Monday, July 22, 2019

The Lion King, 2019 - ★★★

"It's enough... to make Kings and Vagabonds... Believe the very best....." These are lyrics from Tim Rice that Elton John baked into the original 1994 animated Lion King film that helped make it such a memorable movie. Jon Favreau's CGI re-imagining of the original has it's strong suits but ultimately de-Elton's the original and with it the soul of the first film.

Can You Feel The Love Tonight is still in this film but is totally butchered with new lyrics and is played during the day time (despite TONIGHT being the title of the song). The love between Simba and Nala feels a bit forced and some of the other emotion of the original is diluted with the new CGI treatment. This doesn't mean that this remake experiment is a bad one. The movie looks AMAZING. I felt when watching it like I was watching Planet Earth on Netflix but with a more intricate storyline. This movie is a total breakthrough from a technical perspective. There really is no need for using practical real-life animals in film anymore as the CGI creatures seem 100% real at this point.

Despite the music and "soul" issues, this movie is still a joy to watch featuring high quality voice acting across the board, with Seth Rogan (Pumba) and Billy Eichner (Timon) leading the charge. It was great to hear the dulcet tones of the legendary James Earl Jones one more time as Mufasa. Donald Glover is solid as adult Simba, Chewitel Ejiofor gaves a suprinsingly nasty performance as Scar and Beyonce is well.... Beyonce as Nala.

The new song by Beyonce is not memorable, and I can only imagine what this film would have been like if they left in all the Elton John songs. It's interesting to think that one of the best movies of the year (Rocketman) brought Elton's songs to the screen again in a whole new light, while this remake stripped us of his cinematic magic.

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