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Lion King 2019’s Simba vs Scar Fight Assessed For Realism By Cat Expert-TGN


  • The Lion King remake received mixed reviews for its visual effects, but the Simba vs. Scar fight scene was praised for its realism by biologist Mark Elbroch.
  • Elbroch commends the film for accurately depicting certain behaviors of lions, such as standing up to begin a fight and going on their backs as a defensive posture.
  • The movie’s attention to detail, like the loose skin and big mane of the lions, adds to the realism of their violent exchanges, earning it a high rating for realism from Elbroch.

The Lion King, a 2019 remake of the Disney classic, has been praised for the realism behind its Simba vs. Scar fight. The live-action movie garnered over $1.6 billion worldwide, yet received mixed reviews for its effects. While The Lion King‘s commitment to capturing the richness of each detail, from lions’ whiskers to flickering eyes, put off some viewers, the computer animation (which is not quite a live-action rendering) still achieved an impressive feat of cinematography.

Biologist Mark Elbroch, who has studied mountain lions for 20 years, sat down with Insider to discuss big-cat attack movie scenes and rate each for its realism. Discussing the climatic moment of The Lion King, where Simba and his Uncle Scar battle on the edge of Pride Rock, Elbroch assessed the scene as highly realistic. For example, the fact that both lions stand up to commence the fighting is “actually real,” and going on their back as a defense mechanism is also an accurate depiction. Check out Elbroch’s full analysis in the quote and video below:

Where they stand up to begin a wrestling is actually real. African lions will do that when they engage in a fight, especially over territory or rights to a pride. Young lions actually challenge old lions. That’s totally real. And that old lions almost always have a set of scars on their face from these territorial disputes over time–that’s totally normal. To see an old lion without any scars means that lion has been bred in captivity.

The swiping of the paws, all of that sort of rapid violence is very real. I would just point out, too, that the skin of cats, when you see them, they often look loose. They’re swiping with these weapons, these claws that can dig in an inch or more, and that loose skin is protecting them, the big mane is protecting them, so that all is defenses to allow them to have these violent exchanges.

There was a moment there where you saw one go onto his back. That’s really normal. A cat in a defensive posture will start to go onto its back to have four weapons pointing up. They are devastating because now, if a competitor comes on top of them, they just shred their underbelly, with all the vital organs. It’s amazing to have that much realism in a cartoon, so I’m going to give this thing an eight.

The Repercussions Of Realism In The Lion King

Compared to other movies featuring big-cat conflicts (such as Jungle Cruise and The Hangover), Elbroch rated The Lion King‘s portrayal of the dueling lions as one of the most realistic. With details such as Simba’s fur clump fluttering past a pack of animals before reaching Rafiki, it is clear the 2019 team put realism at the forefront of their production.

Remaking beloved works is never an easy task for filmmakers, and the team behind the Jon Favreau production experienced nothing different. Despite its success at the box office, the reviews for 2019’s Lion King were mixed, with several commentators suggesting that the technological achievements of the film reduced its emotional impact. After all, a realistic lion would likely not furrow its eyebrows and stick up its nose as Simba does when offered a grub.

In 2022, Disney announced that a prequel to The Lion King, titled Mufasa: The Lion King, was in the works. It is currently set to be released July 5, 2024, though not much is known about its plot as of now. With director Barry Jenkins joining the team and a four-year gap since the last The Lion King release, it will be worth seeing whether any stylistic changes will be made.

Source: Insider

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