Apparently There’s A Debate Online Over Whether The Lion King Is A Musical And How Is This Even A Question?

Film News

We know, there’s been a lot of confusions about musicals these days, with all of those movies based on stage musicals and stage musicals based on movies and yada yada yada. Recent film releases like the Wonka prequel, the Mean Girls remake and The Color Purple musical got theatergoing audiences all in a tizzy when the movies’ marketing seemingly didn’t make it 100-percent clear that the projects were, in fact, of the musical variety. But color us extremely perplexed that the Internet is divided over what we considered a set fact: that The Lion King is a musical.

Twitter user @KevOnStage got the debate rolling on January 17 when he posed this question to his 360,000-plus followers:

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In the 20-second clip, the content creator can be seen alongside the poster for the beloved 1994 animated movie, which follows the adventures of classic characters like Simba, Timon, Pumbaa and the other residents of the Pride Lands. Kevin asks:

Help me settle a debate real quick: is the 1994 animated picture, Disney’s The Lion King, is that movie a musical? That’s all I need to know; I’m not even going to let you know where I stand on the debate. Just for fairness sake, help me understand how you see The Lion King. Is it a musical, yes or no?

Like fellow classic Disney movies including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Pocahontas, The Lion King features songs interwoven throughout its story, including an original score by Hans Zimmer—who won an Academy Award for his work on the film—and five original tracks co-written by music icon Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice: “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, “Be Prepared”, “Hakuna Matata”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” The latter ballad, song by John, also scored an Oscar. 

Given that those memorable musical numbers helped make The Lion King one of the greatest animated movies of all time, it seems obvious that the ’90s movie is very much considered a musical, but here’s what Twitter users had to say about it. Many took to the comments to agree with that notion, saying that the original Lion King movie clearly used music to allow characters “to express their emotions and advance the plot”:

  • “They sing like 10 movies in the song. How is it not???” – @TheOneTrueLang
  • “I don’t think it’s a debate. Lol Disney calls it a musical drama.” – @JustJHud
  • “As someone that HATES musicals, but loves the original lion king this is definitely a musical. Characters sing to express their emotions and to advance the plot.” – @BroknDeity
  • ” How is it not lol there’s music all through it and it was on broadway lol” – @aayejade

However, other social-media users completely disagreed with the movie’s musical status, saying that “it’s a Disney movie,” which makes it a “completely different genre,” and that the songs “simply enhanced the movie,” rather than pushing the plot forward: 

  • “No. When I think of a musical the entire movie and dialogue is expressed through song primarily. In the Lion King that wasn’t the case, if you removed the music/singing the story still flows. Remove the music/singing from La La Land & you’d barely have a movie.” – @80sixblack
  • “No, it’s an animated Disney movie….completely different genre.” – @been_here_bee4
  • “I would not call it a musical. There are what, 3 songs where characters actually sing to push the plot forward: 1. Can’t Wait To Be King 2. Be Prepared 3. Hakuna Matata The rest is soundtrack stuff. Not a musical, in my opinion.” – @ThisIsLexC
  • “No it’s not. The songs simply enhanced the movie, but none of them pushed the plot forward.” – @Sipho_Mudau

Which side of the debate do you fall on: is The Lion King a musical or not? In case you need a refresher on the animated feature, you can stream the OG The Lion King with a Disney Plus subscription

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