Just Hakuna Matata: The Lion King


Recently Disney is recreating it's all-time iconic animation movies from the '90s. What I don't understand is why they can't find new stories that are as interesting as the old movies. In the remake also they are not improving much. Few of them are Alladin, Beauty and the Beast and now The Lion King these movies are pretty much same.

The Lion King is directed by Tony Stark’s driver, Jon Favreau, who was the director for Iron Man 1, 2 and the Jungle Book remake, which is the only live-action Disney remake I really liked so far.

So everyone knows the story of the 1994 Disney animation right? It’s basically about a pack of lions that rule an animal kingdom they call the Pride Lands. And somehow there are only three male lions in the whole place. One of them named Mufasa is the leader of the pack and the king of Pride Lands. His evil jealous brother, Scar, wants to take his place but the next in line is Mufasa’s son, Simba.

Scar attempts to murder them both with the help of a pack of hyenas who’re basically outsiders and at war against the lions. And there begins the journey of little Simba who must survive and grow up to be the king he’s born to be. In case any of you young ones have never seen the 1994 animation or Kimba, I shall not spoil it.

Is it better than the 1994 classic? Apart from the visuals, no.

Although I wouldn’t call this a “live-action” remake per se, the visuals are truly photo-realistic. The animals look very real and some of the animals even move like the real thing. They’re adorable. Baby Simba is extremely cute. But they are not expressive enough. There’s a lack of facial expression.


And when the characters talk and sing, their mouths don’t really move accordingly. And I don’t really feel like dialogue is coming from them. It’s just like watching the animals on the National Geographic channel.

Without the voice acting, we wouldn’t know what they’re thinking, feeling and even doing at times. Most of the vocal performances are good but still nowhere as great as the original.

Not sure why they could get the original voice of Mufasa, James Earl Jones, back but not the others such as Jeremy Irons who definitely sounded far more menacing and compelling as Scar than Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The new renditions of the music are good too but the new song Spirit by Beyonce, I’m not sure. Sounds like a weird version of Circle of Life to me. Her voice as the adult Nala is meh. Almost anyone else could’ve done the same. Donald Glover and JD McCrary are pretty good as an adult and young Simba.

But the ones I really enjoyed were Pumbaa and Timon, voiced by Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner respectively. They are genuinely hilarious and I laughed the loudest during that one scene where they referenced another Disney film’s character and song. They are like the best thing about this remake.

Only minor changes were made to the characters like the hyenas being less annoyingly stupid now. The rest of the characters and the story are pretty much identical to the original but without substance.

The development of the main characters and their relationships are much, much weaker. Maybe it’s due to the lack of facial expression from the photorealistic characters or perhaps the execution of the interactions are rushed. I can’t quite pinpoint the reason.


Even the iconic emotional scenes are nowhere near as powerful as the original. And I haven’t rewatched the original again since I was a kid so this remake had fresh bullets to hit me with the heartbreak but it failed. The only feeling I got was a bit of nostalgia perhaps.

In overall, this remake is not as good as the original and again, like I always say, what’s the point of a remake if it’s not going to improve much from the original apart from showing off the current visual effect capabilities?

Nonetheless, I did like that they address a few things well like why other animals agree to be ruled by lions even though they do eat them. I like that the lions are thinner for a reason. Keeping the balance and not overhunting are the responsibilities of the ruler. But Scar still looks skinny years after he’s overfed. And the hyenas towards the end… some things just didn’t make sense to me.

But anyway, just Hakuna Matata while watching it and you’ll probably still enjoy it.


 Book At BookMyShow

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