Movie Review: Lion King (2019)

Lion King (2019)

Length: 1Hr 58

Rating: PG

Release: 19.7.2019

About: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.

The Good

  • The photo-realistic animals are breathtaking, detailed and quite simply a work of art. From the movement of the animal to tiny details all add to the magic of the story. It’s seen most powerfully when the film shows a lion’s ability to use smell. It forms a direction for the plot and gives us a look at how detailed computer technology is. There’s been criticism that the film lacks emotional impact because the animals ‘don’t emote’. This is simply not the case. They emote, but as an animal would.
  • Scar was less panto villain, more psychotic sibling with a lust for power. Even his relationship with the hyenas has changed ever so slightly, giving a darker and more desperate tone to his actions. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s voice will chill your bones in a way Jeremey Irons couldn’t.
  • Removal of anthropological behaviours of the animals brings an extra level of realism to the story. There’s no animal pyramid, no exaggerated facial expressions and Timon doesn’t walk upright. These are just a few things I can think of from the original that have been removed. I hadn’t realised, but one of my fears of a shot-for-shot remake was these conceits would remain and clash even more so with the realism.
  • The scenes that are meticulously recreated are not there out of laziness but an acknowledgement of the legacy it was taking on. The opening is one example, but the one I want to draw on is the stampede. On first glance it might seem derivative. However, what we have to remember is that the part in which the animals go over the lip and into the ravine was the Studios shining moment; it used the top technology to produce and it’s where we can see so very clearly how far they’ve come.
  • The songs have lost their show tune grandure and become much more integrated into the the characters and the storytelling. My favourite is still Be Prepared and I’m glad they kept it despite their misgivings.
  • Timon and Pumba shine as the comedy double act. They’ve again shed their Broadway perfect personas. Instead we have a conversational and down to Earth odd couple.

The Bad

  • While it isn’t something that bothered me overly, some may find there are perhaps one too many identical/ shot-for-Shot scenes or that the changes are too minimal. I personally didn’t like the stylised cloning of the iconic ‘fall’ scene, but it’s only a niggle.
  • I actually don’t like the story. I never have. It’s Hamlet with a somewhat happier ending and I really don’t like Hamlet.

The Ugly

  • Everyone’s a critic. The irony is not lost on me, I promise. I’m just as guilty as others. Currently, LiongKing (sic) is trending on social media and people are upset certain scenes aren’t there. At least this is something that was said after viewing the thing. However it’s not been the case for some other opinions.
  • So many people have already decided what they thing of the project without giving it a chance. From casting choices, to ‘Pumba looks scary and ugly’. As I said, I was also guilty of this. I was rather miffed when I discovered the mighty Mufasa would still be voiced by Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones. I couldn’t help but think ‘why, what’s the point.’
  • I was incredibly wrong. His voice has changed, it reflects age and wisdom while tying together the animated and ‘live’ action. It was a stroke of genius.

Final Thoughts

It’s a beautiful film that needs to be seen on the big screen. It’s not the sing along classic, but something more enchanting.

Love Han x

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Lion King (2019)”

  1. Oh Hannah my love, we do need to get back in touch with each other.

    I’m so glad you’ve kept this going. Your critiques have grown in style and substance. You also have some wonderful comparisons and passion for the media which has been lost from some of the mainstream critics for quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

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