Video Review: The Lion King Rises

“The Lion King Rises” combines three of my favorite things: trailer mash-ups, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight Rises.  (Yes, I know The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t come in yet, but come ON.  Also, 185 days to go.)  But that didn’t necessarily mean it would be good.  There are a lot of bad trailer mash-ups, since people seem to think they can just put together a concept and it will work.  I certainly don’t have the time or editing program to do one of these – but people with less of both have tried.

But “The Lion King Rises” lives up to the hype.  It is to trailer mash-ups what The Lion King is to animated movies, and what The Dark Knight Rises will probably be to superhero movies.  This is a Hall of Fame trailer mash-up, in the same vein as Toy Story: Inception and the Watchmen/WALL-E mash-up.  (Congratulations to YouTube user “MovieMaestroTen,” the Honus Wagner of trailer editors.)  This trailer is, in fact, so good, that I think some of its shots could even improve The Dark Knight Rises.  Consider:

– As good as the national anthem from the trailer is, how much better would it be if the boy was performing from Pride Rock?  While being held up by a baboon?  Think about it, Christopher Nolan.  CGI is all the rage these days.

– At the 0:23 mark…when Michael Caine (portrayed in this trailer by Zazu) finishes the lines “you are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father.  I swore to them that I would protect you…and I haven’t,” Zazu flies away.  Imagine that.  Michael Caine to Bruce Wayne: “I can’t protect you.”  THEN FLIES AWAY.  Michael Caine with wings would be, as the kids say, “cray.”  Or as regular English-speakers say, “crazy.”

Wait, what?? Michael Caine will fly (on a giant bee) in just a few weeks? Hallelujah!

– Anne Hathaway is a good-looking woman and all, but give me Nala as Catwoman.  Do I need to explain this further?

(Since somebody will say “yes, you do,” OK.  Nala is a lion, considered a “big cat,” and a female, or “woman.”  There.)

– The shot of the chanting prisoners who have (probably) escaped Arkham Asylum is pretty neat.  But it doesn’t give me the same chills as a cavern filled with vicious hyenas.  That shot still gives me nightmares.  Don’t judge.  (OK, judge.)

– Simba’s roar at the end is awesome.  What a great end to the movie.  If The Lion King was made today, Simba would kill Scar, then stride out to the edge of Pride Rock with his entourage in tow, get his swag on (whatever that means) and stand up with Jay-Z’s Run This Town blasting as the film fades to black.  You know what?  Let’s be happy The Lion King was made in 1994.

“Pride Rock Nation, pledge your allegiance…”

There are a few negatives about “The Lion King Rises” – the usage of characters isn’t always consistent throughout (Michael Caine’s Alfred is portrayed by Zazu and Rafiki) and there is no need to have any of the comedic shots.  You say any comedy in The Dark Knight Rises trailer?  Nope, me either.  But still, “The Lion King Rises” is an example of a great concept turned into a great trailer.  Well done, Maestro.

Grade: A-

By the way…here are some trailer mash-ups I would like to see, and anyone who puts one of these together becomes one of my best friends for life:

– Mission Impossible: Ghostbusters Protocol

– The Johnny Departed (Pirates of the Caribbean vs. The Departed)

– Raiders of the Lost Arkham Asylum

– Oakland Raiders of the Lost Ark

– Raiders of the JJ Abrams’ “Lost” Ark

– 50/50 First Dates

Memory loss AND cancer? Maybe I shouldn’t give Adam Sandler any ideas…

Feel free to leave more ideas in the comments – perhaps some ambitious young whippersnapper will whippersnap one up.


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