Film Review: <em>The Lion King</em>
Jul 19 2019

Film Review: The Lion King

By: Fritz Esker

Disney's recent creative laziness continues with director Jon Favreau's joyless remake of The Lion King.


If you've seen the excellent original 1994 version of The Lion King, you know the plot. Simba (Donald Glover) is a lion prince who must learn to accept responsibility after his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is killed by Simba's villainous uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Much like May's Aladdin, the new The Lion King rehashes old glories while adding about 30 minutes of unnecessary padding to the running time. It feels as if they inserted the deleted scenes from the original, even though these scenes are usually deleted with good reason.

What makes The Lion King worse than the latest Aladdin is the photorealistic computer animation the film uses. This style works well with landscapes. However, it's stiff and lifeless once the animals talk. There's no expressiveness to the characters. As a result, the musical numbers are zapped of their original energy and dramatic scenes are drained of emotion.

At the end of the day, this will probably make money for Disney. But it's unlikely people will remember the remake with the same love and enthusiasm they feel for the original film.

★★ (out of four)

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