
(Rafiki sits on the top of Pride Rock and hold up Simba)
Singer: It’s the Circle of Life…
NC: Motherfucker doesn’t even stand!
NC (vo): The ruler of this great circle isn’t even worth a little energy in your legs? Asshole!
NC: Hell with that, though. A mouse!
(A mouse scurries about the African landscape before making its way to the cave at Pride Rock)
NC (vo): Yeah, this was only a few seconds in the original, but now… (Text appears on the screen reading “1 MINUTE 12 SECONDS WATCHING THIS DAMN THING”) it’s given over a minute of screen time because it’s so "vitally important". No, no, they’re not just showing off their technology like…maybe what this whole entire movie is. Uh-uh, this is crucial story going on here! Will the mouse shit? (Dramatic zoom-in on the mouse drinking from a pool of water) WILL THE MOUSE SHIT?!
(Footage from the original of Scar’s paw swooping down and catching the mouse is shown, before we are first shown the remake's Scar emerging from the shadows)
NC (vo): You don’t even get that giant paw coming down that literally shook the theater when you saw it on the big screen. Scar just emerges out of the shadows like every villain in everything.
NC: (puts his head in his hands while speaking in a whimsical tone) “But they look reeeeal!”
NC (vo): It’s a waste of time, but at least it’s a…realistic-looking waste of time.
Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor): The way I see it… (He traps the mouse under his paws) …we both want to find a way out.
NC (vo): Scar, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor*…and, yes, I did have to watch a video to figure out how to pronounce that (An image of a YouTube video titled “Chiwetel Ejiofor Is at Peace with Your Inability to Pronounce his Name" pops up) …is approached by Zazu, played by John Oliver, who was kind enough to leave... (Footage of the original Zazu is shown) ...Rowan Atkinson the charm of his interpretation by bringing a buttload of annoyance to his.
- NOTE: NC accidentally pronounces it as "Chititow Egafor".
Zazu (John Oliver): (talking to Mufasa) I had a cousin who thought he was a woodpecker. He slammed his head…into trees and our beaks aren’t built for it. (He doesn’t notice Mufasa walking away with disinterest) He was…concussed.
NC: (imitating John Oliver) Tonight’s story: me. (Photo of John Oliver pops up) Why aren’t I funny here?!
(Mufasa is shown arriving at the cave)
NC (vo): Mufasa arrives, voiced again by James Earl Jones, who clearly should’ve played Simba’s grandfather as opposed to father, as at almost 90 years old, every line delivery sounds like it’s gonna be followed by, “Didn’t I already say this?”
Mufasa: Don’t turn your back on me, Scar.
Scar: Perhaps you shouldn’t turn your back on me.
(Mufasa roars and leaps in front of him)
Mufasa: Is that a challenge?
Mufasa (dubbed by Malcolm): No, seriously, I did say this over 20 years ago, right?
NC (vo): These scenes and lines are so recycled, I’m amazed someone was actually credited for writing them. In fact, anything added is usually bottom-of-the-barrel clichés, including…
Scar: As you know, I have respect.
NC (vo): Yep, another appearance of the most clichéd line of all: “As you know”. For as I and many critics before me have pointed out, if you already know, why is it being said?
Scar: As you know...
Sid: (from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within) As you all know...
Hager: (from Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer) As you may know...
Kathy Morningside: (from Miss Congeniality) As you may know...
Nute Gunray: (from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) As you know...
Admiral Zhao: (from The Last Airbender, to Ozai) As you know, I conducted a raid on the Great Library.
(Rafiki looks up at the night sky and shouts something in Xhosa, before brushing some bugs off the Simba drawing on his tree)
NC (vo): Later, Rafiki, voiced by John Kani, makes an artistic interpretation of his true ruler.
NC: No, not Simba.
Simba Drawing (dubbed by NC): (Mickey Mouse impression) Ha-ha! Damn right, I rule your ass! Now tell me the Lady and the Tramp remake was amazing!
Rafiki (dubbed by NC): By God, you made that?
Simba Drawing: WHY DOES NOBODY KNOW WE MADE THAT?!
(Simba, now a cub, looks over the landscape on top of Pride Rock with Mufasa)
NC (vo): As time goes by, Simba, played by JD McCrary, learns from his father how to be a good leader.
Mufasa: While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give.
Mufasa (dubbed by Malcolm): Like a damn. What the filmmakers are not giving in this movie.
(Zazu is shown giving Mufasa the morning report)
Zazu: Ten flamingos are taking a stand.
