After the success of one successful live-action adaptation of a Disney animated film called The Jungle Book, filmmaker Jon Favreau moved onto the next biggest project: The Lion King.
This summer’s hit musical proved a difficult feat, and in this article, we review the 2019 film featuring an all-star cast. Note that this not labeled as non-spoiler or spoiler. If you do not know anything about The Lion King or the original 1994 film, watch them now and get educated on objectively one of the best Disney films of all time.
For quite a while now, Favreau’s direction was pretty clear that he wanted to recreate the hit animated film to look more life-like. It has been argued that it was probably too life-like and that emotions coming from real looking animals would be hard to express as opposed to from animated ones. This is true, although there are some moments that succeed in this aspect.
The director’s main aim is to recreate not just the look of the film but the story as well. There isn’t much that’s new to it, but the plot points are on point. From young Simba and Nala ditching Zazu to explore dangerous territory to Simba’s “Hakuna Matata” performance with Timon and Pumbaa, to the poignant scene that everyone is scared but anticipating to see, the film sticks true to the source material.
Favreau nearly excels in direction, and it would be great to see what he does in the live-action release of The Mandalorian, which is set to premiere on the Disney+ streaming service that releases later this November.
The cinematography is pretty good. There are a lot of good shots throughout The Lion King, such as most of what’s in the film. Not much can be said about this aspect, and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel only goes so far in replicating all the best parts about the original film. For example, looking up at the stars to the lions’ ancestors is hard to pull off.
In terms of acting, Donald Glover’s Simba, Seth Rogen’s Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner’s Timon steal the show after the young lion cub flees Pride Rock. Their interactions with one another are to die for. Rogen’s infamous laugh and Glover (or rather, Childish Gambino)’s grand singing are notably the highlights of the film. You really have to get absorbed in the film and its characters to get a feel for what’s going on. Singer Beyonce is in this, but we don’t get enough of her and character Nala like we do in the original film.
The Lion King has audiences laughing and crying and gasping at almost every moment.
The development of the film’s character is spot on. Simba takes the spotlight from beginning to end. The same can be said about the film’s plot. It adds some new characters and lines of dialogue, but it doesn’t take away from the final cut.
Overall, The Lion King does a splendid job at exhibiting what most of the world loved about the original, but it’s difficult to tackle every element that the animated 1994 film succeeded at. The film gets more depth as we go from the original movie’s 1 hour and 28-minute runtime to a new 1 hour and 58-minute runtime, but we barely feel the difference. The thing about Disney remakes is that the length that one goes to recreating a well-known story can be limited, but if you try to go beyond a certain point, people raise some questions and doubts about what could be done. The film’s plot teaches us that life happens, but we get to choose own destiny.
The 2019 computer-animated version of The Lion King gets an 8.1 out of 10. The film is worth the hype if you’ve been a fan of the original film and/or Disney films in general. Otherwise, this might not be for you.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Let us know! The Lion King is in theaters this weekend. For more Disney-related news and reviews, follow The Cinema Spot on Twitter (@TheCinemaSpot) and Instagram (@thecinemaspot_).