‘The Lion King’ Review

It’s only a matter of time before Disney runs the world. The Lion King is fun for the whole family, but some people might have a hard time moving on from the flawless animated film.

After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

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 and for the foreseeable future we will be getting “live action” adaptations of all the animated Disney classics. When 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, his words, the most technological advances movie ever made. The visuals were stunning, and on top of that, he managed to capture and bring the jungle to life. Now here we are, he’s tackling yet another classic and to some, the greatest Disney film to date. The Lion King, the movie 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?

What an opening, it’s almost frame for frame with the animated classic and you’re instantly shot up with a dose of nostalgia and transported to a time where things were much easier in your life. Right off the bat, you realize how spectacular the visuals are within this film. Sometimes it’s so lifelike you forget that you’re watching a movie and not the discovery channel. The biggest concern I think people have going into the new Lion King is comparing it to the original. Now, it’s extremely difficult to compare something that is animated to something that is supposed to be lifelike. You can’t capture the same emotions and colours and overall essence that can go into animation. The world is essentially your oyster when it comes to creating something that is animated. If you can separate to two, I believe you can totally enjoy this. But if you sit down and dislike this movie because it’s not as bright and as colourful and these characters don’t have as much life in them, you will miss out on a movie that is so incredible and so much fun, it will be something you will regret.

Much like the original, the voice acting is perfect. The voices match their counterparts so well, and at times it’s mind-blogging how well they cast this movie. John Oliver in particular as Zazu was so fantastic, that every time that bird opens his mouth you can’t help but giggle. There is so much star power sprinkled throughout the film, which helps carry it. Seth Rogan and Bill Eichner as everyone’s favourites Timon and Pumbaa. Who have a lot more to say in this, which only makes sense? They add to the script quite a bit, because whenever you adapt something that is animated the run time will always increase. With everything that is added feels necessary and doesn’t over bloat the film at all, and it all just comes off as very natural.

As for the musical numbers, they’re great. When you have talents like Donald Glover and Beyoncé singing songs in your movie, it’s going to work out. They seemed like they had a ton of fun voicing these characters. The best musical number was “I Can’t Wait To Be King” where that felt like the most cartoonish sequence in the film. It was by far the most colourful and fun moment of the movie because people tend to forget that the second half of The Lion King is pretty dark and bleak. A lot of criticism will be placed on how much joy and fun are packed into the original and this doesn’t capture that. In fact, there is hardly any colour throughout the film, but it’s supposed to be lifelike. Animals don’t interact and look the way they do in animation and I think it’s so unfair to Favreau and everyone involved. Instead, the focus should once again be on the level of achievement on bringing something like this to life and making you feel like you’re watching real-life animals talk to one another.

The biggest flaw within the movie is the level of emotional attachment to the characters you feel. Since they themselves can express all of the emotions an animator can draw, it’s hard to feel the same level of weight during those scenes that pull at your heartstrings. For instance the stampede sequence. It just doesn’t come across the same in a heart-crushing manner.

This is going to divide fans alike and be so decisive. It’s an enjoyable time at the movies. It’s chalk full of great laughs, no thanks to Seth Rogan and John Oliver, the visuals are some of the best I’ve ever seen and the voice acting is spot on. 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 what is one of the best and most precious animated Disney films of all time, then this movie will have a hard time sitting well with you. But if you can move on and take this for what it is, there’s no way you don’t walk out of that theatre satisfied.

The Lion King 75/100

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