NC (vo): Again, this scene’s played exactly like the original. (The following scenes are shown as NC recaps them) Simba pounces on Zazu, Scar tells him about the elephant graveyard, he tells his friend Nala, this time played by Shahadi Wright-Joseph. And all of it is done with the incredible advantage of having no expression whatsoever. Why?
NC: “So they can look reeeeal!”
Sarabi (Alfre Woodard): Zazu goes, or you don’t.
(She and two other lionesses watch Simba and Nala leave)
Joseph Joestar from Stardust Crusaders (vo): (The words “REACT TO SOMETHING!” appear on the screen) OH, MY GOD!
NC (vo): Okay, here’s the problem. If you want to go fantasy and make them talk, fine. If you want to go real and not make them talk, also fine. But you have to choose one because we interpret them differently.
Chaplin: Buster, where are you? It’s important that you hear this.
Buster: (enters the room) I’m Buster!
Chaplin: You certainly are.
NC: Take, for example, our kitty friends. When you hear them talk, you know what they’re thinking. But watch what happens when you view them on mute.
(Soft music plays as Chaplin and Buster look around and walk about the room)
NC: See? They still have expressions but you’re reading them differently, aren’t you?
(Footage of Chaplin and Buster sitting and looking around plays)
NC (vo): You have to look at the subtlety of their eyes, their walk, their tails. It’s a different way of communicating than verbal speech. (Clips are shown of the remake's animals) So when you’re not just doing this for a laugh and need to convey legit dramatic emotion, combining two totally different ways to read that emotion isn’t going to feel authentic.
NC: Isn’t that right, guys? (Chaplin and Buster remain silent) Oh, uh, you can talk now.
Chaplin: My God! He went completely silent for a full minute!
Buster: I’m scared!
Chaplin: I’m Chaplin!
NC: I should’ve gotten dogs. (Turns back to us)
(Simba and Nala sing "I Just Can’t Wait To Be King" while Zazu chases them)
NC (vo): The film truly does want to get every little detail down, even keeping that Zazu can’t sing.
Zazu: (speaking rather than singing) Out of service, out of Africa, I wouldn’t hang about!
NC: Yet somehow, he’s still better than Emma Watson.
(The scene of Belle from Beauty and the Beast (2017) singing is shown, with the clip of Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers holding a long "Uh...")
NC (vo): The cubs head towards the elephant graveyard while also roughhousing. I think that’s what this is supposed to be.
(Simba and Nala gently fight before she rather effortlessly pins him)
Young Nala (Shahadi Wright-Joseph): Pinned ya!
NC: The stunts in (Footage of…) Dolemite looked more aggressive!
Young Simba: Come on!
(He and Nala enter the elephant graveyard)
Young Nala (dubbed by NC): I dunno, Simba, this looks pretty underwhelming. Why are we even supposed to be afraid? It looks like every other shitty landscape in the movie.
NC (vo): By the way, when did Nala become such a wet blanket?
Young Nala: Simba, we’re way beyond the Pride Lands. / Come on. / It means we can go home. / You’ve proved how brave you are.
(The original scene of Simba and Nala in the elephant graveyard is shown)
NC (vo): Yeah, remember in the original where she was just as hungry for trouble as Simba?
Young Nala (1994): We could get in big trouble.
Young Simba (1994): I know.
Young Nala (1994): (approaching an elephant skull) I wonder if its brains are still in there?
NC (vo): Now it’s (mocking scared tone) “Simba, get down! It could be dangerous!”
Young Nala: Simba, get down! It could be dangerous!
NC: Hey, remember when they get older and you have (Adult Nala from the original is shown) that great contrast of her growing up, accepting responsibility and him staying a child dodging his responsibilities?
NC: (waves his hand) Nah, I thought that was lame, too. Now she’s always been responsible! (Cut back to the remake's Young Nala) That’s a great way to show growth and make us like her more, everybody loves a stick in the mud!
Young Nala: The sun is going down and I’m not just gonna sit here…
NC (vo): Oh, SHUT UP! (The hyenas emerge and surround them) Another change is that the hyenas actually have a leader.
(A screenshot of Scar appears next to NC)
NC: Well…yeah, but…another leader. I guess.
NC (vo): It’s Shenzi, played by Florence Kasumba.
Shenzi: (chuckles evilly and advances on the cubs) I wonder how all that bravery will taste.
NC (vo): She’s intimidating and all, but still completely pointless. (Footage of the climax is shown) They don’t really do much with her except have her look at Simba’s mother once and that somehow builds this great rivalry for them to fight at the end*. (Footage of the original Shenzi is shown) At least I got some laughs out of [Whoopi] Goldberg’s interpretation. (Footage of the remake's two new hyenas, Kamari and Azizi, is shown) Here, the only attempts at laughter are from a neutered Eric Andre and Keegan Michael-Key.
