The packed cinema was full of all ages and walks of life with the look of anticipation on their faces ready to relive the magic after 26 years. Jon Favreau’s The Lion King held some scene-to-scene similarities, but this version is taken into a whole new scale visually. So, was it better than the original?
Is It Like The Original?
You can tell Jon Favreau didn’t want to tarnish anything from the original movie as The Lion King 2019 preserves the original’s story arc and stays authentic to the spirit of the 1994 version. They respected the fact that they didn’t need to change a near-perfect story that has already been passed down for generations. Was it a necessary film? No, but a welcomed one certainly. There are some minor alterations like the musical number of Scar’s ‘Be Prepared’ which made for a much duller scene, but they were only slight alterations and although dissapointing didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the film.
The remake of the 1994 classic is brought to life with a technological twist and it’s breathtaking. Its real but in an escapist way which gives that warm Disney feel. There are spectacular shots of Africa with gorgeous settings from orange heud sunsets, eerie elephant graveyards, lush green rainforests and starry night skies. The film encaptures the pure majestic nature of Africa and you can tell it’s one of the most expensive films ever made and a truly amazing spectacular to witness at the Cinema.
Voice Work And Score
The films voice work was what I was most worried about. A voice that didn’t suit the characters that we loved would instantly break this film. But the films all star, once in a lifetime cast really did provide identifiable personality in each character without becoming too cartoonish or simply feeling out of place. The stand out for me was JD Mcrary who played young Simba, he really brought energy and innocence to the character and suited Simba perfectly. Seth rogan and Billy Eich were absolutley brilliant as Timon and Pumba, their great chemsitry made the banter between them hilarious and goofy and the fact a lot of their lines were improvised makes it even better, they really brought the funny duo to life.
The Lion King wouldn’t be the Lion King without it’s music. With energetic tunes like “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” which you just can’t help but sing along to (accompanied with jaw-dropping animated visuals), and Hans Zimmer’s best scoring work that is enough to give you gooosebumps. They did a great job of reviving the classic songs and turning them into a specatcle on the big screen. There are many song sequences pulled straight outta ’94 but some had slight improvements, like an expansion of the scene where Timon and Pumbaa sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight;” in which other animals join them made it a much more lively rendition.
Better Than The Original?
One problem with this remake is that these characters look like real animals. “But you said the visuals were breathtaking?” Yes, but the CGI makes the characters so realistic, that it doesnt evoke emotion. In the original, the hand-drawn animation creates the stylization of the characters. In John Favreau’s live action, the styization isn’t there. Timon’s funny lines, although hilarious due to the fantastic voice work of Billy Eichner, were not as funny as it could be as it coming from the face of an actual meerkat instead of a face that is specifically, distinctively Timon’s face.
Should You See It?
This is a breathtaking adaptation of the Lion King and certainly the best remake out there (you can find out what we thought of these live action remakes: Dumbo and Aladdin). Anyone who hasn’t seen the original and many who had will love and enjoy this. It’s an excellent animated film that will keep adults entertained as much as children (we are 20 years old), and is an effective experience that blends several emotions together, making you laugh AND sob like a baby. This version of The Lion King takes nothing away from the original movie and respects the source material so much that all it is doing is adding a whole new visual experience to a tale we hold so dear to our hearts. Definitley worth the watch.