'The Lion King' (2019) Review

Updated on July 30, 2019
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The Lion King is a 2019 musical film directed and produced by Jon Favreau, written by Jeff Nathanson, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney's traditionally animated 1994 classic of the same name. The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, as well as James Earl Jones reprising his role from the original film. The film was Assisi scored by Hans Zimmer.

Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub's arrival. Scar, Mufasa's brother and former heir to the throne, has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is soon ravaged with betrayal, tragedy, and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba's exile. Now, with help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba must figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

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The 2019 live action remake (kinda) of the 1994 animated classic The Lion King was just as I expected. It was practically shot for shot exactly the same. They didn't do anything even remotely original. The film is nowhere near as good as the original, but this is actually the first Disney live action remake that actually disappointed me.

I loved the remakes of The Jungle Book and Pete's Dragon. I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast for what it was, and I thought Aladdin was a fun, if not great film. However, this film really did nothing for me. From the beginning I was uninvested, and I felt little to nothing. That surprised me because the original was a tour of emotions. You were laughing and crying with characters throughout the film.

I thought it was a very rushed and lifeless film. Mufasa and Scar get their famous scene 45 minutes into the film, but I was sure no more than 10 minutes had passed. Maybe it's because I've seen the original so many times, but this film kinda felt like a summary. It seemed as if the writers had the original screenplay and summarized the main idea of each scene, and spiced it up by changing a few lines of dialogue here and there.

One thing I can say great about this film was the CGI. On a technical level, this film was near perfect. This is Avatar level innovation. It was a beautifully crafted world full of beautifully crafted creatures. Visually speaking the film was stunning. John Favreau was the perfect man for the job.

Another thing I like was the score. You can't go wrong with Hans Zimmer. However, the score was practically from the original. You can hear a few changes here and there, but it's mostly the same.

Those were two great things, but the negatives certainly outweigh the positives. The characters all lacked life. They just refused to show emotions. I don't know if it was technologically unavailable or if they were going for realism, but it really took me out of the film.

Something else that annoyed me personally was some of the dialogue, and the way it was said. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that I know the original line for line, but when the dialogue changed it was usually worse. The characters put emphasis on certain words in the original, but here you don't get any of it. In the original, you could hear the roar in Mufasa's voice, you could hear the evil in Scar by the way he said certain things, you can hear the deception when he talks to Simba, but here it feels like they're just reading their lines.

In the end it's not a bad film. It follows the original beat for beat, and with the original being so great, this film could only be so bad. It's fun, funny, and charming at times, but it wasn't enough to pull this film out of mediocrity.

I didn't feel the full effect of the relationships in this film. The film also wasn't as lively as I would've wanted. Overall, this felt like a stale attempt to recapture the magic of the original animated film.

I found the 2019 live action remake of The Lion King to be an OK yet very disappointing film.

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The voice acting was solid and was the least of this film's problems. Donald Glover was great as Simba, and I loved hearing James Earl Jones's iconic voice again. I've heard some people criticize Beyonce's performance, but I thought she was fine.

Seth Rogan, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver were all great in their respective roles. They offered some good comic relief. I thought Seth Rogan in particular was great and perfectly cast.

The only real problem I had was with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. He's an actor that I love and he doesn't give a bad performance here, but Jeremy Irons made Scar his character. When I think of Scar, all I can hear is Jeremy Iron's voice, so hearing someone else just felt a little off. I wonder why Disney didn't just have him reprise his role.

The voice acting was solid, but none of the animals showed any facial emotions. I think voice acting can only go so far when you have such emotionless characters.

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The plot of the film is pretty much what you'd expect. With the exception of maybe two scenes, it's exactly the same as the original.

One of the scenes added I didn't particularly like. It was basically Scar trying to marry Sarabi. I thought it was a little weird, and definitely unneeded. The other scene added was of Nala escaping Pride Rock. It really wasn't needed, and it didn't add much to the story.

Other than that, the plot was fine. There really weren't any more changes.

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Overall, I thought the film was fine. When you remake a nearly perfect film, the film can only be so bad. This film wasn't bad, just disappointing. The only thing this film did great was the visuals and CGI.

If you love the original and just want to see it more technologically up to date, then this film is for you. It's not a bad film. In fact, it's a good film, but when you remake something that's already near perfect, you can't improve on it. This means the film will be worse, and this film is worse than the original.

If I had to choose this one or the animated version, I'm picking the animated one 9 out of 10 times. The only way I see myself watching this film again is purely for the visuals.

The 2019 live action remake of The Lion King was a good but disappointing film that doesn't recapture the magic from the original animated classic.

3 stars for The Lion King (2019)

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Royce Proctor

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      • Royce Proctor profile imageAUTHOR

        Royce Proctor 

        2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        @Rachel M Johnson

        Yeah, unless you have kids who haven't seen the original, or you purely want to see the visuals there really isn't any reason to watch this film.

      • Rachel M Johnson profile image

        Rachel M Johnson 

        2 months ago

        I have yet to see the remake and shockingly I’m in no hurry to. I enjoyed reading your review because like so many others, you felt it lacked the heart of the original. Sounds like the creators could have put a creative and unique spin on it somehow and failed to do so.

      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 months ago

        At least we have the original to go back to. Hopefully Disney learns from this so they can produce films with original stories like Moana.

      • Royce Proctor profile imageAUTHOR

        Royce Proctor 

        2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        @ Michael Truluck

        Yeah I thought the film was very disappointing, and going photorealistic wasn't the best choice.

      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 months ago

        I completely agree with everything you said! Only good things to me were the visuals and the music. Copying an animated movie almost word for word is just lazy to me and the lack of emotion on the animals due to everything being photo realistic made this film doomed from the start. Great review!

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