Story

Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) is king of the pride and father of young Simba (voiced by J.D. McCrary). When Mufasa dies, the underhanded and scheming Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor), brother of Mufasa, takes control of the pride with his gang of blood-thirsty hyenas (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Eric André and Florence Kasumba). Scar also drives Simba from the pride.

In exile, Simba runs into a friendly and hilarious warthog called Pumbaa (voiced by Seth Rogan) and a meerkat called Timon (voiced by Billy Eichner). The three friends live together for many years before Simba’s childhood best friend, Nala (voiced by Beyoncé), arrives. She pleads for the now grown-up Simba (voiced by Donald Glover) to return and overthrow Scar.

Despite feeling ashamed about playing a role in his father’s death, Simba agrees to return to challenge Scar and take up his role as the rightful king.

Themes

Death of a parent; children as victims; murder

Violence

The Lion King has some violence. For example:

  • Animals attack other animals with their claws and teeth. This is sometimes playful but also sometimes aggressive. Sometimes they attack with the intention of killing.
  • Simba defeats Scar after a dark and tense fight on the edge of a cliff. The violence of this fight is presented as justified.

Sexual references

The Lion King has some sexual references. For example, Zazu the bird makes a passing reference to ‘two giraffes necking’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

Nothing of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Lion King is a live-action animated remake of the 1994 classic of the same name. Although it’s beautifully animated and has some fun new songs, this movie is essentially a shot-for-shot remake of the original and it lacks the original’s sparkle.

It’s also important to note that the highly realistic violence and themes in this computer-animated version of The Lion King might be distressing for younger viewers.

The main messages from this movie are about:

  • taking responsibility
  • being courageous even when things are difficult
  • getting support from your friends and family when you need it.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include bravery, courage, duty, loyalty and friendship.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like interactions with wild animals. Wild animals aren’t tame and won’t interact with people the way they interact with each other in the movie.