On July 19th, 2019, Disney’s newest live action remake, The Lion King, roars into theaters everywhere. And yes, kids of all ages adore the animated version, but is the new live action The Lion King kid friendly? Read on for my thoughts in this Disney parent review.
I was invited to a media only screening of The Lion King in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
My oldest has grown up watching The Lion King and absolutely adores it. It’s one of her favorite Disney movies and has been watched in every format. And because of her love for Simba and the gang, her younger brother has also seen it more times than any of us can count.
And while I’ve cringed at a scene or two ( talkin to you Scar!), I never thought of it as non-kid friendly. But now seeing having seen the live action The Lion King, I’m reconsidering my take on this “family-friendly film”.
What is The Lion King rated?
The live action The Lion King is rated PG, which means the film should be ok for all ages. But it does encourage parental guidance as some parts may not be suitable for young ones. Language and nudity wasn’t the reason for the PG rating, it got it due to violence and dark scenes.
HAVE SOME FUN: Printable Lion King Activity Book
Are there swear words in The Lion King?
There isn’t any bad language in the original animated film and Disney stuck with that in the new film. Honestly, these wild beasts do not need to swear words to get their point across. You know when they’re ticked!
Is The Lion King scary?
After watching the live action remakes of the Disney animated films, I’m always left wondering how I never realized how frightening some parts can be. Honestly, in my opinion, the original animated movie has it’s dark and scary moments. And Disney kept to the original script almost to a “T”.
Mufasa getting trampled – I cry E.V.E.R.Y. single time. Without fail. But now this is with “real” looking animals and it’s gut-wrenching. I don’t care who you are this part is hair raising and devastating to watch.
The elephant graveyard might not be such a big deal when it’s a cartoon, it is a little chilling in the new movie. Not sure if it was just our theater, but I swear the temperature dropped about 5-10 degrees as soon as we saw it.
And the hyenas chasing young Simba and Nala had me jumping in my seat and hyperventilating. If I could have screamed for them to watch out I would have!
At one point in the cartoon, Scar instructs his minions to “kill him” referring to Simba. And the hyenas proceed to chase the little lion cub throughout the elephant graveyard. Since the script is almost the same – it’s in the new film. And even though I knew what was going to happen, my adrenaline was pumping and my heart was racing.
Does The Lion King have any violent scenes?
The animal world is full of violence because that is how they survive. When making a live action animal movie, the directors and producers tend to be as real as they can be. Disney tried to keep The Lion King kid friendly, but there’s only so much they could do while keeping to the true ways of wild beasts.
One of the biggest moments that display violence is towards the end when Simba returns and challenges his uncle. And while we’re all cheering for Simba, watching this battle between “real” lions could be terrifying. But it shocked me and wasn’t as frightening as I thought it was going to be.
At the end of the movie, the hyenas turn on Scar because his plan failed. In the cartoon version, we don’t see anything beyond some shadows showing the hyenas attacking and killing Scar. They did it exactly the same way. Most kids will understand what happens, but they don’t actually show it.
Is there sexual content?
There isn’t anything in the original Lion King cartoon, so I am not expecting any in this movie. There is a love story with Simba and Nala, but we’re talking animals here. So beyond some nose rubbing, a lick here or there and some rubbing against each other there’s nothing. And while all of that sounds very sexual to us humans – it’s nothing when speaking of animals.
Is the humor kid friendly?
While Timon and Pumbaa are humorous and fun to watch, many of the jokes in this film are almost too quick to catch. And none are not appropriate for kids, but even if they were I think the young ones wouldn’t get them. Honestly, I was surprised how quiet our theater was. I expected the film to be funnier.
There is a not so hidden Easter egg that had the entire audience laughing. By far my favorite part of the movie.
Age recommendations for The Lion King
I feel this one is geared towards older kids – think preteen and up. But here are my recommendations. Take them as you will.
Toddlers (1-3 years old) – Just no. Leave these babies at home.
Children 4-6 – I probably wouldn’t take them. The violence and dark scenes might be too much for them to handle if they are on the sensitive side. But unless they LOVE animals – this one may not hold their attention in many parts.
Kids 7-9 – This is a tricky age. I think most would be ok, but personally I’d view it before taking them just to make sure. I know my youngest wouldn’t have been able to handle it at that age, but he was a little bit of a scaredy cat.
Preteen 10-12 – Take them, unless they are sensitive or get bored easily.
Teens and up – GO! Both my daughter (21) and I thought this one was geared towards the older kids, especially towards those late 90s early 2000s kids and their parents. And simply because the CGI is on point, you don’t want to miss this one in the theaters.
Overall is The Lion King kid friendly?
If you have a child that is sensitive about animals and/or death of a parent I would keep them home. But you know your kids and what they can handle. If they’ve seen Jurassic World or the live action The Jungle Book and didn’t have an issue – take them!
Personally, I am having a hard time categorizing The Lion King kid friendly, at least 100%. I know some kids will LOVE it, while others will be bored or scared. But It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be! So, that is a bonus.
Thumbs up or Thumbs down: The Lion King Review
I went in wanting to love this remake. But I also had hoped we’d see some tweaks in the script. I know, I know the traditionalist would have thrown a fit. And yes, there were some minor changes – none mentioned in this review, I found something lacking.
Don’t get me wrong the film was good and the CGI was EPIC. But I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.
Now, my daughter thought it was fantastic. She loved every part of it. She laughed, cried and left the theater singing it’s praise.