Disney announced they were making a live action version of the Lion King in 2017, but despite their best efforts, many fans didn’t see why they had to remake the very good 1994 film. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a private showing of it with Wide Eye Media _ the main Cinema advertising company in Ireland _ at the Lisburn Omniplex, which was very spacious and was able to accommodate my wheelchair perfectly.
Having seen all 3 of the animated Lion King movies growing up, and having enjoyed all of them _ though not to the same extent _ it’s taken me a while to get all my thoughts together. But here it goes!
THE LION KING 2019 REVIEW
The opening scene is largely like what we see in the original film, but the graphics and visual effects make it a visual masterpiece! The sun rising made me feel like we were starting a new film in a good way, but like what other critics have said, I do agree that it does seam that there weren’t as many animals at the ceremony. Moving on to when we see young Simba, my first feelings were that I wanted to hug him, and I felt goosebumps right to the end of the scene.
I loved how they recreated the scene when we meet Scar, who _ despite being the bad guy _ is one of my favourite characters from the original film _ along with Zazu _ voiced in this version by John Oliver _ Rafiki _ voiced by John Kani _ and Timon and Pumbaa _ voiced in this one by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan. Knowing we’re in an age now where we want to see things from the bad guy’s perspective, I was worried Scar wouldn’t be shown as evilly as he is in the first one, but nothing from his appearance to his lines disappointed me. I know it would have been impossible for them to make him brown with a black mane, but the way they ended by making him seem more downtrodden, along with the scar, didn’t take anything away. I also loved how he actually sounded evil in all his scenes, adding more of a King Claudius vibe to him compared to the original.
I liked what they did with the hyenas, with Shenzi being the head of the pack _ as it is in the wild. I think this gave it more a real life feel compared to the original, which I think worked as a way to make this a new film compared to the first.
The Lion King is never complete without Timon and Pumbaa, and while they were voiced by different actors than in the original, I think they were just as funny, if not more so! The “We’re gonna call him Fred,” line had me laughing in my seat, and the Beauty and the Beast tribute replaced Timon’s hula in a way that worked. The only thing I didn’t like, was how ‘Be Prepared’ was almost completely scrapped.
But while I was happy with most of the film, there were still bits that disappointed me. As mentioned above, some of my favourite characters from the original movie, other than the two main lions _ are: Scar, Zazu, Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa, but while some of them _ Scar, Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa _ were taken from the original, I can’t help but feel that Zazu wasn’t done as good as he was in the original. I know others will say that this is because John Oliver is voicing him instead of Rowan Atkinson, but I feel like the Zazus in the 2nd and 3rd films were able to get him closer to the original. I agree that this Zazu isn’t a bad character, that they have got him more Hornbill like, that he is still funny, and that John Oliver does a brilliant job voicing him, but I feel like a few of the classic Zazu lines and moments were left out, despite not being offensive as far as I know. Going into the cinema to see it for the first time, I expected to see Zazu singing the morning report, but was disappointed when we never got to see it. Saying that, there were some of his other scenes when I was nearly disappointed, but the scenes were rescued with a bit of comedy in the end.
I was also disappointed with the way that the scene where Simba and Nala are running during the ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ song and don’t get on top of the animals. Saying that though, I can see why they wanted to do something different.
Also on a slight negative note, I thought there were slightly less wilder beasts, but the storyline and visual graphics made me forget about it.
On a more positive note, I loved all the songs, and all the new and recurring actors did an excellent job in recreating a modern version of an animated classic. The visual Effects are a masterpiece the whole way through, and the animals look real life despite being animated.
Overall, I would give The Lion King 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The Lion King is currently in cinemas, and is rated PG.