The latest of Disney’s endless remakes is a new take on the 1994 classic, The Lion King. Directed by soon-to-be Disney Legend Jon Favreau, this film is rendered in photo-realistic CGI animation, which is what Favreau already did with 2016’s The Jungle Book. With a star-studded voice cast and breathtaking scenery, this remake has a lot to offer for lovers of technology or those not familiar with the original film.
As soon as the marketing for this film began in late 2018, worries that this was a shot-for-shot remake began to flood the Internet. After watching the film on Friday, I am here to report that this movie is in fact largely a shot-for-shot remake, which will bother some people and leave others indifferent. I stand somewhere in the middle because this is indeed a beautiful film to look at. It is amazing and often unbelievable to think that everything in The Lion King was created by a computer.
The voice cast also is something that makes this a worthwhile treat, with great performances all around, with the only exception being Donald Glover, who was somewhat underwhelming in the role of adult Simba. If viewing this film on its own, it would be a crowning achievement. However, this version of The Lion King owes so much to the original that it is hard to judge on its own. We have already talked about shots being repeated but much of the dialogue is often word for word the same as what has come before. The performances of the cast also owe a lot to their animated counterparts. None of this is to say that the film is bad, because it isn’t. It is emotional and charming in exactly the same way as the original. The only difference is the technology and the cast.
This begs the question: was it necessary to remake the entire film just to showcase this technology? I’m not sure it was. I love the original film and I don’t think this tops it just because of the technology, despite how beautiful it is. However, there is a lot to enjoy regardless. The songs and characters we love are back and on the big screen for a new generation to enjoy which is what Disney is all about; telling and retelling beloved stories for children as well as the child in all of us. It is worth seeing on the big screen to be part of that experience as well as this incredible technology, if for nothing else.