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The Lion King 2019 review

Posted by admin on July 19, 2019

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If you were to ask me what I listened to as a child, I would have been quick to say the soundtrack to The Lion King. It was one of the first CDs I owned and I used to annoy my parents when I asked constantly to play it again and again on car rides. By the fifth rendition of "Hakuna Matata" or "Be Prepared", my dad would be ready to throw it out. A lot like how kids today wouldn't stop singing, "Let it go" from Frozen, I was on a Disney high from The Lion King, being the right age at eight back in 1995. 

If there's a lesson to learn from current Disney, it's that if there's nostalgia, there's money to be made. I've made it clear (with the exception of The Jungle Book) that I'm not a fan of the live action remakes, but because they're box office monsters, Disney will continue making them. It's a good plan to make a billion right away, but I'm sure it'll be bad strategy in the long run. Rather then creating new nostalgia, these movies are relying on borrowed nostalgia. But who knows, perhaps the remake of The Lion King can provide something new. 

After the birth of a new lion cub Simba, the Pride Lands are overjoyed with the arrival of the future king. Current king Mufasa (played by James Earl Jones) scolds his brother Scar (played by Chiwetal Ejiofer) for not attending, but he could care less. Simba grows into a curious cub whose excited about the notion of being king, even if it means stiring up some trouble and almost getting killed by the hyenas like Shenzi (played by Florence Kasumba) and Kamari (played by Keegan-Michael Key). Though watched by Zazu (played by John Oliver), Simba can't be protected forever.

When a wildebeest stampede causes the death of Mufasa (of course with help by Scar), Simba thinks he's responsible and is encouraged to run away and never return. Simba eventually comes across meerkat Timon (played by Billy Eichner) and warthog Pumba (played by Seth Rogan) and learn about "Hakuna Matata", which means no worries. When he grows up, Simba (played by Donald Glover) lives a carefree life while Scar had taken the Pride Lands throne and desicrated the environment. Former friend of Simba, Nala (played by Beyoncé), sets out to find help and maybe find Simba to help dethrone Scar. 

Director Jon Favreau does a good job recreating the original animated classic…too closely in fact. The Lion King is so close that I might say this is a shot-for-shot remake. This makes me wonder the purpose of this. The answer is simple; money. Disney already knows their fans will return because of nostalgia, and it seems that The Lion Kingtakes the steps necessary to ensure their basically getting the same movie. It's the same songs, same locations, same character, and in some cases, most of the same lines. I couldn’t believe how lazy the film came out.

Some might already throw out, "what about the updated animation?". I'll admit the photorealistic-like animation was impressive in The Jungle Book and it's the same here. It's amazing how the animals look real and how they move and behave. It can even look like a documentary. This also creates another problem in which it explains why the original animation was better. With the hand drawn style, the characters can express emotion more and the colors really leapt off the page and into my mind. The animals now react like real animals, which means little facial expression. Even the color here seems drab (which it has to be since it's supposed to be set in Africa).

The impressiveness of the visual effect wears off after an hour and you just waiting to relive the moments from the original; the "Circle of Life" song, the stampede, the "Hakuna Matata" song, and Simba seeing his father in spirit. I know that remakes need to follow the story, but you'd think The Lion King could have taken a chance to explore other sides, like Scar's reign as king or new animals point of view. The original isn't flawless, but it now looks like a masterpiece thanks to the soulless remake he now have to live with.

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I'll give this two Scars out of five. I have a feeling that despite my complaints, this is going to earn another billion dollars t the company that's showing no end. If I had kids, I probably would have shown them the original instead. My only theory is that most kids have seen the hand drawn original and probably remember that over this one. For me, The Lion King is a "Hakuta Manada". 

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