The Lion King – Can Disney Remake a Masterpiece?

My two cents worth as I anticipate The Lion King this week. I’m fascinated to see how Disney can remake a masterpiece. The original movie was amazing, and the stage musical was also, in an entirely different way. When my daughter, Destiny, and I saw the musical in Chicago, we were absolutely blown away by the production and costumes. I didn’t think I could love the movie anymore, but I did even more after the musical experience.

Destiny and I love ALL things Disney, and we are amazed at their attention to detail.  I’ve also taken the leadership course at Disney Institute, and their behind the scenes operational ethics are inspiring. For example, when Disney was making the Lion King musical, they spent months figuring out how to make the stage elephant blink perfectly, timely, and look real, simultaneously.

I especially can’t wait until I see the opening scene of the movie. I literally cry every time I see it, and I cried during the musical as well. They used live animals to enter from the back of the theatre, and walked to the stage (Pride Rock) —  and it was absolutely the most amazing and breathtaking thing I had seen in all my life.

Like many of you, I’ve seen The Lion King, via DVD, more than 25 times, and I know every scene and song. So to say, I’ll be especially sensitive watching the remake to ensure Disney didn’t ruin my ultimate love affair with my DVD replay. This is an understatement. I’m sure Disney is feeling the pressure too, but if I know them at all, this too, will be A+ amazing.

So don’t underestimate the magic of Disney. Walt Disney and the entire staff thrive on his words: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  And on Thursday, July 19, Disney. will. do. it. again! (Exhale)

The Lion King – Lyrics and Video to Hakuna Matata

The Lion Sleeps Tonight Lyrics & Video from The Lion King

 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight Lyrics & Video from The Lion King

the lion king animated movie - simba on rock
King of all he surveys. Not bad, eh?

Innnn the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonigtttt…..A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh…

This classic song is well known, but most don’t realize the name isn’t In the Jungle. Even if you ask Alexa for In the Jungle, she knows what song you mean but corrects you first: it’s called The Lion Sleeps Tonight. But I honestly think a lot of people just sing A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh a few times, and everyone gets the reference. Remind me to run that by Alexa later. 🙂

In the meantime, this 1961 tune, by whatever name, is a fun karaoke favorite. The lyrics fit perfectly into Disney’s 1994 animated The Lion King.

The Lion King is among the top movies of the beloved Disney Renaissance Period, along with The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and a small second handful of Top Tier movies…many of which, including The Lion King, are undergoing a remake phase. (Dumbo got the same treatment, but it’s thematically, deeply problematic.)

The upcoming “live action” Lion King technically isn’t one. It’s entirely CGI. (Duh.) But from the trailers it looks exciting enough, and will hopefully retain the best musical numbers, including The Circle of Life,  Hakuna Matata, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Let’s get excited and ready for the retelling of Simba, Nala, Timone, and Pumbaa (And James Earl Jones is back to reprise his seminal role!) by learning the words to The Lion Sleeps and singing along. Song clip is followed by the lyrics below!

Song to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, by The Tokens, 1961

Lyrics to The Lion Sleeps Tonight

(By The Tokens)

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

Near the village the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village the quiet village
The lion sleeps tonight

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

Hush my darling don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight
Hush my darling don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh…

(Songwriters: George David Weiss / Hugo E. Peretti / Luigi Creatore
The Lion Sleeps Tonight lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC)

The Lion King – Lyrics and Video to Hakuna Matata

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)

Dumbo – Lyrics and Video to the Original Disney Classic Song Baby Mine

The Lion King – Lyrics and Video to Hakuna Matata

the lion king log scene
We should all try to live the hakuna matata lifestyle…

One of the most charming songs in the  1994’s beloved The Lion King is where Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba sing Hakuna Matata. Which means, as the meerkat and wildebeast cheerfully describe, “No worries.” A good philosophy…can you watch this scene without smiling?

It’s pleasant, funny, and even meaningful — remember the iconic moment where the three friends walk across a log, signaling the passage of time as Simba grows from cub to adult lion? (Sniff. Awww.)

Something you probably didn’t know is that Elton John was one of the songwriters for this sweet little film little interlude. We can only hope Hakuna Matata is included in the rebooted “live action” (actually CGI) Lion King movie, out this summer in 2019.

