‘The Lion King’ Fans Respond to Elton John’s Criticism

With the success of Disney’s 2019 adaptation of The Lion King, there were sure to be a few critics. One of whom was Sir Elton John, who had a role in creating the music for the original animated movie. What are fans of Beyoncé and The Lion King saying about Elton John’s interview response? Here’s what we know.

Elton John attends "The Lion King" European Premiere
Elton John attends “The Lion King” European Premiere | Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Sir Elton John said the 2019 version of ‘The Lion King’ was ‘a huge disappointment’

The soundtrack for the original version of The Lion King was written in part by artist, Sir Elton John. During an interview with GQ Magazine, Elton John shared his thoughts on the 2019 live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic. Needless to say, the review caused some controversy.

“The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up,” Sir Elton John said. “Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact.”

“The magic and joy were lost,” he continued. “The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the best-selling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success. I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter attends the European Premiere of Disney's "The Lion King"
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter attends the European Premiere of Disney’s “The Lion King” Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Some Beyoncé and ‘The Lion King’ fans disagreed with Elton John

This version of The Lion King’s soundtrack features African artists and African influences. That is especially true of Beyoncé’s single “Spirit,” which appears on both The Lion King’s soundtrack and The Lion King: The Gift. Some fans took notice of this, commenting on the new album on social media.

“What’s different this time round is that the soundtrack was filled with African artists, who are beyond [Sir Elton John’s] ears nor does he understand their impact. Yes it might not have had the commercial success that you would expect, [however,] the impact of some of the songs were felt in black culture,” said one Twitter user.

No, it was just not as moving as the original soundtrack. I listen to plenty of African music and some are good, some are bad. I don’t know what kind of reasoning this is. Music is music. This soundtrack is not immune from criticism because it’s African-inspired,” replied another Twitter user.

Beyoncé has not yet commented on Sir Elton John’s interview

Not surprisingly, Beyoncé has not yet commented on the situation. In the past, the artist described adding elements of African culture into the music. Particularly, the music of The Lion King: The Gift features producers and artists from Africa, creating songs inspired by Disney’s classic.

The Lion King’s official soundtrack and The Lion King: The Gift are both available on Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and most major streaming platforms. The Lion King will be available for purchase on DVD, Blu Ray, and Ultra 4K HD on Oct. 22, 2019.