Movie Reivew: "The Lion King" (2019)

Updated on March 31, 2020
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

The Lion King (2019) 4K blu-ray cover.
The Lion King (2019) 4K blu-ray cover. | Source

Quick Info

Director: Jon Favreau
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Runtime: 008 minutes
Released: October 22, 2019
Availability: on 4K blu-ray, blu-ray, DVD, and digital, streaming on Disney+

Story Summary

Simba is the chosen lion that will rule over the Pride Lands as the Lion King. As a cub, he decides to disobey his father Mufasa and go to the Elephant Graveyard which has unintentional consequences that affect the pride and the Pride Lands.

This Is an Unimaginative Remake of a Fantastic Disney Film

The Lion King (2019) is a remake that didn’t need to happen. There is nothing wrong with the original film that warranted it being remade in the first place. Because of the financially successful live-action remakes of Cinderella, Maleficent, a remake of Sleeping Beauty with a villain protagonist, and Beauty and the Beast, they see their live-action films as cash cows to keep their copyright on the animated versions of the animated films.

While many of the live-action Disney remakes are well received, The Lion King (2019) is the remake that has received mixed reviews since it came out.

Is it just critics having Disney fatigue or is it the movie’s flaws that make them dislike it? I’ll go into that in this review.

There are some good things about this movie but I didn’t like it compared to the original animated film.

The Lion King (2019) Official Trailer

The Visuals Look Good but There’s No Emotional Expression

The visual effects for The Lion King (2019) are amazing. There’s no doubt they’re visually stunning. The realistic graphics may look amazing, but then you notice how strange it looks because you have voice actors talking with realistic looking animals while the animals’ mouths don’t move to match what they’re saying.

Animals can be very expressive but none of the animals used realistic ways animals express themselves in the movie doesn’t reflect actual animal behavior.

It looks very photo-realistic but lacks imagination and personality of the original Lion King(1995).

It’s nice to look at, but there isn’t much because a lot of movies have great visual effects these days.

The problem is the uncanny valley because it looks real, but my brain knows it’s not real. It just looks unemotional and unnatural because of the use of animalistic mouth movements that don’t match what they’re saying on screen.

It looks nice but I think the movie itself is held back by the animators’ desire to stick to being as realistic as possible. The animated movie was fantastic because it was lively and imaginative. The live-action remake is dull and uninspired.

The Voice Actors Are Just Celebrities Talking Into a Microphone

There are a lot of celebrity voice actors in this live-action remake and they’re very famous people but all of them just sound like the actor talking into a microphone.

The performances are just average and no one stands out as a great performance. Seth Rogan somehow managed to sing the iconic “Hakuna Matata” off-key in the movie!

The rest of the cast isn’t memorable either, not even some of the celebrity voice talent can save this movie from sounding like they’re just talking into a microphone and not really voice acting.

No one stands out in the voice cast for this movie. The voice acting is mediocrely done by celebrities that aren’t used to voice acting.

I didn’t like the voice cast that much and no one stood out for giving an outstanding vocal performance. They were all there just to get paid and it came out in their vocal performances.

The stunning visuals don't make up for the lack of life and emotion in the CGI animals.
The stunning visuals don't make up for the lack of life and emotion in the CGI animals. | Source

The Lion King (2019) - Circle of Life | Opening Scene | Clip (English Version)

The Soundtrack Is the Highlight of the Movie

Hans Zimmer’s musical score is one of the few highlights of the “live-action” CGI remake. It’s still as wonderful and majestic as the animated film. It is a great score, but you have heard it already so it’s not like there’s anything new that is memorable about the music compared to the animated film.

The musical score is nice to listen to but it’s not anything unique that makes it stand out compared to the original movie.

The singing isn’t memorable either, with Seth Rogan somehow singing “Hakuna Matata” off-key during the number. None of the other musical numbers stand out either.

The visuals look alright but make you feel that you’re watching some weird documentary rather than a live-action version of The Lion King.

The visuals are too abnormal and your brain can tell that it’s not “real” even though it looks real. The Uncanny Valley happens too often in this film for me to enjoy it from a visual standpoint.

The Story Changes Aren’t Amazing

The story changes in The Lion King (2019) aren’t impressive or amazing. The changes don’t add anything new or memorable for the story. The additions are only there to pad the film’s runtime and that’s all.

I feel these add-ons are unnecessary and don’t enhance what was there from the first film. It’s completely pointless.

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It looks amazing but it lacks the heart and emotion of the original.  Even the voice acting is phoned in.
It looks amazing but it lacks the heart and emotion of the original. Even the voice acting is phoned in. | Source

It’s Only Worth a Rental or Borrowing From Your Local Library

I did not enjoy this movie. It was such a chore to watch and wasn’t very enjoyable at all. It felt like the entire voice cast was there to collect a Disney paycheck rather than them being excited about this film.

This film is the most soulless cash grab that I have seen in a while; even the live-action version of Aladdin (2019) had more heart and love from the cast and crew than this live-action adaptation.

The Lion King (2019) is a movie that relies on your nostalgia for The Lion King (1995) and the original was the best version of the story. The remake tries too hard to be good and it sounds phoned in instead of sounding fresh and doing something different with the live-action remake.

Quick Summary

What Works:
What Doesn't Work:
Amazing CGI visuals
The voice acting is phoned in
Lovely soundtrack
The CGI makes the animals look very strange and you can see the Uncanny Valley in the visuals

My Grade: D-

I did not enjoy The Lion King (2019) at all. It was an uninspired film that was just a cash grab by Disney because they had been on a roll with successful live-action remakes of their classic animated films.

This film isn’t really worth your money unless you do a digital or Red Box rental. I didn’t have to pay for it because I got it free from my local library. It is also on Disney+ if you are paying for their streaming service.

It as a boring, uninspired mess that was only there to cash in on your nostalgic feelings towards The Lion King (1995). It’s visually stunning until you notice how weird the lions look and notice how they don’t behave like real animals even though they look like real animals.

The voice acting is uninspired and everyone feels like they’re just doing this for the paycheck. It was a boring chore to watch this movie. I do feel like I wasted my time when I could watch the better version of this story. At least I got money out of this review, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time for me to watch this movie. I had hoped it would at least be a good remake, and it failed to even be a good movie, let alone a good remake of a fantastic movie.

It is not worth your time to watch this film or buy it; if you want to rent it at least do a cheap Red Box rental if you can’t get a copy of this movie from your local library.

It was a boring mess that banked too much on nostalgia and realistic animation and lacks the imagination and creativity of the original animated classic that is loved by millions of Disney fans.

This movie is just plain bad and it is not worth it to watch unless you just feel that you have to see how it turned out. I am happy I did not spend money on this movie because I would want my money back if I did.

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