As The Lion King movie roared into UK cinemas last weekend – my little cub was eager to see Disney’s remake of its animated classic.
At first, I was a little reluctant – I loved the original version so why try and improve perfection? And would it have all the favourite songs we know and love?
But as it was chucking it down, we decided to swap the cabin fever for jungle fever and left our den for the bright lights of Cineworld Speke!
Taking advantage of a Kids Pass deal (40% off at Cineworld – bonus!), we headed to the shiny new multiplex at the New Mersey Retail Park for an afternoon of animal magic.
We were greeted by lions and bears (well, one Pudsey Bear to be exact, who was fundraising for Children in Need!) and after collecting our tickets and stocking up on sweets and popcorn, we had 20 minutes to spare before the film started.
There was jungle fun aplenty in the foyer with cupcakes, face painting, a giant floor game of snakes and ladders, Lion King colouring competitions and quizzes and much more.
With her newly made-up cheetah face, my daughter raced over to screen 9 where we took pride of place in our reclining seats.
Directed by Jon Favreau, this ‘live-action’ version of The Lion King takes viewers on a spectacular journey to the African Savannah where the adorable lion cub Simba is born.
His father is the majestic King Musafa and it is Simba’s royal destiny to follow in his father’s pawprints, but not everyone is celebrating the new arrival.
Simba’s jealous Uncle Scar has ideas of his own and plans to thwart the heir to the throne. A battle for Pride Rock ensues full of betrayal, tragedy and drama, resulting in Simba’s exile.
With help from a hilarious pair of loyal (if not stinky) new pals and his best friend and future queen Nala, Simba has to figure out how to grow up and reclaim his rightful place as king.
This visual masterpiece uses pioneering computer-animated techniques to create all the favourite characters – from the playful cubs to the powerful lion king, the wise old mandrill Rafiki and the pongy warthog Pumbaa.
From inquisitive whiskers to shaggy manes, hypnotic eyes and vibrant plumes, no detail has been spared in bringing these creatures to life.
And the scenery is simply breathtaking from golden sunsets and dusty gorges to lush green forests and rushing waterfalls.
This film really celebrates nature in all its glory, from glistening beetles to bounding antelopes reinforcing the Circle of Life message that from death springs new life.
And you’ll be glad to learn that most of the songs from the original Lion King return, with a few new surprises.
The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.
Rated PG, I would say that this film may not be suitable for younger children or those with a sensitive nature, as it features some ferocious scenes with big cat fur flying, snarling hyenas and scary stampedes.
My daughter is eight and I was a little worried she might get frightened but she just shrugged and said ‘Hakuna Matata’ – and I kind of like the fact that it’s not all about cute, cuddly – it reflects what really happens in the animal kingdom which can often be brutal. An important life lesson I’d say.
Verdict – ROARSOME!!