Are We Scar?

Aditya NaikMarch 2, 2020NatureMedia

Climate change is real. Living in today’s society makes me feel like doomsday isn't too far away. Comparing the earth today with the Pride Lands of The Lion King, don't you think we, the humans, are Scar?

What if I said there's a movie that makes you feel nostalgic, gives you goosebumps, and takes you on a rollercoaster ride? You will surely want to sit back, maybe in a recliner, and grab some popcorn and cola, right? The Lion King is a perfect blend of everything I have mentioned above, and you witness it right from the very first scene.

If you've watched The Lion King of 1994, the plot is pretty much the same. Every bit of the story is carefully thought out and well executed. Millennials? You will love to watch your own Lion King with much of the detail and plot unchanged from the original. It'll probably make you feel nostalgic. It starts with a fantastic opening scene. Simba, the son of Mufasa the king and Sarabi the queen, is born and introduced to the kingdom of the Pride Lands in Africa. A kingdom ruled by lions, it is magnificent! Beauty and brilliance are uncommon, but the Pride Lands are an exception. They are both scenic and well-governed. The plot basically revolves around how Scar, Simba's uncle and Mufasa's brother, threatens this harmony because of his aims to sit on the throne.

In terms of the direction, I must say Jon Favreau has done an excellent job. To all those who have watched The Jungle Book, this movie will give a similar touch. Disney has tried to create pictographic images of the animated characters. Everything is extremely realistic, and if someone unaware of the technology watched the movie, he or she might think the animals were alive. However, this technology limits the facial expressions of the animals. Scar, the antagonist, is fierce but isn't very scary. In one tragic scene, Simba doesn't expressively convey his feeling of sorrow. To fully understand how computer-generated imagery (CGI) works, I studied a few reports by the Los Angeles Times, Vox, and Insider. I found out that almost every scene is shot with the help of CGI. However, there is actually one that is not computer-generated; the director wanted the audience to figure it out. The animators worked for 77 million hours on the film, according to Insider. I found certain scenes especially realistic because of the tiniest movements of the animals’ ears. Also, when the winds are strong, every hair moves. I feel the direction is precise, and the animators’ efforts are reflected in the movie.

Then, let’s consider the cinematography. Well, Caleb Deschanel has shot exceptional angles and used great lighting for the movie. In one particularly powerful, spiritual scene, the cameras and lighting take depictions of clouds and sky to a different level. No stone is left unturned in terms of recreating nature. There are some scenes that make you wish you could go there; in one instance, during Simba’s stay in the jungle, the scenery looks so pure and attractive. Graceful waterfalls, widespread greenery, butterflies: everything is so ravishing that you feel connected with it. Also, when Scar ruins Simba’s homeland, and trees and brooks are reduced to nil, you deeply regret what has happened. Don't you think the same is happening with our Earth? This planet was once a utopia. The earth always provided the best possible things to its kids and it was such an amazing place to be! Now, with excessive human civilization and our desire to rule the world, things are going in the opposite direction. Nobody, not even Scar, was able to overpower nature forever. The same will happen to us.

Music? Who doesn't like music? If there's someone who doesn't like it, he or she must listen to the album of The Lion King. Hans Zimmer executes the effects and background music. Seth Rogen, Beyonce, and all the other singers have nailed it. My personal favorite is the song “Hakuna Matata,” and I also enjoyed “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”. “Hakuna Matata” is more cheerful, while the latter relaxes your soul. The music touches nature in every way, and the background effects, especially those of the elephant sounds and hyenas, are realistic. I did find on Insider that sound actors were recorded while walking and acting in a black box theater. The artists got to move and, of course, every voice suits its character. The voice of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is deep and powerful. When he speaks, you feel like a strong and dynamic ruler is speaking. I loved Zazu's voice (John Oliver), too. It is perfect for the little but wise bird.

Overall, I rate this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars. No movie is perfect, and this one has pros and cons, too. I had to rate it a little lower because of the facial movements of the animals. Still, the movie is awesome and connects you with nature. You feel sad when Scar destroys everything. It makes you think: Aren't we humans doing the same? We are Scar, and the hyenas are the scientific advancements that are disturbing nature and our ecosystem. I don't mean to say that every scientific advancement is harming nature, but a lot of them do. We need a Simba and an entire pride of many such lions who will stand together to fight for a greener future. Let's become the new pride of lions. Let's become Simba and build a better world for all.

Aditya Naik is 13 years old and in the ninth grade. He enjoys writing and likes to read a lot. He is part of his school’s badminton team and enjoys playing with his friends.