- NOTE: That was actually Nala as an adult, though to be fair, it is difficult to tell her and Sarabi apart in this version.
Kamari: [Would you two cubs like to] stay for dinner?
Azizi: (bumps Kamari out of the way) Yeah, stay for dinner!
Kamari: We’ve talked about this. I come in alone. I’m the lead distraction so that everyone can circle.
NC: Oh, they’re doing the "intimidating speech interrupted by somebody" thing. Yeah. Yeah, it was already dated in (Footage of…) Ghostbusters 2016.
Erin Gilbert: Let’s go.
Abby Yates: (immediately after her) Let’s go.
Erin Gilbert: (overlapping) Oh. Did you wanna…? Sorry. N-Next time.
Abby Yates: (overlapping) Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll let-I’ll let you.
NC: You’re not bringing it back.
(Mufasa arrives and fights off the hyenas)
NC (vo): Mufasa saves them...though, honestly, I feel like the hyenas could take him. (A clip of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed from the original plays in the corner) There was only three in the original...and Simba gets in big trouble.
Young Nala: (whispering to Simba) I thought you were very brave.
NC: (looks confused) Was he?
(Footage of Simba saving Nala by scratching Shenzi’s cheek in the original is shown)
NC (vo): You literally cut out the only part where he was brave where he scratches one of them. (2019 Young Simba and Nala are shown running through the hyenas’ den) So all he did was run. If this was actually realistic, she’d say…
Young Nala (dubbed by NC): Pussy-ass bitch.
(Simba sits beside Mufasa on a hill in front of the evening sky, the camera focusing on their backs)
NC (vo): Mufasa talks with Simba in a powerfully emotional moment, so let’s shoot it as far away as possible on their backs.
Mufasa: You deliberately disobeyed me. You could have been killed. And what’s worse, you put Nala in danger.
Mufasa (dubbed by Malcolm): I mean, I said this line for line. Can I at least have my coffee so I don’t have to say it half-awake? (Beat) No? You just want it done quick and people’s nostalgia will fill in the emotion. Oookay. (Beat) God, this is weird.
NC (vo): Back at the graveyard, Scar approaches the hyenas and tell them his plan to kill Mufasa.
Scar: (speaking while the backing music for "Be Prepared" starts playing) Mufasa is yesterday’s message. A clapped-out, distracted regime.
NC (as Audience Member 1): Umm, is he singing?
NC (as Audience Member 2): (confused) I dunno, are we in a song?
Scar: The need for a different dream.
NC (as Audience Member 1): Okay, that part rhymed. I think we’re in a song.
NC (as Audience Member 2): (scratching his head) It was pretty clear last time we were in a song.
Scar: (shouting instead of singing) Meticulous planning! Tenacity spanning! Decades…
NC (as Audience Member 2): Why isn’t he singing then?
NC (as Audience Member 1): I dunno. (Picture of…) The last Scar couldn’t sing. Maybe he can’t either.
Scar: (singing) Be prepared! (He holds the note as he climbs the rocks)
NC (as Audience Member 1): (impressed) Nope, that guy can sing.
NC (as Audience Member 2): Did they just amputate the best song in the movie, then?
NC (as Audience Member 1): (shaking his head) Isn’t that what we’ve been doing since the Disney logo?
(We go to a commercial. After coming back, we’re briefly shown the "Be Prepared" number again before cutting to the next day, where Scar invites Simba to join him in the gorge)
NC (vo): So after taking one of the most awesome villain songs ever and turning it into a poem with YouTube’s music library under it… (Sounds pained as an image revealing the movie's worldwide gross of $1.657 billion is shown) God, you deserve all that money…Scar takes Simba to the gorge where a trap is waiting for him.
Young Simba: My dad was really upset with me.
NC: (sarcastically) Yeah, he looked really pissed off. (A clip of Mufasa playfully fighting Simba is shown)
Scar: This gorge is where all lions come to find their roar.
Scar (dubbed by NC): Their dead eyes, blank stares, and indifferent movements are sadly stuck with us forever.
(Simba roars at a lizard, leading to the wildebeest stampede)
NC: As you’d expect, Simba roars and thinks he starts a stampede. And honestly, this is a pretty damn pathetic-looking stampede. (Footage of the stampede sequence from the original is shown) I know I’m being kind in not comparing every scene to the original as, again, the style is supposed to be…
NC: “So reeeeal!”
