Disney’s 13th Live-Action remake The Lion King is a magnificent watch. It takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions and reincarnates your love for the 1994 original. Four years after his fantastic work with ‘The Jungle Book’ adaptation, Jon Favreau has once again excelled as a director. However, this time, he has derived superb voice-acting from his star-studded cast without any live actor. His great attentiveness to detailed photo-realism, fluidity in editing, and precise balance in the sense of humor has turned this remake into the best Disney has ever produced.
This is a frame by frame remake of the original. Hence, the story is entirely similar. Though, it barely compromises on the entertainment value, precisely for those who don’t prefer experiencing the same story a second time. Although, if you go expecting a broadly different retelling of the animated original, you will be disappointed.
Even two decades and a half later, The Lion King remains the most child-friendly stories every written, encapsulating many life lessons. The makers of this movie appear to be respecting that, and hence, wholly refrain from making any alterations. What has been amended, though, are the dialogues.
The original had humor best suited for children. This film includes jokes that are more fitting for adults. Hence, you might hear more laughs coming from the parents instead of their kids.
An Immersive Experience Like No Other
The Lion King captures the magic of the original so well that you will remain glued to the screen from start to finish. The hyper-realistic CGI and sound effects transport you to Pride Rock and its lush surroundings. It is hard to believe the scenery is all CG and not a documentary.
Photorealism is breathtaking as every bird and animal appear life-like. Complaints can be made for how the animals lack the extensive emotiveness of the animated film. It is, however, crucial to understand that real animals don’t make cartoonish faces. Again, it can be a bummer for those, mainly the kids, who want Timon and Pumba to be as eccentric as their animated versions.
The film should be rightfully watched in an IMAX theatre. It is the finest CGI tech you will be experiencing since James Cameron’s Avatar. Each time an animal sprints, speaks, or roars -it feels authentic. The 3D also is crystal clear. I cannot say about the brightness and clarity in standard 3D cinemas, but on IMAX, this is a remarkable experience.
Identical Music. Excellent Singing. Great Diversity.
The most significant up-gradation in this version of The Lion King is the casting. Black artists do the majority of the singing and voice acting, and it is a welcoming change. Chiwetel Ejiofor impresses the most as Scar. He showcases an array of emotions which his character demands, and his excellent dialogue delivery makes the aftermath of the stampede sequence all the more impactful.
Among the singers, Beyonce and Danny Glover are fabulous in Can You Feel the Love Tonight. The representation of this song has also been re-imagined, and it is stunning to watch.
The crowd-favorite song ‘Hakuna Matata,’ however, is sung by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, and they manage to infuse the same delight as the original.
The Lion King is the most spectacular family film to grace cinemas in a long, long time. It recaptures the original’s charm and ardency and turns out to be another massively successful film for Disney, with an insane first weekend global gross of $531 Million.
The naysayers will bash Bob Iger for making another cash grab and not churning out something new. I agree with them, but I don’t mind watching an identical remake that’s this much transcending in technology.
Instead, I suggest Disney take bold risks with the shitload of money they will make by remaking the originals (if they are this much good!). Now that’s the right balance for a studio.
Go for it. Hakuna Matata!