Watch the Hakuna Matata sequence and learn the lyrics (below)

Lyrics to The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

Why, when he was a young warthog
When I was a young wart-hoooog!
Very nice!
Thanks!
He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal
He could clear the Savannah after every meal
I’m a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned
And it hurt that my friends never stood downwind
And oh, the shame
(He was ashamed!)
Thought of changin’ my name
(Oh, what’s in a name?)
And I got downhearted
(How did you feel?)
Every time that I-
Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
Oh… sorry

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries
For the rest of your days
Yeah, sing it, kid!
It’s our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata

Hakuna
It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata…

[Songwriters: Elton John / Tim Rice
Hakuna Matata lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company]

Movie Review – Toy Story 4

Movie Review - Toy Story 4Vera and I saw the movie together and collaborated on the Peetimes. We agreed that Toy Story 4 deserves an A. It has everything you could want: fun action for the kids, plenty of humor, especially with the two new toys Bunny and Ducky — voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key respectively — and a really well thought out villain, if you can call Gabby a villain.

I found this movie to be a pleasure to watch. In many ways it’s more real than most of the “real” movies today. Everyone knows that things will “work out” in the end, but there was really uncertainty in what the characters would decide to do.

This is Pixar at its finest.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Toy Story 4 is packed with action, and plot development, and jumps between short scenes of different groups of toys. That makes it difficult to find Peetimes. All of the Peetimes are decent, but short. The 2nd Peetime is recommended because it’s the longest, almost 4 minutes long.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Toy Story 4. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Top Toy Story Adventures You May Have Missed

Toy Story 4 is finally here.  Everyone knows and loves Buzz and Woody.  But do you remember the time Buzz got lost in the ball pit at Poultry Palace?  Or the time Rex held a rave in the bath tub? Or the creepy hotel where the toys started disappearing?  If not, there are some adventures you may have missed. Buzz and the gang have appeared in more than just the three feature-length films most us know them from.  If you need to catch up, we’ve got your back. Here are the Toy Story adventures you may have missed and where to find them.

Toy Story Toons:  These three Pixar shorts all take place after Toy Story 3 and involve the toys adapting to their new life with Bonnie.  

Hawaiian Vacation

History:  This cartoon originally played before Cars 2.

Plot:  When Ken and Barbie miss out on Bonnie’s Hawaiian vacation, the other toys recreate Hawaii in Bonnie’s room for them.  

Where to find it:  Available as a bonus feature on the Cars 2 DVD and Blu-ray

Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Small Fry

History:  This cartoon originally played before The Muppets in 2011.

Plot:  Buzz is replaced by a miniature fast food toy version of himself in a case of mistaken identity.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Partysaurus Rex

History:  This cartoon originally played before the 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo in 2012.

 

Plot:  Rex learns to relax and have fun with the help of the bath time toys.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available as a bonus feature on the 3D Blu-ray and updated Blu-ray of Monsters, Inc.

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

TV Specials

These specials are also set after Toy Story 3 and the toys belong with Bonnie.

Toy Story of Terror!

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in October of 2013.  

Plot:  The toys are on a road trip with Bonnie and her mother when the car gets a flat tire.  They have to stay at a motel for the night. One by one, toys start to go missing.

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital (It comes with all three Toy Story Toons as a bonus feature.)  

 

Toy Story That Time Forgot

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in December of 2014.  

Plot:  Buzz, Woody, Trixie, and Rex have a playdate with the Battlesaurs who are dangerously unaware that they are toys.   

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital

 

If you’re a fan of the Toy Story Universe, these are definitely worth your time.  Even though they aren’t feature length, the same thought and care has been put into these shorter cartoons.  They even include the same celebrity voice cast. These make a great appetizer to whet your palette for Part 4, or as a dessert after seeing it.  Especially since Toy Story 4 will be the first Pixar movie to be shown without a short since the original Toy Story.

You know what else is worth your time?  Our amazing app that tells you when to pee during all the wide release movies and if there are scenes after the credits. Never miss an important movie moment again with the RunPee app.  Be sure to use it when you see Toy Story 4. Or any other kid flick this summer! We’ve already got Peetimes for Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2.  And we’ll have Peetimes for The Lion King and Artemis Fowl, so you won’t miss a second of movie magic. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news. 

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

I miss a lot of animated features working for RunPee, since that’s really RunPee Mom’s genre, and I see mostly science fiction, fantasy, and superhero blockbusters. So little gems like Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs from Sony’s Animation Studio frequently slip past my radar for years. I just caught it with a congenial friend on Netflix and was pretty charmed.

The technobabble plot isn’t exciting and the characters aren’t actually memorable, but the creative scenes of food, food, and more food plummeting from the sky is distinctive and sort of brilliant. What happens to get to the point of hot dog hail, ice cream snow, nacho cheese fountains, meatball asteroids, and spaghetti tornadoes is beside the point.

