Saturday July 20th, 2019 I went to see the Lion King live action remake. I liked it a lot and this is coming from a super fan of the original 1994 animated film but I did have a few things that weren’t so on point in my eyes. Lets get into it.
In 1994, Disney Animation Studios brought us the Lion King. It became the highest grossing hand drawing animated film of all time and for good reason.
In 1994, the Lion King comes out on VHS and I beg my mom to buy this movie for me at the store and she does and I watched that VHS to death! From that time on it becomes my favorite movie off all time to this day. I am a Lion King super fan!
So when I first saw they were making a live action remake of this movie I said “how? & why?” How is it going to be live action they’re animals and why are we remaking this when the original is just too good? Well we know the answer to the last question #money. Anyway so once I saw the first trailer I was like ok the visuals look incredible but will see. I saw the casting, listened to the new versions of the songs and saw the pictures of them as their characters. When the voice actors were first announced I thought it was a pretty good cast especially when they announced that James Earl Jones would be reprising his role as King Mufasa. JD McCrary & Shahadi Wright-Joseph were amazing as cub Simba & Nala. They sang “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” so great and ever since I first saw JD McCrary sing with Donald Glover at the Grammy’s two years ago I was blown away with his voice. That kid is going places! Now of course I am bias just due to being a super fan of the original movie so I love Jason Weaver who sang the original version of the song and killed it (even though he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves all the time) but they diffidently did their thing. I also really like Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Timon and Pumba as I thought their chemistry worked really well together even though Seth can’t sing but it’s all good. Their jokes especially Billy’s as Timon were very funny and had all the little kids cracking up in the theater.
There were some characters designs I was not all that thrilled about like Scar & the hyenas. The songs were not actually bad at all to me but were not as good as the originals. The biggest thing people have issues with is the way that the characters are too life like to the point that when a character is trying to give an emotional scene it just didn’t come off as good. Like after Mufasa died and Simba is suppose to be next to his dead body and really emotional because his father just died and in the cartoon he is super sad and crying with tears running down his face but in the live action version we just don’t get the same emotion because it’s a live lion cub. Also no shade at all to JD McCrary but when Scar pushes Mufasa off the cliff and cub Simba is suppose to yell “Nooooo!” he does it in a very cute & tiny way. Oh and don’t even get me started on the new version of “Be Prepared” which is total trash! They took the whole heart and soul out of the song and with the way that they changed the hyenas to be more mean and menacing then funny it totally changed the energy of the song. Now I get it we don’t need to have hyenas marching like Nazis but also we didn’t need to change what made the song great in the first place just tweak it a little. Ok so we talked about some of the smaller things in the movie now lets talk about the big ones Beyonce and Donald Glover. I actually don’t think Donald Glover did a bad job as adult Simba. He carried his own on Hukuna Matata and although a lot of folks have had issues with him on Can You Feel the Love Tonight because he doesn’t sound as great next to Beyonce I still think he did a good job. Oh and the voice acting was ok. Beyonce wasn’t as trash as I thought she would be just based on her live action acting which we all know she can’t do. Before this movie a lot of folks had issues with the way a few characters looked like Scar and Pumba. For Scar it wasn’t really the way he looked although his darker fur was important in the original movie it was his attitude. In this movie he lacks the flamboyancy that his character needs to come off menacing. I mean Scar is the number 1 top Disney villain I mean evil enough to kill his own brother with his Nazi gang of hyenas. If that’s not a great Disney villain I don’t know what is but this version is not that. He is softer spoken, the hyenas are not as funny but more menacing and I just didn’t vibe with him.
Rafiki wasn’t as funny as he was in the original but also wan’t terrible either and got the job done, same with Zuzu. Now I will say that needed to keep the Scar smacking Sarabi in the face prompting Simba to come defend her. They didn’t but they still gave us a little something. But I will say the biggest and best part of the movie was the cinematography. This movie was breathtaking! There are shots of sand dunes and the African jungle which look so real and life like. I love it!
Over all The Lion King is one of my favorite stories of all time and that 1994 version is always going to be my favorite movie of all time and I might not have loved everything about this version of the movie but I still don’t think it was complete trash.