Warning: This review contains spoilers for the 2019 film “The Lion King.”
In the movie “Saving Mr. Banks,” Walt Disney tells P.L. Travers that he wants to take her to Disneyland. She responds by saying, “I cannot begin to tell you how uninterested – no, positively sickened I am at the thought of visiting your dollar-printing machine.”
While “Saving Mr. Banks” was based in the 1960s, today Disney has an entire arsenal of dollar-printing machines. This now includes their live-action remakes of classic animated films including “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Jungle Book,” “Dumbo” and the most recent film, “The Lion King.”
The original film premiered in 1994 in 2D animation and since then has become a favorite movie for an entire generation. I remember when I first got it on VHS and proceeded to watch the movie on a loop; who wouldn’t love singing along to a care-free meerkat-warthog duo?
Live-action remakes have become the bread and butter of Disney, making billions in the box office and having world-wide popularity. This did not stop me from seeing a remake of one of my favorite childhood movies. I went into this movie with the assumption that it would follow the original storyline, but I was not sure how realistic-looking animals would affect the experience.
I arrived at the theater prepared with my smuggled candy and a travel Kleenex pack for the inevitable wildebeest scene. I can now say I did not need the Kleenex, but I definitely shed a tear when the inevitable scene arrived.
The film closely followed the original script. There are a few exceptions, though. The “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” scene, which was originally shown at night, was portrayed in the middle of the day in the rendition. There was an unexpected “Beauty and the Beast” reference that I found absolutely hilarious. A few minor characters were introduced, but they did not end up changing the overall plot-line.
Since this was a live-action remake, the most obvious change was the visual quality — the scenery is absolutely stunning. Between the music and opening scene, I was left with goosebumps. The animals looked so realistic that it felt like I was watching something off of the Animal Planet channel.
However, since this movie sticks to realistic-looking animals, it’s hard to judge emotion based on the face of a lion. The emotion changes more in the voice-over and background music.
Speaking of music, the soundtrack for this movie is on point and brings back every original song with the new voice actors. I will definitely be listening to it in my car.
Overall, do not go to this live-action remake expecting a new, revitalized plotline. Simba cannot wait to be king, Scar is still evil and you do not have to worry about Hakuna Matata — it made the final cut. Instead, go to this movie to see the jaw-dropping scenery and striking realism in animal animation unparalleled by any other existing film. Go for the revival of some of our favorite songs from the original film, and of course, to see the adorable baby Pumbaa flashback.
The live action “The Lion King” was made for pure nostalgic purposes with an amazing cast and a highly realistic picture. However, if I had to choose between this and the original, I would still choose the original every time.