(This is The Lion King film review, which is a remake of the 1994 film with the same name, except with a photorealistic CGI visual)
Man, it’s been more than two decades since that classic film that has touched the hearts of millions or even billions. And now it’s back in the form of The Lion King, with the exact same name.
I must say beforehand, that this review will be filled with some nostalgia, as I’m a big fan of the original film even to this day. So the review will be a bit different from usual, but I will make sure to be as impartial as possible.
Now, then, the director and voice actors have mostly changed. It’s directed by Jon Favreau, who is famous for his appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as Happy Hogan. The new voice actors are Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.
Only James Earl Jones returns to voice Mufasa, Simba’s father. Without further ado, let’s see if this remake can capture the magic of the original in The Lion King film review below!
When the son of a King has witnessed his father’s death indirectly caused by him, he fled his hometown. But when his home, the Pride Lands, is being taken over by his evil uncle, could he rise up to challenge him and unshackle himself from his past?
The Lion King Film Review
The premise is essentially the same as the original 99% of the time with some minor changes. So, I will not comment much here. The original premise is already very good, and this film rehashes it almost scene by scene.
I feel that it should not be a 99% remake with just graphic differences
So, I would say that while I’m glad they want to stay faithful to the source material, I would love to, at least, see some modern changes to the film that is applicable to the current times. I feel that it should not be a 99% remake with just graphic differences, when there’s so much they can do with this remake to tell a story or give newer messages.
I get their concerns of trying to keep the great premise intact, for appealing to us old fans that are now adults. So, this department receives an okay from me. A great shout out to show how great the original premise is, but a disappointment to how this remake fails to create any new changes to the story.
Pacing seems to be more rushed than the original. I feel that they skip or fast forward certain parts, which makes some of the slower intimate moments feel less impactful. This is especially so when comparing with the original, where we can see the characters’ genuine moments in the slower quieter scenes.
Visually, it’s stunning and the graphic is indeed reflecting the current visual standard with its photorealistic CGI. But it’s also its own weakness, as it is encroaching to the uncanny valley that I’m afraid spoils a lot of the great moments.
Take, for example, the facial expressions from the original animated film, where we can tell if they are happy, sad or angry just from the look and body languages. All of those are mostly lost here, when they try to create realistic lion, but such creatures can’t show enough facial expression changes compared to cartoons or human faces.
Then, because of this, we can only feel a bit of their emotion through the dialogues, spoiling the common concept of ‘show, don’t tell’ of filmmaking. I have to admit that some scenes are still pretty impactful, but it’s only thanks to them recreating the original animated scenes one for one. This film is the perfect case to show that great graphics do not make a great film by itself.
And because it’s kept realistic, some of the memorable exaggerated moments in the cartoon is completely lost
And because it’s kept realistic, some of the memorable exaggerated moments in the cartoon is completely lost. This applies mostly to Timon and Pumba, where their jokes will fall quite flat when we took out those funny exaggerated scenes with their faces or body expressions.
Though, for the environmental design, I have to really applaud them for recreating the Africa scenes and atmospheres. But now it feels like watching wildlife episodes from National Geographic Wild or Discovery Channel, except infused with drama and dialogues from the animals.
Characters are unchanged from the original, except with additions of some minor characters during the Hakuna Matata moments. So, I will now say the truth OUT LOUD. The characters themselves are pretty decent, just like back in the original film. But now an important and memorable character has received less screentime and impact – The Mandrill Rafiki, the wise monkey.
Now he appears for like less than 10 minutes in the whole film. His scenes are reduced greatly from a memorable character that teaches life lesson to Simba, to just a monkey who is there to appear suddenly and quite rushed to teach Simba to find himself.
This is very disappointing for me, as I used to remember that scenes where he tells Simba to look in the water reflection, but now it feels rushed and just become another part of a normal scene, minus the impact.
The minor characters are too minor to make any impactful changes, though I appreciate that they include them to make it seems more natural. But overall, it’s quite disappointing when the characters are virtually unchanged, and their scenes are limited in impact due to the realistic graphic. In a sense, they lose the human touch that makes us love the original so much.
The voice acting is pretty good actually, and they help to make this film as decently good as possible. At least they tried hard. That Mufasa still sounds dayum Kingly!
Soundtrack is probably the only redeemable factor here. They are still excellent, and sends tears to my eyes when the Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel the Love Tonight plays. These are classics and forever will be. They save this film from an ultimate CGI uncanny valley disaster.