Kids will enjoy the utter weirdness of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but more pleasingly, there’s a lot of bizarre adult humor that will go right over kids’ heads. I kept looking at my friend in mild shock when they went places I normally find a bit risque (like nipple hair reacting to the changing weather). The wacky background signs and funny throw-away lines are worth a few rewind giggles. Honestly, I expect no less from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo later responsible for the absolutely brilliant Lego Movie films.

Apparently the sequel isn’t worth seeing, so I’m quitting while I’m ahead — this isn’t the Toy Story saga, after all. But if you’re bored and looking for an amiable story with a unique disaster theme and yellow Jello palaces, give this flick a try.

As a plus, the heroes dig science — always a good message in my book.

Movie Grade: C+

Are the Four Lego Movies Sequels or Prequel Films?

Movie Review – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Movie Review – The LEGO Movie

Movie Review – The Secret Life of Pets 2

 

Movie Review - The Secret Life of PetsSo here is what I hope: The Secret Life of Pets becomes its own universe, much like the Minions, and we can continue to enjoy the antics of Max, Duke and Snowball. There’s so much story left to tell about these citified critters who can’t stop getting into mischief. And now with the addition of Liam, the new kid on the block, there’s so much potential for crazy action and crazy love.

Much credit goes to the writer, Brian Lynch. He fleshed out the characters to the point that they’re very real to us, and that’s what a great movie needs: someone to care about.

The plot of the movie was, although not original, how do city dwellers fare in the great outdoors? We’ve seen this trope played out in television (Green Acres), and movies (City Slickers), and it never gets old. Heck, I’ve been a part of this trope when I graduated from my rural middle school with a student population of 35 kids, to a city high school with a population of over 400. Those first few months were both comical and embarrassing, much like Max’s first few days on the farm.

I whole-heartedly recommend this movie for the entire family, and if you’re not satisfied, feel free to email me at blahblahblah@blahblah.com and I’ll give back to you the 90 minutes spent watching it.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes:

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Secret Life of Pets. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some action and rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – The Secret Life Of Pets

Movie Review – Minions

Despicable Me 2 – movie review

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

jumanji-game-box
Would you play this game? Like, ever?

Adoring as I do Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle — my favorite film of 2017 — I looked forward to finally watching the original Jumanji with Robin Williams. My understanding was the game updates itself for its era, meaning the 1995  game would be a vintage style board game — with an actual ‘board’ and dice. The kind of game where you move little pieces around, and the winner is the one who gets to the end first. (Warning: spoilers follow for Jumanji 1 &2.)

Problems with the Jumanji Board Game

What I didn’t expect was…well, several things. It doesn’t take place in the Jumanji world — a fantasy element I loved in Welcome to the Jungle. Instead, the jungle elements come to Earth, but only in an’ immersive’ way at the climax.

Second, I didn’t expect the original game to be so ludicrous and mean-spirited. The board game makes no sense. NONE. You have to randomly survive each roll of the dice, and it doesn’t seem like either skill or chance is involved.

In a typical board game, some turns reward the player. In this Jumanji sequel, every single die roll is a nightmare. Some player results are merely bad; others are downright demonic. I guess that fits in with the opening scene in historical times, where the sentient game is actually implied to be evil.

In Jumanji 2, it became an interesting video game, with lots of cool clues for each gamer. I like clues, especially ones the viewer can follow along and guess at. J2 didn’t cheat, although misdirection was in play. But the game didn’t seem sinister.

And lastly, there’s the reset-button ending. This isn’t how the game ends in J2, which confused me. If that was true, then none of the kids in Jumanji 2 would still have been around at the end. (J2 is a direct sequel, not a reboot.)

Back to Jumanji the First

To be fair, Jumanji 1 had some incredible set-pieces. The CGI looks as bad as one would expect of the time, but you get swept away (and the characters literally do get swept away) by the creative sequences. I think the indoor lagoon was my favorite, but also loved the lion in the bed, and the vicious man-eating vine plant scenes. It killed me when the vines crunched the police car.

And the monkey scenes? Meant as comic relief, they totally tanked. They looked bad, acted like Gremlins on speed (and that’s saying a lot)…and maybe were hilarious at the time? The mosquitoes were much, much more cool.

Robin Williams (and the Rest)

Unfortunately, Williams wasn’t exactly funny in this film. I’d say he was even subdued, and I wonder if this part of his life was more about his internal demons than creative work. The younger version of his character had more life to him.

I get that 26 years in a alternate world will change you, but I don’t think that’s what happened here. Normally Williams brings nuance and a sparkle to any role, but even his ‘silly’ Jumanji scenes felt off.

