Lion King 2.0: Movie Review

Lion King
Lion King 2.0: Movie Review
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About the Author

Dylan J. Mayberry

Dylan J. Mayberry

Dylan J. Mayberry is an aspiring actor and has a strong passion for film. He was born in Brampton Ontario and has recently moved to Oakville. He is a graduate of Acting for Film & Television from Niagara college.

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Back in 1994 the world was given The Lion King, Walt Disney Studio’s magnum opus. An incredible film with a stellar script and charming animation. With this shot-for-shot remake, the studio doesn’t seem to catch that lightning in a bottle.

Disney kickstarted their “true to life” remake binge back in 2016 with The Jungle Book. And now in 2019, we have gotten five more with three this year.

So where does The Lion King proudly stand among the herd?

This movie has some heavy hitting strengths. Its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. Like a lion who eats everything available, it feels great at first, is absolutely enjoyable, but at the end of the day it doesn’t last.

In the Pride Lands, the mighty pride lands, the Lion reigns supreme. As the king, Mufasa welcomes his new-born son Simba into the world, his younger brother Scar plots to take the throne from him.

One fateful day Scar’s nefarious plot causes Simba to run from everything he’s every known. He leaves his home in shambles. As a full-fledged Lion, he must return to protect what was once his.

To start things off, the film is gorgeous. Disney continues to push the limits of CGI. The animals look and move as if they were real. It is like watching an authentic Savannah based documentary.

The realism is also the biggest problem. Animals simply don’t have the ability to show such a the wide range of emotions. Yes, there are ways of telling. But in a story like this, emotion is such a key element that realism can’t quite deliver.

Lion King

Photo: Disney

So much of the original story’s heart and soul is lost in the decision for realism. While it does look stunning, it also makes it hard to care about what’s happening. You can’t tell how a character is feeling.

Another facet that seems to miss the mark is the music.  The vocals are phenomenal, but it’s extremely difficult to live up to or surpass the original 1994 score.

While the songs do work contextually, the way they are changed doesn’t always feel right. Specifically, “Be Prepared” feels like a butchered husk despite the incredible presentation.

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Despite the hit or miss music. The voice acting needs to be commended. Everyone involved is incredible, from Donald Glover as an older Simba, to Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa respectively. The cast delivers.

There are two parts of The Lion King that work well, and make almost every problem with the movie just fade away. Those two parts are: Timon and Pumbaa. Somehow, when these two are on-screen, it is pure joy. These two also perform the movie’s best song.

With their presence comes the other worldly charm of the original movie, such as the Gazelles trotting to the beat of a song they are humming.  They convey character, and emotion within the realism. It is truly amazing to watch as they own every scene. This doesn’t happen enough.

The Lion King is for the fans of the original 1994 film, Disney buffs and even animal lovers. Though temper your expectations a little, as it does not quite reach the iconic status of the original.

The Lion King compared to the original film, is like a prince wishing it could be like the king. It just needs a bit of work.

The Lion King

5 out of 10

1 hr 58 Min, Musical, Adventure, Animation.

Directed by Jon Favreau.

Starring Donald Glover, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, John Oliver, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and James Earl Jones.

Now Playing at Film.ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill, and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX

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