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Expert Advice

Be prepared! Is The Lion King too scary for little kids?

It's a visual masterpiece but is it a little too violent for your youngsters?

By Anita Lyons
The Lion King remake is finally here and with an all-star line-up including Beyoncé and Donald Glover, comes a huge weight of expectation.
And for someone's whose first CD ever was the original soundtrack to Disney's The Lion King, I placed a MAMMOTH amount of said expectation onto the film.
The movie itself is an absolute visual masterpiece with top notch CGI animation. In fact, the animals are so real, you literally feel like you're standing in the middle of Africa.
For fans of the original film, the story remains true, with some of the most iconic parts of the film coming to life in front of your very eyes.
From the wildebeest stampede to that iconic scene at the beginning of the film where Rafiki (John Kani) presents a young Simba (JD McCrary), it truly is a spectacle.
In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to fault the story-line of a young Simba becoming King after the death of his father.
But it's in this true-to-life depiction that the fault of this "kids" film lies, because while the story is there and the soundtrack is absolutely incredible, this movie is just a little too intense and at times, downright scary.
Baby Simba is presented at Pride Rock! (Source: Disney)
The Lion King is rated PG, so unlike the original cartoon, it's not meant explicitly for kids. However, if you're thinking of rallying your own young cubs to the cinema these school holidays, my advice is to take heed of the classification system.
When I asked one of my friends who attended the premiere with his wife if he'd take his four and two-year-old sons to see the film, he said, "No way!"
While their eldest is "obsessed" with the original (they watch it "three times a week" he says), seeing the re-make is not an option for them.
"It's actually pretty violent," he said. "I don't want to 'Scar' him for life!" (See what he did there?)
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And it's the character of Scar, voiced brilliantly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, that is by far the most scary part of the movie. In case you'd forgotten, Scar's plot to kill Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and then Simba (Donald Glover) is pretty much the entire plot line.
All of his scenes exude the exact same tone has the cartoon, including an additional scene where we see Scar devouring an antelope. It's not for the faint-hearted.
Scar and the hyena's are enough to freak anyone out. (Source: Disney)
So what age is appropriate for you to take your child to see this movie?
As a parent, it's entirely up to you, and you know your kids better than anyone.
But if your child is quite sensitive, the realistic animals fighting each other to the death and the film's grim nature may be a bit too intense.
Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of humour too and it was absolutely en pointe, the stand-outs (of course) being Timon (Billy Eichner), Pumba (Seth Rogen) and Zazu (Joh Oliver) bringing some much-needed comedic relief.
Like any Disney film, there were plenty of hilarious jokes included especially for the adults (like "giraffes necking") and some goodun's for the kids (like Pumba's flatulence), and it wouldn't be a Disney film without a killer Easter egg (another Disney reference planted in the film), which will sure to make you sing!
A young Simba and Zazu. (Source: Disney)
Of course, you can't go past the insanely beautiful soundtrack and the inspiring message of "Hukuna Matata".
And then there was the beautiful theme of responsibility and a deep knowing of exactly who you are. Sigh. There might have been some tears involved ...
So, if you "just can't wait" to get to the cinemas, The Lion King is out now, but "be prepared" for who you take along with you.

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