NC (vo): But this doesn’t look like it would kill anybody. (The original stampede sequence is shown) If anyone was stuck in this stampede, you know they’re Bambi’s mom. (The stampede sequence in the remake is shown) But here, if somebody fell, they could just get right back up. (Zoom-in on one wildebeest falling over and quickly getting up again) Hell, one of them does! (Voicing over the wildebeest) Oh, that’s annoying. Well, back to the triathlon. I’ll just leave that part out of the Facebook post.
(Simba holds onto a tree branch as the wildebeest run past)
NC (vo): Everything about this moment is half the intensity of the original. Just listen to this delivery.
(Mufasa runs into the gorge and clings onto the tree)
Mufasa: Simba! Come to me, son. Jump!
NC (vo): Jesus, it’s like he said every important line while doing something else. I could see him eating lunch while saying that.
Mufasa (dubbed by Malcolm): Simba. Come to me, son. (The sound of a potato chip being eaten is heard) Jump.
(Mufasa climbs up the cliff until Scar appears at the ledge and looks down at him)
NC (vo; imitating Scar): It’s over, Mufasa! I have the high ground!
Mufasa: Scar! Help me.
Mufasa (dubbed by Malcolm): No, really. Help me. I’m…totally in distress. Y’know?
(Scar latches onto Mufasa’s paws, making him roar in pain)
NC: So…the next two scenes back-to-back are so funny, I actually bursted out laughing in the theater.
(The original scene where Scar wrenches Mufasa's paws off the cliff and throws him into the stampede is shown)
NC (vo): The first is, rather than that epic toss sending Mufasa to his death… (Cut back to the remake) …Scar oddly bitch-slaps him before letting go.
Scar: Long…live…the KING! (He punches Mufasa in the face, causing him to slip and fall)
NC: How middle school is that?
NC (vo): A chilling line like “Long live the king” shouldn’t be said before that. It should be…
Scar (dubbed by NC with a teenage bully voice): You’re a dork. (Punches Mufasa, a man screaming sound effect is heard) Susie likes me, not you. (Punches Mufasa, a man screaming sound effect is heard) Hold on, you got something on your face. (Punches Mufasa, a man screaming sound effect is heard) See you next fall! Oh, God, I’m funny!
Mufasa (dubbed by NC while falling): That was not funny!
Scar (dubbed by NC): It was so funny!
NC: And the other is Simba’s pathetic cry as he watches his father perish.
(Footage of the original Mufasa falling is shown)
NC (vo): Remember how big and heart-pounding it was in the original?
Young Simba (1994): NOOOOOOOO!
(Mufasa falling in the remake is shown)
NC (vo): Look what they replace it with!
Young Simba: (looking more like a kitten meowing) Nooooo!
(NC lets out a wheezing laugh and buries his face in his hands. Past clips of Zazu speaking with Mufasa and Kamari and Azizi arguing are shown, before cutting back to Mufasa's death and Simba's reaction)
NC (vo): How are the scenes that are supposed to get the biggest laughs getting dead silence, yet the scenes where you’re supposed to be dead silent are getting the biggest laughs? That’s not a blood-curdling cry, that’s the "Meow Mix" cat finding out he got traded to Fancy Feast!
(The "Meow Mix" song is dubbed over repeating footage of Simba’s “No!”. Simba goes down into the gorge and runs to Mufasa’s lifeless body)
NC (vo): Simba approaches his dad, who doesn’t feel too good, Mr. Stark.
Young Simba: Come on, wake up.
NC (vo; as Young Simba): He’s so emotionless and lacking life. But that’s how he always is, how can I tell if anything’s wrong? (Speaks normally) Yep. The most emotional scene from the original is given to us completely empty. If you actually feel anything here, I assure you... (The original Simba shaking Mufasa’s body is shown) ...it’s a holdover from how well it was done before.
Young Simba: Dad?
NC (vo; as Young Simba): I can only stare at you with benign indifference for so long!
(We are shown both versions of the moment Scar emerges from the dust as Simba mourns)
NC (vo): Yeah, remember how you looked at Scar in the original like “That bastard, he tore a loving father from his dear son!”? Now it’s like “He was kinda on his way out already. Every line sounds like Joe Biden just woke up from a nap.”
Scar: Stampede in the gorge! Simba’s down there!
Mufasa (dubbed by Malcolm): You interrupted my toaster strudel for that?
(Footage of the following scenes plays as NC recaps them)
NC (vo): The rest is... (Sighs) ...again, scene by scene from the first. Scar tells him to run when he could’ve just killed him there, the hyenas chase him, he gets away, and vultures pick at him the same way Disney is picking at the corpse of this franchise. But there’s something on the horizon.
