The Lion King is a stunning work of nostalgia bait, but you’ve already seen it

After the success of The Jungle Book (2016), appearing on the online action TV online Lion King and online action video games This filmmaker may have a part of them. Attention, singer Beyoncé participated in voice acting for the film.

Earlier this year when the trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King was first released. The film’s director, Jon Favreau, was hit with criticism for making what looked to be a shot-for-shot retelling of the original story. No, no, he reassured us. The two films will be different. Don’t worry. “The original holds up incredibly well,” he told USA Today. “So the challenge here was to tell a story in a different way. But still deliver on people’s expectations while surprising them somehow.”

The 2019 remake of The Lion King did surprise me, sure. But only because it stuck so closely to the original that I almost felt irritated on behalf of the 1994 film’s creators. Jeff Nathanson is credited for writing the new screenplay and while the film does occasionally (and very briefly) deviate from the familiar. Most notably during Seth Rogen’s and Billy Eichner’s comedic improvisation as Timon and Pumbaa. I left the cinema feeling as though the original’s writers, Disney veterans Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton, should have also received some of the credit.

Favreau is right:

The original does hold up incredibly well. So why not enlist those who created it to help with the CGI reimagining? Please remember. This is a production that hired Chance The Rapper as a “nostalgia consultant”, despite the fact he was just one year old when the original film came out. I think they could have made room on the team for the people who were, you know, actually responsible for The Lion King’s initial success.

THE LION KING – Featuring the voices of James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and JD McCrary as Young Simba, Disney’s “The Lion King” is directed by Jon Favreau. In theaters July 19, 2019…© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

An inevitable consequence of Favreau’s decision to make an almost shot-for-shot remake of The Lion King is that the final product is still enjoyable. And who could resist Simba’s cuddly cub face rendered in photorealistic CGI?

The work of the visual effects team is spectacular and makes the film worth seeing all on its own. It took more than 500 people to bring the Pride Lands to life on the big screen, but, honestly, considering how detailed every shot is. I would have expected that figure to be much higher.

If the animals didn’t move their mouths and prowl around to the beat of the musical numbers. You could easily mistake many of the shots for real footage, particularly those of the landscapes. For younger viewers, the entire film must seem like a work of magic. For adults, the magic wears off during the new rendition of “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”, when you realise that, as impressive as the technology is.

The Lion King is not a story that was ever based on realism and we therefore don’t need to see realistic lions acting it out. I can understand why the updated musical number left out the original’s trippy visuals and animal pyramid that Simba tops for its grand finale, but, boy, does it suffer as a consequence.

The film obviously recruited an impressive cast

As soon as you attach Beyoncé’s name to anything you can pretty much guarantee people will turn up to see it – and for the most part the acting is fine. Rogen and Eichner are standouts, delivering some genuine laughs as the eccentric warthog-meerkat duo. The pair pretty much carry Donald Glover’s adult Simba through the second half of the film.

However, as it sadly seems voiceover work might be the one thing he isn’t brilliant at. Elsewhere, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Florence Kasumba are truly menacing as Scar and Shenzi, the queen of the hyenas. James Earl Jones returns to the role of Mufasa and sounds exactly the same as he did in 1994; Beyoncé (as Nala) sounds like Beyoncé.

t’s been 25 years since the original Lion King was first released and in that time. It has become one of Disney’s largest franchises, spawning spinoffs, TV shows and one of the most successful stage musicals of all time. But the original and all its various reiterations were enjoyable for their ability to embrace the fantastic nature of a story. That story talking about animals and run with it,. Whether that be through creative and striking animation or innovative stage design and costuming. While you can’t fault Favreau’s Lion King for its technical innovation and… Yes, talking lions are still a thing of fantasy, it lacks the imagination of its predecessors. It’s just nostalgia bait. Perhaps we ought to leave the genre of wildlife filmmaking to Attenborough and co.

INFO:

Rating: PG (for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Drama
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Stars: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen
Written By: Jeff Nathanson
In Theaters: Jul 19, 2019 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Oct 11, 2019
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Hannah Giorgis
The Lion King captures just enough of the original’s warmhearted excitement — and introduces enough new delights — to feel like more than a cynical Disney money grab.

Sam Adams
Even if you somehow made it into the new Lion King without knowing its origins, you might start to wonder if there was another version of it that made more sense…

Matthew Lickona
By this point, Disney’s do-overs feel a lot like their cash-grabby, inspiration-free ’90s direct-to-video sequels, only with vastly better production values.

Brian Gill
It is, most of the time, visually stunning. But I’m not sure there’s even one aspect of the movie that improves upon the original and a great many aspects that are significantly worse.

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