On Wednesday, Disney released the first official trailer for Jon Favreau's kinda-sorta-but-not-actually-live-action Lion King remake. The nearly two-minute clip is exactly what you'd expect from a Lion King trailer: There are the obligatory nods to the original cartoon, some uplifting narration from James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and a general sense of wonder and endless possibility or whatever.
But right at the end of the trailer, just when it seems like it's over, the familiar sounds of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" come floating over the credits. What's that voice? you think to yourself. I know that jolly baritone singing "a wimba way." And then it clicks. Ah! It's Seth Rogen, playing the jolly warthog Pumbaa in the new movie, and—oh, for the love of God, what is going on? What has happened to Timon and Pumbaa?
For some reason, the beloved duo that filled your childhood with joy and a strange, insatiable appetite for grubs has been replaced by these hyperrealistic, vaguely terrifying CG monstrosities. They look like Spongebob close-ups sprung to life. What is happening? Who did this? What Disney executive slammed his fist on a boardroom table and decried that we better see Pumbaa's wrinkly-ass skin and eye boogers or some animator was getting canned?
Apparently, this is just par for the course now. We live in a 2019 hyperreality where we are collectively forced to reckon with Will Smith's Genie and the skin textures of various Pokémon in Detective Pikachu. Everything that we once deemed cute is now laid bare under the harsh light of our modern world, pubey warthog fur and all. Get used to it.
The new Lion King movie opens July 19 and features a brain-bleedingly stacked cast, including Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Eric André, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogan, John Oliver, and more, which seems promising. But it also features that goddamn new Pumbaa, so, you know, prepare yourself.
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