(A dramatic drum roll is dubbed over one of the vultures seeing something in the distance. It turns out to be Timon and Pumbaa, who charge and scare the vultures off)
NC (vo): Enter the only entertaining part of the movie: Timon and Pumbaa, voiced by Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner. Maybe because they improvised and weren’t bound to the paint-by-numbers script everyone else was, but these two have legit funny lines, a good amount of energy, and active personalities. You could call them the Toasty of the movie, that’s so rarely seen. (Toasty from the Mortal Kombat games pops up at the side)
Timon: (talking to Simba) So how are you, in as few words as possible?
Pumbaa: He’ll be on our side.
Timon: I’ve got it. What if he’s on our side? (Puts his paws on Pumbaa’s snout) Hear me out!
NC: With that said, they do still have to sing that damn song.
Timon: (singing) It means no worries for the rest of your days.
NC (vo): And while Eichner does a pretty good job singing, Rogen…
Pumbaa: (singing) Ain’t no passing cra-a-aze.
NC (vo): (An image of a stone tablet with “11. Thou Shalt Not Let Seth Rogan Sing” written on it pops up) …just became the 11th Commandment.
Pumbaa: (singing) When I was a young warthoooog! (Simba recoils at that high note)
NC (vo): Don’t you love this? (Footage of Scar singing "Be Prepared") You take the guy who can sing and have him talk through his song... (Footage of Pumbaa singing) ...and have the guy who can’t belt every note he can’t reach! (Footage of the original Simba singing "I Just Can’t Wait To Be King") You know, maybe they can bring back the kid who dubbed Jonathan Taylor Thomas. It’d be obvious, but Disney didn’t care then, they wouldn’t care now.
Pumbaa (dubbed by Young Simba's singing from the 1994 film): It means no worries for the rest of your days.
Timon (1994) (vo): Yeah, sing it, kid!
NC (vo): So with Timon and Pumbaa being the one thing the film got right, Simba grows up into... (A photo of Matthew Broderick, Simba's original actor, is shown) Please, God, no. (A photo of Simba's actor in this movie, Donald Glover, is shown as adult Simba sings "Hakuna Matata" with Timon and Pumbaa) Okay, you got two things right.
Simba: We’re just getting in the groove.
Timon: No, let’s leave ‘em wanting more.
Pumbaa: Yeah, you’ve grown four hundred pounds since we started.
(Scar and the hyenas are shown ruling over Pride Rock)
NC (vo): While back at Pride Rock, Scar destroys the land, though it’s…honestly hard to tell. (Clip of Scar and the lionesses at Pride Rock earlier is shown) Didn’t it always look that ugly?
Nala (Beyoncé): We have to do something, Sarabi. We have to fight.
(The scene of Nala sneaking past Scar and the hyenas and escaping Pride Rock is shown)
NC (vo): Nala, played now by Beyoncé, decides she needs to leave and get help. This was explained fine in the original, but, for some reason, we need an additional six minutes to show this. Much like the Beauty and the Beast remake, most of the things taken out are vital and most of the things added are pointless.
(Simba is shown shaking his mane, leading to a tuft of his hair traveling all the way to Rafiki)
NC (vo): But it’s cool, we have an essential scene where Simba’s dander gets to Rafiki! (The original scene is shown) You remember that scene in the original that just took a couple of seconds? (Cut back to the hair in the remake floating down a river, being grabbed by a bird and then floating through the air.) Well, now we’re showing the entire journey! An additional three minutes is added just looking at this hunk of fur. (Beat) Why? Fucking why? Is it gonna get in a knife fight with (Picture of…) the feather from Forrest Gump? (Cut to a dung beetle rolling a ball of shit with Simba’s hair sticking out of it) Does it symbolize how the movie is a small fraction of Simba rolled up in a giant ball of shit? What is the point of any of this?!
Chaplin: He clearly doesn’t understand that any part of a cat is important and worth watching.
Buster: Like when we lick our privates?
Chaplin: Buster! Wait, YouTube, would you watch that? (The word “YES!” flashes on the screen) Especially when we lick our privates!
Chaplin: Hooray! I think?
(Rafiki looks at Simba’s hair before painting a red mane around the drawing of Simba’s head)
Rafiki: Simba? Simba…is…alive!
NC (vo; as Rafiki): And he smells like a ball of shit! He smells like a ball of shit!
(Timon and Pumbaa are shown walking through the jungle, singing with the other animal inhabitants)
NC (vo): Timon and Pumbaa sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" because…
NC: “So realistic!”
NC (vo): But Nala attacks. Simba stops her, though.
