REVIEW: The remake of The Lion King is close to a shot for shot remake of the 90s version

PUBLISHED: 11:13 26 August 2019

The Lion King

The Lion King


Hot on the heels of Dumbo, and following a long line of ‘live action’ remakes, Disney turns its attention to another of its timeless classics The Lion King.

Hot on the heels of Dumbo, and following a long line of 'live action' remakes, Disney turns its attention to another of its timeless classics The Lion King.

Jon Favreau, director of the 2016 live action version of the jungle book, takes the helm alongside a stellar voice cast including the likes of Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Seth Rogen.

Unlike the other recent Disney remakes, this is not strictly Live action, as the film features no human actors. It has instead been described as photo realistic animation. A term that is well earned.

The CGI is so meticulously detailed that it bears more resemblance to a live action nature documentary than an animated film.

The story is of course well known to many and tells the tale of young Simba (Glover) a lion cub who is led to believe he is to blame for the death of his father the King and flees his kingdom in shame.

Befriending the zany Timon and Pumbaa along the way, Simba must build up the courage to confront his evil uncle Scar (Ejiofor) and return to take his rightful place as king.

Rogen and Billy Eichner voice the wisecracking meerkat and warthog pairing of Timon and Pumbaa and are the undoubtedly the film's high point. A rousing rendition of their familiar theme song Hakuna Matada arrives like an old friend at the film's midpoint.

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Other songs from Elton John's original soundtrack also feature and are given a new spin, but most of them fail to land with as much impact.

Even the film's one new song Spirit written and performed by Beyoncé falls a little flat.

The film itself is very close to being a shot for shot remake of the 1994 original animated version, and subsequently feels a little too safe.

Fans hoping for a visionary new direction will be left disappointed.

Having said that, Favreau's decision to rely heavily on audience nostalgia for the original looks to be a wise choice, judging by the film's current box office takings.

Ultimately 2019's Lion King is a visually spectacular remake, which will introduce a new generation of fans to a timeless story, but it takes few risks and struggles to recapture the true magic of the original.

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