Directed by: #JonFavreau
Film Review by: #BradyClark
This was the true test of Disney’s live-action remakes ‘experiment’. A childhood film precious to almost everyone born over a ten-year-span, and then some.
Although Favreau delivered with 2016’s The Jungle Book, everything since has been fairly lifeless in mediocre attempts to recreate success that #Disney found in the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo and Aladdin throughout the 90s.
To risk The Lion King was brave…
But Favreau delivers in a superb display that invokes just the right amounts of nostalgia, repetition and modernisation. The CGI has been upgraded from the (still impressive) Jungle Book and does nothing to take away from the heart of a much-loved original.
It won’t win everyone over – some will say not enough is different (it is undoubtedly a near-enough scene-for-scene remake), and some will say it is too different because of the script updates.
But there is a balance there. The casting was very important. No one else could have voiced Mufasa other than James Earl Jones. But the flexibility in the other roles was cleverly navigated. Standout performances include John Oliver as Zazu (although he doesn’t sound a million miles away from Rowan Atkinson’s original) as well as Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as double-act Timon and Pumba. Much of the updated script is included here, and it works in providing some truly hilarious moments – ‘he gained 400 pounds since we started this song’.
The music is equally impressive and really benefits from the return of an Elton John/Hanz Zimmer collaboration as well as the inclusion of Donald Glover and Beyoncé, whose rendition of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" will make you want to cheer in the middle of the cinema.
The debate of whether these remakes are necessary will continue for as long as they are made – it looks like The Little Mermaid will be next, given the recent casting updates – and the fence is where most people sit currently. The Lion King doesn’t tarnish the original, but rather gives us a gentle reminder of what was so great about the Shakespearian-esque Disney triumph.
Watch the July 2019 movie trailer for The Lion King.