The 5 Best Lion King Performances, Ranked!

Lion King fever is here as the live action “The Lion King” movie is now in theaters. 80’s and 90’s kids everywhere are elated as we are living in 1994 all over again. As a Lion King super fan, I couldn’t wait to see what Disney had in store for us. However, as an anti-live action remake person, I had my reservations. Now that I have seen the movie, here’s where it ranks in my list of my Lion King media.

5: The Lion King - Live Action

While the CGI was incredible, unfortunately the movie left me wanting. It was enjoyable to watch from the standpoint of an 80’s kid loving the nostalgia, or even as someone who loves nature films, but the movie failed to translate the feeling and emotion that was conveyed in the animated version. The voice overs were also a little off to me for most of the characters, and it felt like many were reading from a script. For me, the movie started to get interesting right around the stampede in the gorge. My standout characters were adult Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa. Besides “Can you feel the love tonight” and “Hakuna Matata”, the songs in the movie fell a little flat. If you have young kids, they may find it a little scary; my three year old did not enjoy the roars during the movie and covered his ears throughout the movie. He’s over it now and has been working on his roar every day since. My advice, go see it, but DON’T watch the animated version before going.

4: The Lion King: The Gift

Whew Chile this album. It ranks up there with the great film adapted albums of our time (I see you Soul Food!) It compliments the movie and I wish there were more songs from the album in the actual movie. It is truly a love letter to Africa, with beautiful melodies and guest artist that make you feel like booking your ticket to Ghana to join in the celebration of the year of return. One particular stand out track is “Brown Skin Girl”, a song that celebrates the beauty of the ebony complexion, which unfortunately is often overlooked or stigmatized.

3: Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World

While this is not a reenactment of the movie it is a beautiful show that celebrates the beauty of the music from the movie in an artistic and theatrical ”cirque du soleil” style. It is the one show I don’t miss on my Disney trips. 

2: The Lion King: The Musical

A truly beautiful adaptation of the film. It is an exact retelling of the story and it incorporates the human actors seamlessly. The puppetry and costuming tie it all together and make it a must see show. If it’s not on your bucket list, it should be! Check out this interview I had with Tryphena Wade, an actress who has played  Queen Sarabi on and off for a decade!

1: The Lion King - Animated

The original, the GOAT. The one movie to rule them all. Originals are very hard to improve upon and The Lion King is no exception. It created countless Disney fans and Stans around the world and is tied with The Princess and The Frog as the number one favorite movie of the Disblerd community. 

Do you agree with the ranking? Is there something that was left off that should be on the list? Let me know in the comments or DM me on Instagram!

4 Responses

  1. Yo, “The Festival of the Lion King Parade” at the Disneyland Resort was AMAZING! SHOCKED it didn’t make this top 5 list. It tops “The Gift” tho

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