The live action remake of The Lion King wasn’t awful. In fact, Disney actually got it really right by finding the correct balance of modernising the story and capturing the right amount of heart from it’s history defining original.
However one thing they’ve tried to do is capitalise on the star power of Beyonce and Childish Gambino who both star in the film. I mean, if you have both of these artists in a musical film you would definitely try to capitalise on it in some way but they’ve maybe gone too far. Allowing Beyonce to curate and create an original soundtrack to go along with the film is not an original idea in any format but it was definitely the wrong idea for this film.
The Lion King already has a very iconic and special soundtrack curated and written by Elton John which deserves the respect it’s created. And by trying to re-create that impact seems a little unhinging. Instead of creating an original soundtrack they should’ve just done new covers or interpretations of the original songs and it would’ve done really well and also been a lot more respectful. But instead ‘The Gift’ is a little uninspiring with it’s attempt and is a collection of forgettable track that don’t create the same impact as any of the original soundtrack songs.
The lead single and power ballad ‘Spirit’ which features in a big scene during the film is average at best and it doesn’t set the strongest precedent for the rest of the material. The album is compiled of audio interludes from spoken scenes in the film (similar to the A Star Is Born Soundtrack) and the format is a little all over the place and confusing. The strongest song from the collection is the African and R&B inspired ‘Find Your Way Back’ which is a song that could actually have some radio impact. But there is nothing about the rest of the songs on the album which is even slightly memorable or impressive which is super disappointing because it’s Beyonce and her concept was strong. This collection of songs was a politically charged attempt to showcase her love for black culture and to wave the flag proudly of who she is and the African culture that inhabits this movie and story. But the execution of the delivery was way off.