Action & AdventureAnimation
In 2 Cinemas
A ready plot, script, and guaranteed viewership, who wouldn’t make this movie? Just add a couple of new songs and flaunt your realistic CGI, and the nostalgia is reason enough for viewers to watch. But that does not mean the outcome is a good film, and that is the case with the new Lion King, asking the question of when will the childhood ruining stop?
The new “live-action” version of the iconic Disney classic did not change the plot of the feature in any noticeable manner, except for a couple of new songs that were added to the picture. The latest rendition also kept James Earl Jones to voice Mufasa, which was a very wise choice as his vocal performance is the most iconic in the animated classic.
What the feature obviously changed was the animation; the film is not exactly a live-action, but instead a photorealistic CGI animation of the animals and their surroundings. The CGI is meticulously realistic and detail-oriented, making the characters and Pride Land seem as real as possible, but this is exactly the problem.
Real is not exactly magical, especially when it comes to portraying an animal that realistically won’t mimic human facial expressions or visually express needed emotions. The result is characters with straight faces and vacant eyes, which takes away the heart of the previously deeply heartfelt plot. Even the iconic scene where Simba discovers his father’s death is just bland, cold, and utterly wrong.
Yes, the voice cast did a great job, but what are audiences supposed to do? Close their eyes and listen to the movie instead? Some audience members have actually tried that.
The CGI is so realistic that the film seems like an orchestrated documentary with a cartoonish voiceover. Also, some characters that should appear endearing instead appear somewhat scary, especially Pumba and to a lesser extent Timon. Scar is also not nearly as charming as he used to be in the original version, which is especially disappointing since he is one of the most iconically charismatic villains in animation history.
If you watched the original animated classic (or watched it so many times you know it by heart), you will find your mind playing the original version in your head in a desperate attempt to retain the memory of the one true Lion King.
For the voice acting, Donald Glover voiced Simba and did an okay job, but did not nearly live up to Mathew Broderick’s performance in the original. Beyoncé voiced Nala and her vocal performance blended in the film nicely, especially when it came to the songs. Voicing Scar was Chiwetel Ejiofor who put effort into the performance, but was definitely not aided by the emotionless CGI, the overall new look of the character, and the giant shoes to fill. Seth Rogen voiced Pumba, and it will take anyone in the audience two seconds to recognise his distinctive voice. While Rogan’s performance portrayed effort and humour, his voice is just so unique that you forget about the character and start imagining Seth Rogan saying the lines.
If you truly love The Lion King, avoid the temptation to watch this movie and spare yourself the ruining of a childhood favourite.