This summer’s remake of The Lion King was a major letdown, at least according to one key critic: Sir Elton John, who composed the 1994 Disney classic’s Academy Award–winning original score.
Speaking to GQ U.K., the music legend was frank about his opinions on the 2019 remake, which included voice acting and musical performances from respected actors and singers like Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Donald Glover, and Beyoncé, to name just a few. (James Earl Jones, who originally voiced Mufasa back in 1994, even returned to reprise his role.)
“The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up,” John told the magazine.
He explained that the film’s soundtrack was an integral part of its enduring appeal as well as its box-office success when it first premiered:
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. 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.
The 72-year-old songwriter added that he wished he’d been “invited to the party more.” Apparently, John “wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect” when it came to the remake’s creative direction, despite having composed some of the film’s most iconic and acclaimed original songs (“Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” anyone?).
“That makes me extremely sad,” he confessed. “I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”