In the last few years Disney has released live-action works of many of their beloved classics. Movies such as: Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin to name a few. Disney fans recently got a sneak peek of Mulan due to hit theaters in the spring of 2020. No matter the age there is a little bit of Disney magic in all of us.
There has been a lot of apprehension surrounding Disney’s announcement that they were turning their 1994 animated classic The Lion King into a live-action version of itself. The Lion King has been the Disney standard for years. It’s hard to deny that the animated classic is a masterpiece of art with each frame completely hand drawn. For millennial’s like myself there is a sense of nostalgia and a bit of heartache seeing the Disney that we have come to know and love change, but everything evolves and we are living in a digital world with a new generation of Disney fans. Disney must cater to a new audience but even with their evolution to a more digital world they’ve managed not to take away the magic of the classics we know and love.
All that being said, you can put that doubt and apprehension aside because the live-action Lion King roared! Its is a beautifully remastered work of art and a masterpiece of its own. The moment that sun rolled high through that sapphire sky it felt like I was being thrown right into the pride lands and the circle of life still left me with the same magic I felt in the original.
From its breathtaking visuals, the flutter of the smallest bug to the flicker of a lion’s ear, the whole film was beautifully realistic. While it may not carry the same “magic” the animated classic holds for most of us, the realism and attention to detail can not be ignored. The sites and sounds were incredible and the colors visually pleasing. Even with its new digital look the film itself did not attempt to take away anything from the original. Each frame was a retelling of the classic story we know and love.
Beyoncé who voices a grown-up Nala, partnered with Disney to help compose an original song for the film called “Spirit”. This original song was integrated flawlessly into the film and complimented its remastered look. Disney is certainly looking for Oscar gold with this score and truthfully it would be well deserved.
The one thing I was concerned with was the ability to give these characters their realistic look while also holding onto those very human personalities. It’s easy to give an animated animal character human characteristics but it can look “cheesy” to put that same concept on one that is supposed to represent real life. I found that the artists of this reboot did an excellent job of making sure that these characters kept those realistic animal characteristics however, the characters did lack emotional facial expressions specially in some of the story’s more heartbreaking moments. Many of the facial expressions came across as neutral and not representing the agony being expressed in their voices.
As far as casting, it was spot on. The King himself, James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa. It felt like a small tribute to the original and a reunion the audience deserved. Seth Rogen voicing Pumbaa and Billy Eichner voicing Timon brought this dynamic duo to life in hilarious fashion leaving me laughing the whole way through. John Oliver, the snark master himself, did an excellent job showcasing Zazu’s eccentric personality, and Chiwetel Ejiofor who voiced Scar kept me hanging on to every menacing word and action.
The live-action version of The Lion King is a visual masterpiece. While nothing can ever replace the Disney animated classic, this reboot certainly stands on its own and shouldn’t be compared to the original. This is a must-see work of art.
I hope you enjoyed this review. Let us know in the comments below your own thoughts on this Disney reboot!