The Lion King came out today and guess what?? I didn’t like it and yes it’s as bad as those other lifeless products.
I’m yet to cover the animated classic in my Disneyathon series, but from memory The Lion King was my all-time favourite Disney movie. It’s a tale of a young lion finding his true calling in life as he has to deal with all of these different obstacles if he wants to come out on top. It was nice to see this new reboot stick quite faithfully to the original story, but the only problem is everything else!
Also spoilers if you care.
I’m not going to sugar coat this as I strongly believe this movie shouldn’t have been in live-action!! Dumbo and Aladdin I’m fine with as they have human actors and it’s interesting to see what the CG will be like. Unlike The Lion King which has no human characters and it’s all computer generated. Wow Disney, you’ve got an incredible visual effects team in your back pocket, why don’t you use this great team to make an actual animated movie like, I don’t know, The Lion King!
All of the animals are photo realistic. Pretty impressive for 2019, but it doesn’t work with where they’re going with this movie as the animals look more boring and quite terrifying. With the power of animation making the animals a bit exaggerated it helps to give the characters some personality. It also helps give you an idea of what their whole character is about. In this new version this is almost impossible because they all look like normal lions. Also animated animals can be way more expressive which these new animals must have lost along with their genitalia. (I’m guessing that’s where the realism ends.)
Speaking of which, for a movie that goes into so much detail with it’s fake world, it sure didn’t consider that one of the main reasons why people love the Lion King is because the characters show emotion, which you can’t do when you’re recreating a David Attenborough documentary. It reminded me of the game Life is Strange where the actors are giving it their all, but the character models stood there like blocks of wood. A key example is Mufasa’s death which is a complete joke in the movie! They made Scar shout his last words to his brother, which was so cheesy that it had me on the floor laughing. It didn’t help afterwards that Simba was stone cold when faced with his father’s corpse.
Let’s continue on with the list of things these stupid live-action reboots butchered. Let’s start with the songs. When the actors in the movie have to sing, instead of getting people who can actually sing it’s the Will Smith problem again and it’s like 10 bolts to the heart when you have to listen to these musical sequences. Most of the energy is non existent because you’ve got celebrities like Seth Rogan singing your favourite songs. It also doesn’t help that the cartoonish slapstick from the original is completely gone so you’re just stuck with watching animals running around. Overall good luck trying to sit through The Morning Report, Be Prepared and Hakuna Matata, without wishing you were deaf.
The acting I found ranged from not bad to downright atrocious. Donald Glover was not a good pick for grownup Simba, neither was Beyoncé as Nala, and as far as I’m aware she’s only in the movie so she can sing her own songs that don’t really fit in with the movie. Seth Rogan and John Oliver as Pumbaa and Zazu were god awful. I couldn’t stand them whenever they appeared on screen. James Earl Jones returns as Mufasa, which is pretty cool, but like when he voiced Vader in Rogue One he now sounds old and tired. I can see people mistaking Mufasa as Simba’s grandfather. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar is a mixed bag. When he speaks in a soft tone like Jeremy Irons it works just fine, but when he needs to get loud he sounds very goofy.
Once again there are more pointless changes. A great example is the reason Simba escaped the hyenas is not because he fell into some thorn bushes and only got away because the hyenas just valued their own skin. In this version Simba fell down a gorge and the two hyenas were just too lazy to see if he survived or not. I find it baffling as they set-up the hyenas as this serious rival gang who live outside of the pride lands, but the movie still wants to treat them like incompetent idiots.
I honestly can’t remember anything I liked about this movie. It’s visually impressive when it copies the original, but it’s also a lot less vibrant because they’re keeping it realistic. This reboot improves nothing over the original, it’s just a soulless product! I’m sorry I keep referring back to the original, but I have no choice as this whole movie is banking on the fact that you have seen and loved the animated classic. That’s why I’m sticking with my 2/10 as a reboot should stand on it’s own. Screw Disney and I highly recommend skipping this one and literally watch anything else.
After seeing three dud Disney reboots I seriously hope 2020 is the end of this Disney live action reboot era. As of now that seems unlikely as Mulan and The Little Mermaid are getting their own soulless reboots. A man can dream and I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.