The onslaught of live-action remakes of all of the Disney classics continues. Where there was once “super hero fatigue” after the 10+ years of Marvel and DC movies, there may now be Disney fatigue. I was a bit skeptical with the remake of The Lion King, as a 90’s kid, it was one of my favorite movies while growing up. Similar to Alladin, there are some performances that couldn’t and sometimes shouldn’t be duplicated, i.e. Robin Williams’ role as the Genie. Since my expectations were set pretty low, my hopes were high that the remake of The Lion King would be in good hands under the direction of Jon Favreau. Holy nostalgia, Batman! The remake is nearly shot-for-shot the same as the original, and stays true to the original story. With the return of the iconic James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala, and the comedic relief from Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan as Timon and Pumba, the cast did not disappoint. Favreau’s ability to capture the original feel and emotions from the classic 1994 version was refreshing, while giving it a little modern twist to keep us OG fans on our toes. The one complaint I have is that they reduced and nearly buried the iconic song as originally performed by Jeremy Irons (as the protagonist Scar) “Be Prepared” to make room for another original song that wasn’t in the 1994 version. While Chiwetel Ejiofor did an excellent job taking on the role as Scar, that song was my favorite from the original and it was a little disappointing that it wasn’t given the same tribute as the rest of the film. Overall, I was very entertained and impressed with the CGI recreation of the African animals. There were times that they seemed very real.
On another note, while The Lion King is a kids movie, it may be frightening to some younger kids. I understand parents think that bringing children 5 years and younger to a Disney movie would make sense, but this movie is loud and the visuals can be scary. As demonstrated by the handful of screaming and crying children. Fortunately, the sound was loud enough to drown them out most of the time, but after a climactic scene and everything was quiet, I felt like I was in a maternity ward with all the screaming and crying kids. If your kids can’t sit still or be quiet through a 2 hour movie, please refrain from bringing them to the theater. It ruins the experience for the rest of us.
All in all, thumbs up! You’ll enjoy this dose of nostalgia.