- Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Seth Rogen
- Jeff Nathanson
- Jon Favreau
- G (Canada), PG (United States)
- Running Time
- 118 minutes
- Release Date
- July 19th, 2019
It’s official, the cash cow that is Disney has hacked the system. At this point it’s almost becoming unfair that they have all these properties to adapt into live action features for the foreseeable future.
When director Jon Favreau decided he wanted to take a break from directing Iron Man and throw his hat in the ring with The Jungle Book, at that time it was in his words, the most technologically advanced movie he’s ever made. The visuals in that film were stunning in capturing and bringing the jungle to life. Now here we are once again with yet another classic widely considered to be the greatest Disney film to date. The Lion King, the film that made every single human being on earth cry. So pure, so perfect, it’s hard to imagine anything but the original. How can you improve on something that is already perfect?
Early on, it will be easy to see the spectacular visuals that look so life like that many will surely forget that it is a film and not the discovery channel. However, this may be problematic for those attempting to compare this version of The Lion King to the original seeing that it’s extremely difficult to compare something that is animated to something nearly life-like. The latter can’t quite capture the same emotions, colors, and overall essence that can go into animation. The possibilities are endless when it comes to animation. Those who can separate to two will be more likely to enjoy this film and those who cannot will be regret missing out on a fun experience.
Much like the original, the voice acting in this version of The Lion King is perfect and well-casted with so much star power that only elevated it. John Oliver in particular as Zazu was so fantastic, that every time he opened his mouth, you can’t help but giggle. Rogen and Bill Eichner as everyone’s favorites Timon and Pumbaa respectively have a lot more to say here, which only makes sense. While adapting an animated film, there are additions to the script that add to the film’s running time with this film clocking it at just under 2 hours. The additions to this film all felt necessary and natural without over-bloating the film.
As for the musical numbers, they’re great. With the talents of Glover and Beyoncé as Simba and Nala respectively singing, it’s going to work out. “I Cant Wait To Be King” was the standout, providing the most colorful and fun sequence. However, this version of The Lion King doesn’t quite capture the joy and fun of the original.
The animals in this film don’t interact and look the way they do in animation so it’s unfair to Favreau and everyone involved. Instead the focus should be on the achievement of bringing something of this scale to life. The biggest flaw with The Lion King is the level of emotional attachment or there lack of that it elicits from audiences. Since the animals themselves can express all of the emotions an animator can draw, it’s hard to feel the same level of emotional weight during any emotional scenes.
Ultimately, this version of The Lion King is destined to be a divisive experience among viewers. At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable time at the movies chalk full of great laughs with some of the best visuals in recent memory and spot on voice acting.
Just like our little friends Timon and Pumbaa tell us. “You gotta put the past behind ya.” So if you can’t move on from one of the best and most precious animated Disney films of all time in the original The Lion King, then this film will not sit well. However, those who can move on and take this film for what it is, there’s no way to not walk out of the theater satisfied.
*still courtesy of Disney*