Global  

MOVIE REVIEW: The Lion King

One News Page Staff Monday, 22 July 2019
MOVIE REVIEW: The Lion Kingby 👨‍💻 Graham Pierrepoint

THE LION KING

IMDb

Dir: Jon Favreau

Starring Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones

starstarstarstarstar    2 STARS (out of 5)

That’s a rating I wasn’t expecting to give this movie, but hear me out. It’s not as a result of Disney remake fatigue, and it’s certainly not because it’s badly made. Far from it. The Lion King remake is a fairly unique case for me to review, as I rarely get to put ratings on films that feel hollow or unnecessary. This one is a particularly curious case – as it’s technically fantastic. In a year where Dumbo failed to fly and where Aladdin surpassed all my expectations, I was expecting something a little better from this production.

If you don’t know the story by now – where have you been? The Lion King has always been the big jewel in the crown of the Disney Renaissance, that period between 1989 and 1999 where each movie produced was a memorable classic (The Rescuers Down Under falling a little short). Ask any fan of Disney’s animated movies during this period, and they will likely put this and Beauty and The Beast on the same pedestal.

The Lion King - Movie Review
The Lion King (Walt Disney Studios)

But, back to the story. It’s essentially a feline take on Hamlet. Scar, an embittered lion whose older brother Mufasa has control of the pride and is set to pass down duties of king to his son Simba, is hatching a plan. Simba is young and precocious, but deeply loves his father. Working with a band of local hyena, Scar sets wheels in motion to topple his brother and to exile Simba, so that he can ascend to king of the pride. How does this all go down? It’s likely you already know, but it’s a story that’s always worth seeing.

Ok – so positive points first. This is one of Disney’s best-looking remakes so far. Favreau was the ideal director for the job, having breathed new life into The Jungle Book, and yes – everything is very pretty. Stunning, probably, if you saw this in 3D or IMAX. For looks alone, it’s a movie which deserves at least two stars. The rest of the package, however, is where things really start to fall apart.

The elephant in the room here is, of course, that it is a carbon-copy remake of the original movie. While Aladdin tapped into the heart of the animated original by enhancing its story and with masterful direction, The Lion King is perfectly happy to plod along, line of dialogue after line of dialogue that you’d already heard in the animated version. There are a few changes here and there – the hyena characterisations, and the new twists on scene-stealers Timon and Pumbaa are noteworthy, and genuinely help things along. There’s a new song in the mix, too. The rest of it – honestly – is exactly the same.

The more cynical viewers out there will already be claiming that this remake is nothing short of a cash-grab. I hate to be cynical too, however – there is just no heart, no soul in this project. James Earl Jones sounds bored out of his skull to have recorded these lines again. It feels as though we’re watching take two, with very pretty graphics, and with absolutely nothing more to take home anew. The story is still great – the characters are likeable – but they’re the same, mostly, as the ones we’ve seen hundreds of times over before.

There’s also concern going around that the appeal of the visuals may be high, but there is a distinct lack of emotion on these characters’ faces. Dumbo got this spot on, but failed in other areas. Jungle Book suffered a little, but not enough for it to be an issue. Lion King 2019 is a bland, unmemorable exercise in parroting back an old script. It’s likely most millennials will have seen the original movie at least once, and if they’re like me, many, many more times. To not get anything more than a few fancy visuals and a bit of character tinkering is nothing short of disappointing.

The Lion King - Official Trailer (Walt Disney Studios)

I do hold The Lion King in very high regard as one of Disney’s finest animated features. It’s likely Disney does, too. It set tons of records, and in another blockbuster year for the brand, it’s going to be millions more in the bank. That being said, why didn’t they do something a little bit different with this idea? Aladdin was safe, yet intriguing. It expanded the story world and showed us more to Agrabah than we’d ever seen before. Sure, Lion King 2019 gives us CG renders of the Pridelands, but it does absolutely nothing else of merit.

I hate to say it – but this is a movie which will be ranking very low on my end of year lists. If you’re still interested in going to watch it, you’ll likely enjoy it – and I dare say a new generation yet to see the 1994 movie will get a lot out of it. But for everyone else, and for the sheer sake of the art form, Lion King 2019 is mind-numbingly derivative, and astonishingly smug about it. Next please.


