This Fan Awesomely Reimagined The Lion King Characters

February 26, 2020 0 By Ewald Bahringer

If you left the theater feeling a little disappointed
by the Lion King remake, one fan artist has just the remedy for your blues. Digital artist and Photoshop wizard Nikolay
Mochkin, who goes by the username ellejart on Instagram, has reimagined the Lion King
characters as they’re seen in the new film and drawn them in a style more closely aligned
with the original movie. Originally voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas,
young Simba is played by JD McCrary in director Jon Favreau’s remake. And he doesn’t just sound different, either. Gone are the exaggerated eye movements, head
tilts, winces, and smiles that Simba expressed in the ’90s movie, replaced instead by a lion
who looks real enough to reach out and touch… but isn’t really as emotive as before. Mochkin brought back Simba’s signature sass
in his re-working of the character’s design, adding in downturned brows when the young
lion cub knows he’s in trouble, and giving him wider eyes as he looks out at the vast
expanse of the Pridelands. Adult Simba also got a retouch from Mochkin,
who gave the remake’s version of the lion his orange-tinged mane, bright eyes, and expressive
face from the original film. And though she’s voiced by multi-Grammy-Award-winning
artist and chart-topping singer-songwriter Beyoncé this time around, Simba’s childhood
friend-turned-queen Nala still wasn’t perfect by Mochkin’s estimations. He made her eyes brighter and bluer, her muzzle
squarer, and her ears larger and lower than before. To some, the biggest mistake the Lion King
remake made was dampening the menacing presence of Simba’s villainous uncle Scar. Voice actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, known for his
work in films like 12 Years a Slave and Doctor Strange, did a pretty bang-up job making Scar
sound as vicious as Jeremy Irons did in the original Lion King, but most people felt that
Disney’s animators failed to depict the mangy lion in all his sinister wickedness. “Long live the King.” Mochkin, however, aimed to fix that. He reimagined Scar with his trademark black
mane, dark sienna coat, yellow eyes, and a scar that runs down his forehead and cheek. On top of all that, Mochkin even reworked
the poster for The Lion King, in which Simba and his ragtag guardians Timon and Pumbaa
look far more expressive than they did before. Though it was marketed as much, Disney’s “live-action”
remake of The Lion King wasn’t actually live-action at all. It certainly was a remake, though, essentially
taking the exact shots used in the animated original and reimagining them in photorealistic
CGI animation. The end result was visually stunning, but
it was also lacking a certain something which many critics felt was the nuanced emotion
present in the 1994 version of The Lion King. “Talk about your fixer-upper.” The edits that Mochkin created are sure to
appease the fans who might have found themselves disappointed by the Lion King’s remake, but
they may also do something better still: motivate Disney to hold off on just pumping out live-action
remakes of its classic animated films, and take a moment to actually consider what the
best approach could be. There’s no doubt that the nostalgia factor
behind The Lion King pulled audiences to theaters in their droves, and it paid off, too: the
new Lion King made over $595 million worldwide as of July 25th 2019. But box office bucks can only take a studio
so far, and if viewers aren’t joyously picking up what it’s putting down, it might just be
time for Disney to figure out a plan to keep its future live-action remakes from getting
hit with the same rotten reviews that the Lion King did. And if that never happens? Well, at least we got some cool artwork out
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