On the 14th July, Leicester Square held the Royal European Premiere for Disney’s The Lion King. Some of those who attended were director Jon Favreau, Beyoncé, Elton John, Tim Rice, Lebo M, Bob Iger, Hans Zimmer Pharrell Williams oh and me!
It was a dream come true to attend this special premiere. The Lion King is my ultimate favourite film as I have a personal connection with it. When I heard it was going to be remade, I was very excited as I’ve always wanted to see the animals as realistic as possible. Jon Favreau was the man who made this happen and, I am very honored to have watched it with him.
I entered every competition I could find for tickets to the premiere and I wasn’t betting on winning anything. On Monday the 8th July, I listened out for Scala Radio’s competition, and at around 7 pm I received a call saying I had won two tickets! I was told it would be a black-tie event so I only had a few days to find an outfit and I searched on ASOS for a Lion King esque dress.
I arrived around 4:15 pm to collect my tickets from one of the hotels on the square and the atmosphere was incredible! There was lots of noise from the crowd and the soundtrack playing with the trailer as stars started to arrive. It was blocked off a lot so I didn’t see much of it until I got onto the carpet. It took me by surprise as I walked around the corner as the set up was sensational! I have been to premieres before but only in the pens and my last was Harry Potter! Having never attended one as a guest before, attending this one was a dream come true and never thought I would!
I collected my tickets and met up with Elliot who came with me and we started to walk around the barriers. It was mostly a blur because I was overwhelmed and did not think I’d get any red carpet (or should I say gold carpet) time at all because it was a Royal Premiere for the Duke and Duchess. They had two sides of the square, one for the celebrities and one for us guests. Both entrances just as grand as each other and the decoration was gorgeous. There were rocks and grass everywhere including cute paw prints on the carpet too! I didn’t realise we were on the big screen as well so I had to take a photo!
The Lion King premiere was quite a long red carpet and I was very grateful. I got to sink it all in and stood by the stairs to watch some of them arrive. Jon Favreau and Billy Eichner arrived and then it was time to head in. We had to walk over these stairs which, I was dreading wearing heels. I later realised Prince Harry himself had also walked down these stairs too and at the same entrance as us which, was rather exciting!
Thankfully, we got to watch the rest of the interviews and celebrities arrive on the big screen inside the cinema. They had a snack bar set up upstairs and sold Prosecco and soft drinks too. We also got given free water.
We got to our seat at the top section of the Odeon and had around 40 minutes until the main event.
The interviews were interesting to watch as Jon Favreau explained his artistic vision for this remake and Lebo M discussed the new music too. It was also amazing to hear Elton John talk of returning to the red carpet 25 years later.
It was finally time for them to arrive. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrived first and greeted all the head executives at The Walt Disney Company including Bob Iger also attended and watched the film. They received one of the limited edition Simbas as a gift which can be found on shopDisney. Prince Harry and Meghan are working on Protect the Pride Campaign, which plans to double the number of lions by 2050. As the Duke and Duchess entered the cinema, we stood up for them, which, was a great honor to do so. They sat down near to where we were too.
Film and Music Review
Jon Favreau then introduced the film and the amazing cast and creative’s behind this spectacular remake. Some legends returned such as Tim Rice, Lebo M, Elton John and Hans Zimmer who worked on original and new music. I was worried about the new music but it is amazing to the point where it gives me goosebumps every time I listen. Pharrell Williams worked with Lebo M on some of the music too and he was also at The Lion King premiere. Beyoncé Knowles Carter is the role of Nala and she has released some new music as well, along with a completely separate album featuring snippets from the film itself. The main focus from her is Spirit which, is included in the film. Elton John has released music as well called Never Too Late and it is marvelous.
Of course, a few of the originals returned such as I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, Hakuna Matata, Be Prepared and Circle of Life including some of the original scores. The African vibes are incredible and I am very happy with the new soundtrack.
The film itself is breathtaking. I felt like I was in Africa for 2 and a half hours. Each scene is stunning and my jaw was dropped for most of the film. I also cried at several points just at what I was witnessing on screen. Jon Favreau has made a masterpiece here and has come a long way since The Jungle Book. The animals are right there in front of you. Sometimes I think why aren’t they dancing ontop of Giraffes but then this is a representation of real-life beauty. The Lion King has gotten a lot darker but still fun and carefree. The new scenes are awe-inspiring and give The Lion King new depth to the story.
Simba as a cub is the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Donald Glover also does a great job at playing Simba too. No need to worry over Timon and Pumbaa either. Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner bring their own take and on the characters are hilarious and everyone was laughing at their new jokes and they go so well together as a comedic duo. Also, John Oliver who plays Zazu was fantastic.
Overall, I am very happy with this rendition of my favourite Disney film and it was an honor to watch it with so many legends.
Thank you Jon Favreau and Disney for making this dream a reality!