10
shares
ShareTweetSavePostSend
 

💡 One News Page Knowledge: Other News Mentions

The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company American mass media corporation

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Sue for Invasion of Privacy, 'Outer Banks' Renewed for 2nd Season & More News | THR News [Video]

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Sue for Invasion of Privacy, 'Outer Banks' Renewed for 2nd Season & More News | THR News

Netflix renews 'Outer Banks' for another season, Disney makes changes to its theatrical release schedule amid the pandemic and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sue for invasion of privacy over illegal images that were taken of their young son.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter    Duration: 02:15Published
Disney Tightens Health and Safety Restrictions at Disney World, Downtown Disney | THR News [Video]

Disney Tightens Health and Safety Restrictions at Disney World, Downtown Disney | THR News

Disney has tightened health and safety restrictions at Walt Disney World in Florida and Downtown Disney in California.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter    Duration: 01:00Published
Disney's 'Mulan' Taken Off Theatrical Release Calendar, 'Avatar' & 'Star Wars' Release Dates Pushed Back | THR News [Video]

Disney's 'Mulan' Taken Off Theatrical Release Calendar, 'Avatar' & 'Star Wars' Release Dates Pushed Back | THR News

Disney has taken 'Mulan' off the theatrical release calendar amid the ongoing pandemic and a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter    Duration: 02:22Published

Coronavirus: Disney delays blockbuster films due to pandemic

The new Star Wars and Avatar movies are pushed back a year while Mulan is postponed indefinitely.
BBC News

Disney pulls 'Mulan' off schedule, delays 'Avatar,' 'Star Wars' a year amid COVID-19 surge

Disney's new release schedule sees big changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Mulan" has been pulled, while "Star Wars" and "Avatar" delayed one year.

USATODAY.com

Jon Favreau Jon Favreau American actor, director, and screenwriter

'The Mandalorian' Creator Jon Favreau Gives Season 2 Update | THR News [Video]

'The Mandalorian' Creator Jon Favreau Gives Season 2 Update | THR News

The creator behind the 'Star Wars' show notes postproduction is on schedule for an October launch on Disney+.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter    Duration: 01:23Published

Simba Simba Character from The Lion King franchise

Rescued lion illustrates plight of thousands of other cubs [Video]

Rescued lion illustrates plight of thousands of other cubs

Simba the lion was rescued and taken to an animal shelter in Chelyabinsk, southern Russia, but many other cubs have not been as fortunate.View on euronews

Credit: euronews (in English)    Duration: 01:20Published

Donald Glover Donald Glover American actor, musician, comedian and producer

Beyoncé Announces New Visual Album To Debut July 31 [Video]

Beyoncé Announces New Visual Album To Debut July 31

Queen Bey has announced she will be releasing a new visual album next month. According to CNN, "Black is King" will debut on Disney+ on July 31. It will be based on music from "The Lion King: The Gift," which was a soundtrack to the 2019 remake of "The Lion King". The visual album will include appearances from Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z among others.

Credit: Wochit News    Duration: 00:32Published

Chiwetel Ejiofor Chiwetel Ejiofor British actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor: The Old Guard asks the great existential questions of life [Video]

Chiwetel Ejiofor: The Old Guard asks the great existential questions of life

Star of the new Netflix action film The Old Guard Chiwetel Ejiofor speaks about the movie's probing questions on existentialism and how he was attracted to take up the role of Copley.

Credit: PA - Press Association STUDIO    Duration: 02:00Published

Billy Eichner Billy Eichner American comedian, actor, and producer

Billy Eichner: Hollywood is 'so hypocritical,' still denies LGBTQ actors opportunities

Billy Eichner opened up about LGBTQ representation in Hollywood as well as the career challenges actors can face when they come out of the closet.

USATODAY.com

John Oliver John Oliver English comedian and television host

John Oliver on Defunding the Police, 'The Mandalorian' Season 2 Update & More Entertainment News | THR News [Video]

John Oliver on Defunding the Police, 'The Mandalorian' Season 2 Update & More Entertainment News | THR News

John Oliver talks police reform on 'Last Week Tonight,' 'The Mandalorian' is still set to debut on Disney+ in October and Donald Trump is not budging on his stance when it comes to kneeling during the national anthem.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter    Duration: 02:16Published
John Oliver on Defunding the Police, Reform | THR News [Video]

John Oliver on Defunding the Police, Reform | THR News

"Ours is a firmly entrenched system in which the roots of white supremacy run deep," the host said on Sunday's show.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter    Duration: 02:26Published

You Might Like


Tweets about this

•More original news reports from One News Page