Reviews

Movie Title: The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and James Earl Jones
Run Time: 118 min
Year: 2019
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And so yet again Disney launches another live-action remake from their 'Renaissance Period' of the 90s. This time around viewers are treated to an adaption of the cultural icon that is 'The Lion King'. However, given the high standards that the original film set, it's easy to feel uncertain about the quality of the film.

Just like the original, the film sees Simba, a young lion ousted from his home and into exile after the death of his father and the hostile takeover of his malevolent and jealous uncle, Scar. Simba goes on a journey of self-discovery during his exile, encountering friends such as Timon and Pumba that take care of him. With this plot set in place, the film holds messages regarding the importance of family, honour and sacrifices as it's crown. Teaching it's younger viewers that the easiest thing to do may not always be the right thing to do.

Now, I am going to put it bluntly. If you are a fan of the original film, I strongly recommend that you do not watch this movie. I found this film surprisingly disappointing for two large reasons. One of which was the visual effects used to create the CGI lions of the film. While the effects are outstanding and jaw-droppingly beautiful, the direction which was taken in animating the lions, while realistic essentially rendered them emotionless and almost robotic. This is surely not helped by the stilted and almost emotionless delivery of the lines. Which is incredibly disappointing given the pedigree of this cast. Even James Earl Jones, Mufasa himself who returns to the remake sounds tired and bored, never really encapsulating the energy which he once had. The second issue is the writing of the film which uses the same cartoonish lines for a clearly darker and more Shakespearean tone. An example of this is perfectly visible in Chiwetel Ejiofor's Scar, who while a fantastic actor, struggles to match the charisma of Jeremy Irons' iteration. The best moments in this film come from Timon and Pumba, played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen respectively. Both actors have excellent chemistry with each other and manage to bring excellent comedic riffing to the table of this film, resulting in the film's finer points.

Now, while I did not enjoy this film, it is far from hot garbage. It boasts incredible CGI and stunning cinematography but it is undoubtedly more style than substance. So, that being said if you'd like to see a meaningful version of this story, watch 'Hamlet' or better yet, the original film.

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Nirek Panditha
Author: Nirek Panditha
Self professed film buff, aspiring writer and comic book geek.
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