(Simba pounces on Nala before she can kill Pumbaa and they both roll around before getting up and fighting)
NC (vo; as Pumbaa): You see, Timon? How come we’re not like that anymore?
(Nala pins Simba the same way she did when they were young)
NC (vo): They quickly recognize each other though and are blown away, having not seen each other for years.
Nala: Simba, we need to leave.
NC: (dumbfounded) Okay, I guess not that blown away.
(Footage of both versions of Nala is shown)
NC (vo): Man, you really don’t appreciate a character until you see them botched, do you? I liked Nala fine, though I never saw her as anything that great. But not only is this one dead serious all the time, but she doesn’t even appropriately react to seeing her childhood friend back from the dead!
Simba: (talking to Timon and Pumbaa) I want you to meet my best friend Nala. Nala, you’re gonna love it here, this place is amazing!
Nala: Simba, we need to leave.
(The original version of their reunion and musical number is shown)
NC (vo): The original worked organically. They were excited, they caught up, she expressed how much she missed him, they had a song together, she made that face that gave birth to a million furries, THEN she brings up his responsibility to fight for the throne.
(Cut back to their reunion in the remake)
NC (vo): Here, it’s… (Mimics Nala) Hey, been a long time, good to see ya! (Zoom-in on her) Get your ass back home before I whoop ya kuna matata!
(Simba and Nala sing "Can You Feel The Love Tonight"… in broad daylight)
NC (vo): It makes the intro to the song way more out of nowhere and… (Sighs) ...as many have pointed out, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" isn’t even sung at night. (Beat) Not even early evening. The real lyric should’ve been… (Singing to the song’s tune) Caaan you feel the looove mid-to-late-afternoon-maybe-two-iiish? You can’t even give us the time of day without fucking up the time of day!
NC: And you know who’s to blame for all of this? (points at the camera) You!
(A random moviegoer with a fedora and glasses (played by Malcolm) appears on the screen)
Moviegoer Malcolm: (looks up from his phone) Huh?
NC: And you!
(Another random moviegoer with glasses and a flat cap (played by Tamara) appears on the screen)
Moviegoer Tamara: (looks up from her "Star Wars For Dummies" book) Huh?
NC: And YOU!
(A third random moviegoer with a backwards cap and sitting on the toilet (played by Walter) appears on the screen)
Moviegoer Walter: (looks up from his phone) Huh?
NC: You’re all to blame for this!
Moviegoer Malcolm: And who are we?
NC: You’re the common moviegoers I just made up.
Moviegoer Tamara: (smiles) Well, thanks for wishing us into existence.
Moviegoer Walter: (confused) Why’d you wish me on a toilet, though?
NC: You may not have specific names, but you’re the reason this movie was a hit!
Moviegoer Malcolm: What? So we like a movie. Big deal.
NC: The big deal is, you’re encouraging a creative juggernaut to keep turning out more shit!
Moviegoer Tamara: Hey, come on. We work our asses off every week. Sometimes, we just need something mindless to watch.
Moviegoer Walter: Yeah, I like seeing a more realistic child thing I grew up with. It makes me feel more adult.
NC: (folds his arms) Oh, you think you’re a big boy, huh?
Moviegoer Walter: I AM a big boy!
NC: Well, just because something looks real doesn’t mean it feels real!
Moviegoer Malcolm: Okay.
NC: (bewildered) …”Okay”? “Okay”, that’s all you have to say?!
Moviegoer Malcolm: Look, man, it’s great that you analyze movies for a deeper meaning, but sometimes, we want to not think. And Disney remakes are great for that.
NC: Wh...you don’t wanna be challenged?!
Moviegoer Tamara: Sometimes, I guess, but mostly, we just want a distraction, something to take away from everyday stress.
Moviegoer Walter: Yeah, don’t you have any distractions you don’t think too hard about? Like giving your cats voices or something?
(Cut to Chaplin and Buster lying on the couch)
Chaplin: I can speak for myself, thank you very much!
Buster: Yeah! Imagine a grown man doing these voices!
(Cut back to NC)
NC: Fine, you go about watching your dumb little remakes, and I’ll continue to go about judging you!
Moviegoer Tamara: You were gonna judge us even if we didn’t watch them.
NC: That’s true.
Moviegoer Walter: Still don’t know why you put me on the toilet.
(Back to the movie. Nala is shown leaving Simba after their argument, followed by Simba meeting Rafiki)
NC (vo): Simba and Nala fight like in the last film, and he comes across Rafiki shortly after, saying he can show him his father.
