After much anticipation, Disney’s live action remake of “The Lion King” has finally roared into Philippine theaters.
In 1994, the animated version of “The Lion King” was released and became one of the most unforgettable films in the history of the studio. After almost 25 years, Disney has brought the film back to life (literally) with its live action version of the beloved movie.
Here’s what we think of the new Lion King movie.
Let’s start off with the casting. This iteration’s cast was simply star-studded.
James Earl Jones lends his voice to the King of the Pride Lands once again. And what a good decision that was as we don’t believe there could ever be anyone who could voice King Mufasa better. And as expected, he does so effortlessly in this version of the film. Great job (again), Mr. Jones!
Giving voice to Simba is actor Donald Glover (Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Martian). Nala, meanwhile, is voiced by none other than Beyonce herself. Both actors give justice to their respective characters. But we have to say, Beyonce was just flawless with Nala. Queen Bey deserves to rule the Pride Lands!
The most disappointing character, however, was Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Doctor Strange) as the main villain Scar. No, we’re not saying he was bad at it. Not at all. He was just…different. Maybe it’s because CGI Scar was so scary-looking we were hoping for Scar to sound more terrifying and more villain-y than he looks.
As we said, star-studded!
Other stars who lend their voices include Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), John Kani (Rafiki), Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as the film favorites Timon and Pumbaa. Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary also star as the voice of young Nala and young Simba.
Not much has changed with the plot in this remake. In fact, we don’t think they changed anything at all. It’s still the story of a young cub who couldn’t wait to be King…so on and so forth.
Some even claim that the film is just a shot-for-shot remake of the original animated version. Well, there’s some truth to that. Yes, there were some shots that are basically the same as the original. But those were the shots that are iconic and sort of trademarked already to “The Lion King” film. Director Jon Favreau would know better than to change those scenes.
Inexplicably, one of the most important things about this film, is missing. For whatever reason, we could not seem to get a lot of emotion out of this film. Maybe the CGI lions just need to go to an acting class or two?
The plot may have not changed much but expect a lot of differences in this film compared to the original version as they tried to make the film as realistic as possible and some scenes in the previous just would not make sense in real life.
Here’s the thing. The two best things in the movie are…Timon and Pumbaa!
Remarkably, in a movie whose main characters are lions, a meerkat and a warthog steal the spotlight.
Not to take anything away from the other cast but Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, who voices the characters Timon and Pumbaa, just nail it with their performances. Like Ejiofor’s Scar, they were different. But in the best possible way.
Their iconic “Hakuna Matata” song is still the funniest, most feel-good song in cinema history. Ever. And if you liked the version in the animated film, you’ll surely love the live action version even more. Hey, we’re still beaming until now because of it.
This movie would have been a lot worse if it weren’t for these two.
Next-Level Visual Effects
Perhaps the most notable thing that this film gets right is the visual effects. The Moving Picture Company, the same visual effects company who previously worked with Director Jon Favreau in 2016’s live action adaptation of The Jungle Book is once again in charge of the effects.
The result? A far more advanced and incredibly realistic spectacle! The visuals are just as accurate as it gets, we doubt there has been any kind of movie with effects that could top the ones you’ll see in this one.
In some parts of the film, it felt almost as if you are watching a National Geographic wildlife documentary. Really, it’s that good!
1994 vs. 2019
Without a doubt, the 2019 remake has achieved a major milestone in terms of realistic visual effects. The effects were just so darn real. It made sense.
While there are certainly a lot of things that the visual effects got right, it somehow falls short as to giving the movie the heart and feels, a key factor that made the original animated version unique and deeply cherished.
It’s good, but…the animated version is better…probably!
Skip or Watch?
For reasons stated above, we simply cannot put this film on top of our list. However, for the most part, it was still a pleasant movie experience. Largely thanks to Timon and Pumbaa and of course the out-of-this-world visual effects. Geez, we’ve probably praised the visual effects too much, no?
So, if those are good enough reasons for you, then please, go ahead and watch. Otherwise, you’re still going to enjoy the movie, so watch it anyway!
Here’s our rating for The Lion King live action remake.
If you haven’t watched the movie yet, head to your favorite theaters now. The Lion King is showing in Philippine cinemas starting July 17, 2019.
When you’re done watching, be sure to let us know what you think of the live action remake of “The Lion King” by leaving a comment below.
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