After his father King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is murdered by evil Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), young Prince Simba is banished from the Pridelands and is presumed dead by the rest of his family. Years later, a chance encounter with an old friend forces the now adult Simba (Donald Glover) to make a choice – stay in exile or face his destiny and challenge Scar for the throne.
The photo realistic animation used to bring the animals and the varying African landscapes to life is frankly astounding – so good in fact that you will actually think what you are watching is totally real and not animated. The voice cast are also very good and the songs are still as wonderful as the 1994 original.
What didnt work:
As amazing as the animation is it has two major problems – and that is as we all know in real life animals dont express a vast range of facial emotions – and this is what happens here – meaning that you are left a bit cold as the characters faces dont express the same levels of emotions as the ones in the original version also and very tellingly it just didn’t look or feel right when they talked – see it for yourself and you will know what i mean. In addition it isnt nearly as downright hilarious as the 1994 version, yes Timon and Pumbaa (voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen) still steal the show but simply can’t match the utter lunacy that Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella brought to the characters in the original film.
Finally one has to say that its all very well having brilliant photo realistic effects but unlike The Jungle Book remake and to a certain extent this years Tim Burton directed Dumbo update, when you break it down the Lion King 2019 brings absolutely nothing new to the party and at its heart is little more than a shot for shot, line for line recycled copy of what was and remains to be one of the greatest animated films of all time. Therefore if you look it it that way this means that one must view this film very cynically – as all its purpose seems to be is to show off some fancy SFX, and make lots of money for Disney.
Review summary: Never less than enjoyable and the animation is the best you will ever see – but there is not one scrap of originality on show here.
Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek
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