Jeremy Mug

(Tilts head back and fills belly with air)

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! Sithi uhhmm ingonyama! Ingonyama. Siyo Nqoba. Ingonyama. Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala.

(Singing) From the day we arrive on this planet and blinking, step into the sun there’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done.

It’s the Circle of Life! It moves us all, through despair and hope. Through faith and love until we find our path unwinding in the circle, the circle of life!

Lion King hit theaters last weekend. I felt like a 4-year-old once again. I’ve been humming the tunes all weekend and most of the week.

I’ve seen the original Lion King movie about 500 times and that’s not an estimate, I’ve watched it enough to recite the lines of the film almost word for word. I love the original. It was the first time I experienced many of the emotions we take for granted as adults.

It was the first time I knew of depression, anger, spite, revenge, love and Hakuna Matata (what a wonderful phrase). It was the first time I’d seen someone betray anyone. It was the first time experience the spectacle that the world of Disney has become.

Naturally, I ignored the poor scores on the movie review sites and got in my car, grabbed my fiancé (not necessarily in that order) and hustled to the nearest movie theater last Friday night.

I loved the movie.

Hearing the songs I’ve sung with passion as a child took me back to my childhood sitting in a living room while one of my parents or grandparents attending to whatever it was parents did around the house during the day. Simba, Mufasa, Scar, Timon and Pumbaa acted as my babysitter many weekend afternoons growing up.

Where I blindly loved the movie, I’ve seen negative remarks about the movie in the social media world and that’s fine. We’re in a world where nobody is happy about anything and nothing is done the way they want and so that means it’s not well done.

Fine, I get it. Your opinion matters. (Says the guy who is writing an opinion story on about a movie). I agree some of the things didn’t translate. Maybe Beyoncé’s voice didn’t do Nala justice. Maybe the songs didn’t have the same kick as they did in the original. Maybe my second favorite character Rafiki didn’t exhibit his manic laughter that I weirdly have learned to mimic and maybe Scar’s exciting duet with the villainous hyenas didn’t feature the green explosions and explosive theatrics.

I was prepared (see what I did there) to not see what I saw in the cartoon. The concept of the movie was to be as realistic as possible. People just need to relax and appreciate the Lion King for what it was.

Let us who truly love the Lion King to bask at this moment. Even if it wasn’t as classic as the original was, it was still a marvel to the technology that has entered the film world recently. When we were children and witnessed the original Lion how many of us actually thought we’d see a live version on the screen?

It didn’t think there would be many.

It was imperfect yet satisfying. Now, Hakuna Matata.

Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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