10 Movies Like ‘The Lion King’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

 

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King

The Lion King draws inspiration from anime Kimba the White Lion and, most notably, from Hamlet. In true Disney fashion though, The Lion King’s dazzling combination of catchy songs and bright visuals make it a real treat.

If you’ve finished streaming this one on Disney+ and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top picks for alternate viewing.

So without further ado, we present 10 movies to check out when you’ve finished watching the original Lion King movie.


Robin Hood

The story of Robin’s Hood’s “take from the rich to give to the poor” idea has been echoed through generations. It’s no surprise then that Disney’s animation department, known for spinning folklore tales into rich, vibrant stories, would get their hands on this one. The result is one of the better retellings of Robin Hood.

Using numerous different animals as characters, this imaginative interpretation sees fun and romance collide as our swashbuckling hero of Sherwood forest is depicted as a cunning fox. He joins forces with a host of colourful characters in a bid to outwit and outsmart the greedy Prince John (who’s depicted as a Lion here.)

It’s a fun, vibrant romp that uses its themes of power and hierarchical rule to good use.


The Jungle Book (1967)

A lighter version than the noticeably darker book it’s adapted from, The Jungle Book is a well written story about belonging and finding your home. There are also sprinklings of ideas about facing your past and being courageous too – perfect for lovers of The Lion King.

The plot here follows a young boy called Mowgli. Raised by animals in the jungle, a monstrous man-hating tiger called Shere Khan forces Mowgli to flee into the jungle, where he embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, he meets a host of diverse and colourful characters.

While the 2016 remake brings this film to a whole new audience, the original cartoon version is still undoubtedly a classic and the one closest in depiction to The Lion King.


Mulan

Not to be confused with the live-action remake, the original Mulan is a brave, bold movie that brought an accessible slice of Asian culture to the western animated market when it released.

Retelling an old Chinese folktale, Mulan centers around a young Chinese maiden called Mulan who disguises herself as a boy and takes her Father’s place in the army.

Unbeknownst to her though, Mulan’s mission is know by her ancestors who send a tiny dragon called Mushu to join her, determined to use this dragon to force her into abandoning her plan. When he meets Mulan however, Mushu soon changes his mind. Together, they set out to stop the opposing Hun army, led by the monstrous and imposing Shan Yu.

Beautifully written and armed with some very strong themes around belonging and identity, Mulan is a real classic and another must-watch animation.


The Land Before Time

The Land Before Time is an absolute classic and spawned many sequels after (13 to be exact!) each of varying quality. Despite that though, the original 1988 movie is a timeless tale of friendship, love and facing your fears.

The story takes place 65 million years ago, with dinosaurs ruling Earth. An orphaned brontosaurus called Littlefoot sets off in search of the legendary Great Valley. This fabled place boasts lush vegetation and a peaceful tranquility away from the harsh wasteland our protagonist finds himself in.

Along the way he meets four other young dinosaurs, Ducky, Cera, Petrie and Spike, who join him on this perilous journey. Unfortunately that trek is made all the more difficult by an evil predator called Sharptooth hunting them every step of the way.

Well written and full of strong themes, The Land Before Time is a must-watch.


The Lion King (2019)

While nowhere near as emotionally engaging as its cartoon brethren, the 2019 remake of The Lion King is undoubtedly a gorgeously rendered live-action(ish) re-telling of this story. The plot is largely the same, although there are some extra scenes regarding the hyenas and a bizarre spoken version of Scar’s Be Prepared too.

Thankfully a talented voice cast helps to prop this one up when the plot fails to branch out and expand. This remake is certainly absolutely stunning though and if finding something similar is your jam, this remake is about as close as you could get!


Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo is a real Pixar classic, channeling those feel-good vibes into a movie that’s packed with laughter, unforgettable one-liners and a moving story.

The plot here revolves around Marlin, a clownfish haunted by a tragedy that’s befallen his family in the past. Left to raise his son Nemo alone, Marlin finds it difficult to let his son go and experience the world for himself.

Unfortunately this coddling backfires when Nemo branches out on his own, captured by humans in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney.

Desperate to find his son, this timid fish sets out on a journey across the expansive ocean to bring his son back home. Along the way though Marlin learns the meaning of friendship and how to step outside his comfort zone. This is a wonderful movie armed with a timeless message.


Bambi

Bambi is another classic Disney movie, one that essentially found itself usurped by its spiritual successor – The Lion King. Bambi is mostly remembered for an infamous scene involving his Mother (no spoilers for those who haven’t seen it) but the film really encapsulates all the best elements of Disney animation into this joyous picture.

The story essentially sees Bambi grow up in the forest, learning how to walk and using his Mother’s lessons to try and survive the dangers lurking outside the forest. Joining Bambi for this journey is Thumper, a rabbit of similar age, and Flower, a skunk kit who takes a fancy to Bambi’s name.

While not as prolific as some of the other Disney movies out there, Bambi packs one emotional wallop and carries all the usual Walt Disney hallmarks, making it a timeless movie of its era.


Hamlet (1997)

Given how heavily inspired The Lion King’s story is by Hamlet, it seems fitting to add it onto this list. Although there have been many interpretations of Shakespeare’s play over the years, it’s the 1997 version that takes the plaudits here.

The story is structured in a very similar way (minus the animals) with Simba essentially taking on the role of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. When Hamlet returns home, he finds his Uncle has taken the throne, killed his Father and taken Hamlet’s Mother as his wife. While all this is going on, war begins to brew in the background.

While it’s certainly not a kid-centric animation, if you’re interested to see where the influences for The Lion King have come from, this one is definitely worth watching.


Brother Bear

With Disney’s animated efforts moving ever-nearer to an all-digital future at the time, 2003’s Brother Bear is one of those long-forgotten hand-drawn gems that’s overshadowed by more illustrious efforts in Disney’s catalogue. Still, it’s undoubtedly a really good movie.

The story takes place long ago, just after the Earth emerges from the Ice Age. The tale itself centers on three brothers. Their family unit is shattered though when a bear takes the life of the oldest brother, sending impulsive Kenai off in a fit of rage, determined to exact revenge against that very same bear.

Only, when he himself transforms into a bear, Kenai finds himself hunted by his own brother, Denahi. The only way for Kenai to survive is to team up with his own worst enemy – a grizzly cub named Koda.

On the surface, this doesn’t have a lo of similarities to Pinocchio but strong themes and ideas surrounding love, brotherhood and comradeship definitely are.


Black Panther

You’re probably wondering why Black Panther is on this list. After all, a Marvel superhero movie couldn’t possibly have similarities to The Lion King… could it?

Well for starters, both movies depict a tyrannical Uncle taking over and both feature former Kings forced into becoming a better version of themselves to claim the crown back. Add the gorgeous landscape of Africa alongside a memorable cast of characters and you’ve got something pretty similar.

For those unaware, Black Panther takes place in the advanced hidden Kingdom of Wakanda. T’Challa is the heir to the throne there but in order to prove his worth, he must come up against his toughest challenger – Erik Killmonger.

Arguably one of the best written villains in the MCU, Killmonger pushes T’Challa to the absolute limit. This one is packed full of action and was even nominated for an Oscar back when it released too!


So there we have it, our 10 Movie picks to keep you busy after watching The Lion King.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!


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