Rafiki: (sits beside a pool of water) Your father is waiting. (Simba looks into the water)
NC: (as Simba) JESUS, you dug him up?! What kind of sick monkey are you? (Rafiki (voiced by NC) does his classic “squash banana” chant offscreen)
(Simba looks up at the clouds and sees Mufasa appear in a couple of lightning flashes that vaguely resemble a lion’s head)
NC (vo): We, of course, get his father in the clouds, but it’s not even that clear it’s him. (The original Mufasa in the clouds is shown) Again, you’d have to give him emotional expressions or he’d just look like... (The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo appears superimposed over him) ...the MGM logo. But we can’t do that because…
NC: “It’s not reeeeal!”
NC (vo): So we just look at this blueberry fart the whole time. How magical.
Mufasa: Remember who you are. Remember.
NC: And to make things worse, maybe the biggest insult of all…the scene with the stick is missing.
(The original scene of Rafiki hitting Simba on the head is shown)
Rafiki: The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.
(He swings at Simba's head with his stick, but Simba dodges it this time. Cut back to the remake where Simba, accepting his identity as the son of Mufasa, starts running home while Rafiki laughs with joy)
NC (vo): Yes. The whole moral of the story in a fantastic analogy...is cut. I was dumbfounded when I saw that. (Mufasa’s ghost from the original is shown) In fact, another important line is cut! Remember when he says “You’ve forgotten who you are, so you’ve forgotten me”?
Mufasa (1994): You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me.
(An image of a man shrugging and the word “CUT!” appears while the losing horn sound effect from The New Price is Right plays. Footage of the original and the remake are shown)
NC (vo): But don’t worry, it was replaced with tons of minutes of grumpy Nala, a mouse, and dung beetle shit! Yeah, I know why they cut that one out…because it perfectly sums up this movie! Lion King forgot what made it so special by ignoring what was most important! Which is why I can assure you that even though this one made a ton of money, it will fade in obscurity while (The original version of Mufasa’s ghost is shown) this one will live on forever.
(Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa arriving at the Pride Lands is shown)
NC (vo): You’d better hope there’s an amazing scene to follow this up.
(Timon stands on top of Pumbaa to distract the hyenas while familiar backing music plays)
Timon: (speaking with a French accent) Mon chèr mademoiselle, we proudly present…your dinner.
(The words “DON’T SMILE!” flash in red on the screen while the corner of NC’s mouth tugs)
NC: (through clenched teeth) Fight it…fight it!
Timon: (singing) Be… our… (He and Pumbaa run for it as the hyenas give chase) gu-AAAAAAH!
(Cut back to the words “DON’T SMILE!” still flashing until NC finally lets out a laugh, ending up confirming that he had found another good moment in the movie)
NC: DAMMIT! (Hits the table with his fists in frustration) Those two are like fried breading, they’re always the best part!
(The film's climax involving Simba confronting Scar is shown as NC starts to recap it)
NC (vo): Scene for scene, Simba confronts Scar, and he forces Simba to reveal the truth.
Scar: Who's responsible for Mufasa's death?
Simba: It was me.
Sarabi: (sounding shocked) It's not true.
NC (vo; as the lionesses): Cancel Simba! Cancel Simba! (Speaks normally) As before, Scar whispers the truth in his ear, causing a flashback...
(When Scar reveals the truth to Simba, we cut to a flashback of Young Simba's reaction to Mufasa's death)
Young Simba: NO!!
NC: (laughs) It looks even worse in slow-mo.
(NC gives us one last recap as we are shown the scenes of the truth about Mufasa's death eventually being revealed to the lionesses, starting a battle between them and the hyenas, eventually culminating in Simba defeating Scar, who ends up being killed by the hyenas for attempting to betray them, and Simba becomes the king of Pride Rock)
NC (vo): Thus, Simba fights back and gets the lionesses on his side. He defeats Scar, the hyenas kill him for betraying them, and Simba takes his place as king.
(Under Simba's rule, the Pride Lands are restored to their former glory)
NC (vo; as various animals): Hooray! Lions can eat us again instead of the hyenas! Yeah, we're still pretty screwed in this two-party system! Don't look at me. I voted for Libertarian Pumbaa.
(The film closes with Rafiki lifting Simba and Nala's newborn cub in the air, thus continuing the Circle of Life)
NC: And that was Lion King 2019. (Beat) It’s so empty.
