The Lion King (Live Action Remake) Is an American musical film directed and produced by Jon Favreau, written by Jeff Nathanson. The film is a photorealistic computer-animated version of the 1994 animated film of the same name.
The Lion King, follows the same story as the original, with some minor differences. It’s done in a way that adds to the film without forcing any unnecessary changes. In the Pride Lands of Africa, a pride of lions’ rule over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock. King Mufasa’s and Queen Sarabi’s newborn son, Simba is presented to the gathering animals by Rafiki the mandrill, the kingdom’s shaman, and advisor. Scar, Mufasa’s younger brother covets the throne, and plots with his army of hyenas to kill Mufasa and Simba and claim the throne.
Seeing life-like animals speak is already strange, however, it’s not as strange as you think. The animated version was fine because the facial expressions were animated in a cartoon way. Since this is a photorealistic film director Jon Favreau wanted the film to feel as real as possible, leaving no room for dance numbers. Seth Rogen (Timon) and Billy Eichner (Pumbaa) were exactly as you’d expect. They both were able to fully capture the comical essence that Timon and Pumbaa are. They steal every single scene they are in. Donald Glover (Adult Simba), did a much better job at his voice performance than what some critics are saying. There were some moments where he could have performed better however overall, he did a great job. Beyonce (Adult Nala) was Favreau’s top choice for the character, she outperformed every person singing of course, and her voice acting wasn’t bad either.
Eric Andre (Azizi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), and Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) voiced the hyenas. Some people may have preferred the goofier versions of the hyenas, however, the new hyenas were more scary than funny, and they didn’t even make fun of Mufasa’s name.
The film used a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality to film The Lion King. CGI technology and motion capture helped to create realistic movements with life-like computer-generated animals on screen making the world of the Lion King look and feel real. The entire film was a treat to look at. It even takes time to enjoy these wonderful views of the land. The lions looked real, they behaved as actual lions would. The film overall was stunning thanks to the Moving Picture Company, who also provided the visual effects for The Jungle Book.
Although capturing CGI land isn’t hard with cameras, someone has to have an eye of what looks good and what doesn’t. The Pride Lands were captured perfectly.
Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and Beyoncé all contributed to the music for the film. Hans Zimmer did the original score for the 1994 animated film. Elton and Beyoncé worked together to produce the soundtrack. Beyoncé also released a special film-related album titled The Lion King: The Gift, that is available right now. While the score is forgettable, the musical numbers are what matters here, and although they do not deliver the same theatrical dance numbers as the animated versions, the film does its best to bring it without it looking too ridiculous for a live-action photorealistic film.
Jon Favreau once again was able to deliver a true to story remake of a classic tail without changing too much for a live-action version.
I could watch this film again once it is released on video, one time in the theater is enough to get the full scope of the film. Everyone should at least see this movie once in the theaters.
The Lion King is a great movie, it still has its emotional connection with audiences. Although there were some moments where it unnecessarily dragged far too long (You will know it when you see it) I enjoyed the visuals, and the life-like atmosphere felt like it breathed and lived throughout the movie. Watching it did make me miss the animated version because I liked the musical numbers and how they were visualized in the 1994 film. Since the live-action version was limited to how much they could do with the animal’s movements while keeping it feeling realistic, the musical scenes just didn’t have the same effect when the music and singing started.
Total Score: 9/10