Knowing in hindsight Williams was deeply unhappy makes watching this 1995 movie painful, but he seemed to enjoy roles like The Genie in Aladdin (1992) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) so much more. Maybe the subsequent years took their toll on him.

Of the other actors, the little boy was often delightful, and the movie was much better for it. A young Kirsten Dunst was…fine. Her best scene involved swatting giant mosquitoes with a tennis racket, but she seemed to just screech her way through the rest of the film.

Altogether, I was surprisingly bored by Jumanji 1, since it was mostly a series of wild set-pieces barely stitched together with dysfunctional plot-lines and nonsensical game rules. I expected more fun. Maybe you had to grow up with this Jumanji to appreciate it.

I did like the coda, implying that you can’t get rid of the game, and Jumanji 2 picks right up on the beach where it leaves off.  And the drum sounds are used to great effect. If you listen through the credits, you can softly hear them right there. That was a nice stinger in an era where after-credit extras were barely a thing.

Movie Grade: C+

Movie Review – Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle

And there’s news! Here’s a clip where the Rock discusses the upcoming Jumanji 3 (Release date December 13, 2019):

The Animated 1978 Godzilla Cartoon – Lyrics & Video

godzilla from the animate tv series
Godzilla’s a good guy here, FYI.

Do you remember the old 1978 Hanna-Barbera  TV Godzilla cartoon that used to play during the Saturday morning children’s lineup?

What I really remember liking was that it featured Godzilla as a hero. I I like that perspective a lot more than OMG BIG MONSTER MUST DIE. That’s part of the reason I consider the 1998 Matthew Broderick Godzilla vehicle a tragic tale. He was just an animal trying to eat and reproduce, after all. I re-watched that Godzilla last night to see if it was better than I remembered, and NOPE, still not a good film.

Back to the cartoon…Godzilla was the gigantic savior of every episode. And it was cool. You had to ignore a lot of improbabilities by having a massively, non-verbal deadly force of nature available at the push of a button in your pocket, and the implications therein. And everything about the show spoke of bare-bones- budgets, with a studio desperate to find a niche (thus, the widely-despised .Godzooki. I didn’t about any of this in  1978, And you wan’t watch me rewatcing these half hour stories to glow in the nostalgia. But the cartoon into is well worth a revisit. If you were one of those kids like me, you already know the words (I’ve listed them for you anyway.)

Check out this trailer:

And as far as I am concerned, Godzookie is a Scrappy-Doo. Arg. Notice the whip-lash tonal shift when he flies through. Weird. But then it’s back to the awesome sound and fury of GODZILLA!

Lyrics to Godzilla

(Hanna-Barbera, 1978)

Up from the depths.
Thirty stories high.
Breathing fire!
HIS HEAD IN THE SKY!
GODZILLA!
GODZILLA!
GODZILLA!
….and Godzookie….
GODZILLAAAAAAA!

godzuki from animated tv show godzilla
Godzuki, the Scrappy-Doo of Monsters.

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Godzilla – movie review

Movie Review – Aladdin (2019) – A Live Action Remake, Good for the Target Audience

Movie Review - AladdinThe 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin is a difficult movie to review, because I’m not the target audience — that’s mainly young kids. Personally, I found the movie to be occasionally entertaining at best, and barely tolerable for the rest. There were a few laughs here and there, and rarely did the song and dance bits drag on too long.

If you’re a parent taking their kids to see this movie, then you could do worse.

Based on the audience reaction in my theater, (mostly kids under 16) it will be a hit. Three teenage girls sat in the back row and laughed throughout.

The plot is simple and clear enough that young children will be able to follow along, and if not, there’s enough singing, dancing, and action to entertain them.

Will Smith is one of the few actors with the charisma to perform the role of Genie. I think Will did fine, but he fell short of making it iconic. I’d give him a B+.

I only vaguely remember the plot of the Disney Aladdin from 1992. From what I recall this retelling is generally the same, except Jasmine’s character has been fleshed out more. It wouldn’t be misleading if they changed the title to “Jasmine” or at the very least, “Jasmine & Aladdin,” since it’s mainly about womens’ empowerment, like “Mulan”. What do you think?

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 2 recommended Peetimes, both near the middle of the movie. The 1st of the Recommended Peetimes is a song/dance scene that young kids may enjoy, but it’s easy to summarize. The 2nd Recommended Peetime is all dialog. There’s a little humor, but not much. You choose which works best for you.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Aladdin. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some action/peril
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Remake

Rewatch Review – Disney’s Animated Aladdin (1992) – A Classic Film with Deeply Modern Flaws

Aladdin –  Animated vs Stage vs Live Action

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)