(Footage of the remake plays out once more as NC gives his final thoughts on it)
NC (vo): It’s like an empty jar marked “fun”, but there’s only air inside. No, not even that, because they sucked all the air out of it! I know it made a ton of money, and most people just see it as a harmless kids’ film, but look at it this way. Selling drugs to kids makes you money, too, but it’s still wrong. This is like creative drugs. Instead of killing brain cells, they kill originality. And judging by the success of their other crappy remakes, they’re just as addictive. Though the technology is impressive, I don’t get why people celebrate remaking what’s already perfectly fine when nothing new or interesting is added. While the casting is decent and Timon and Pumbaa get a few laughs, I don’t see this one being as valued as the original. As the saying goes, there can only be one king, and I think it’s obvious which one I, and other fans of good storytelling, see as the true ruler.
NC: And you know what? I'm gonna give the director a piece of my mind! (clicks a button on his desk) Yeah, my desk has Skype buttons now.
(NC clicks the button again, bringing up Jon Favreau (played by Rob Walker), who's talking to someone on his earpiece.)
Jon Favreau: You know what, Kathleen...hold on, give me one second, I got somebody bothering me. (hangs up; to NC) You know, I hope this is important, I'm working on Mandalorian season 2.
NC: Jon Favreau, how can you make something as terrible as The Lion King?!
Jon: Ugh, this again. Look, I'd love to chat and figure out how you got this contact, but I'm pouring my blood, sweat and tears into this thing, okay? (NC looks confused as Jon Favreau talks on his earpiece again) No, we've been talking about this for hours, we need to keep him an antihero. That's what makes him complex and interesting. And another thing-
Worker (voiced by Doug): Excuse me, sir, you're supposed to direct this shot for Lion King 2.
Jon: Oh, I forgot I was doing it. (Puts on a VR set)
Jon: (pointing) Uh, put Simba there or there. You know what, uh, right between the giraffe's legs, underneath the ballsack.
Worker: Yes, sir. (walks away with the VR set)
Jon: (sighs; to Kathleen) When are we going to reintroduce Bill Burr?
NC: Wait, you barely gave it any direction!
Jon: Oh, yeah. Well, I do these animal movies so Disney will let me do what I really want.
NC: Well, as a critic, I question your creative-!
Jon: Hey! As a director, I gotta pick my battles. Know what I mean?
NC: But-but I don't...
Jon: Do you like The Mandalorian?
NC: Hell, yeah!
Jon: Well, I can't make one without the other. The money The Lion King made would pay for six seasons of The Mandalorian.
NC: But...the original Lion King...
Jon: ...Is still around. And look, all those animators had to work on a bunch of shit they didn't want to before they could get to that. You think everybody wanted to animate The Wuzzles?
NC: But your remake was so bad!
Jon: Bad enough not to see any more Mandalorian?
NC: (beat; quietly) No.
Jon: You do your thing, focusing on my bad stuff, and I'll do my thing, focusing on my good stuff.
NC: I...guess that makes sense.
Jon: I don't care, I have to get back to work. (puts on his earpiece again)
Worker: Sir, the scene...
Jon: (pushes him away) ...looks great! (to Kathleen) Now, let's talk about how our villain has to run a fast food chicken restaurant.
(NC sighs and clicks off Skype. It then cuts back to Chaplin and Buster)
Chaplin: So, do you understand now, Buster?
Buster: I think so. In order to be a cash cow, you have to give the people what they want.
Chaplin: Even if what they want is bullshit.
Buster: Yeah! So we're gonna see a lot more bad remakes, huh?
Chaplin: Looks like it, but in the long run, they help us produce the good stuff, and we'll appreciate them all the more.
Buster: I-I think I'm ready to give the people the fluff they deserve.
Chaplin: Not the fluff they deserve, Buster, but the fluff they need.
Buster: That makes no sense.
Chaplin: I don't care.
(NC then gets up from his chair, walking out into the hallway and lifting up Buster high while epic music is playing in the background)
Buster: I am the cash cow!
Chaplin: And I'm Batman.
(It then cuts to a title card reading "The Cash Cow" with "And Batman" underneath. It then cuts to a blooper)
Jon: I don't care, I have to get back to work.
Worker: Sir, this scene... (bumps into Rob, knocking the earpiece off) Sorry. (pokes the VR set at Rob) Sir, this scene... (chuckles)
Jon: I'm here! I'm Jon Fav-eww! (giggles)
Moviegoer Tamara: (a bit too excitedly) Ooooh, okay. Well, thanks for wishing us into existence.
(The scene partially repeats, but slowed down as the caption "LOL CALM DOWN TAMARA" is shown)
Buster: Hey, I want a blooper, too! Oh, microphone! (Buster starts to paw and chew on the microphone Doug is holding) Mmm, tastes inedible. More!
Channel Awesome tagline: Pumbaa: (singing) Ain’t no passing cra-a-aze.
(The credits roll)