Lion King director Jon Favreau defends live-action remake after ‘Hakuna Matata’ backlash

The scene was criticised on Twitter last week, with audiences concerned over the absence of colour and expressiveness

Adam White
Tuesday 16 July 2019 09:15 BST
The Lion King remake's Hakuna Matata shot-for-shot with original

Jon Favreau has defended his photo-realistic reboot of The Lion King after it faced online criticism for its new interpretation of the original film’s famous “Hakuna Matata” number.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Favreau said that he understood the passion people have for the original film. “Whenever you’re dealing with a story that people have a connection with, the good part of that is that they care so deeply and they’re watching very closely,” he explained. “So you really owe to them to tell the best story you can, and make for the best experience.”

“But like anything else,” he continued, “I think people have expectations based on what their childhood was. I certainly felt it when we did The Jungle Book – there are people who remember the old way that it was done.”

The new film’s “Hakuna Matata” scene, which replaces a number of different locales and sight gags with a photo-realistic lion, meerkat and warthog endlessly pacing around the same spot of jungle, was met with concern upon its unveiling last week. Particularly when a Twitter account posted a video that played both versions of the scene side-by-side.

“I don’t see how Favreau can improve on this, especially considering how his direction often is more functional than expressive,” one Twitter user commented. Another added: “It’s so realistic that all the life is gone.”

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