There was no better way to express my true feelings on the 2019 “live-action” reboot of the greatest animated film of all time, The Lion King, than with the headline that you see when you open this review. You should already know the story of The Lion King unless you have a hatred for top-tier films. The 2019 version features voice acting from A+ talents such as Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Eric Andre, John Oliver, and with James Earl Jones, who reprises his iconic role as Mufasa. With a film that will hold an eternal legacy and an outstanding cast, you would think that its worst, it would just be a shot-for-shot re-creation of the original with immaculate CGI. While the movie is that, everything that I hate about Disney doing all these live-action reboots finds its rock bottom with The Lion King. In my opinion, there has never been a more egregious and blatant act of a cash grab than this movie. This is as low as Hollywood can get when it comes to making money off a franchise.
All of the personality and fun we got from the original is stripped in this film. I will not deny that the CGI that Disney uses could mark a turning point for live-action films but that is only positive aspect we have here. The voice-acting and the visual facial presence of the animals are bland as bland can get. It’s as if Jon Favreau told the talents to behave as if they are actual lions because you can’t tell the difference between a happy, angry, or sad lion. Character building moments and iconic songs are either erased completely from this film or are shortened to an extent that you forget that it happened five minutes later. The chemistry between Glover and Beyonce in “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” is comical. The only entertainment you could get out of this film is the setting and the look of the animals. The Pride Lands look photorealistic and I have to give praise to everyone that was involved in the complexity of making the visuals look like they exist. Unfortunately, you need more than visuals for your movie to have a reason for existing and 2019’s The Lion King is nowhere close to that.
If you give Disney your money to see this film and other live-action reboots in the future, then you are consciously contributing to the epidemic of this problem that Hollywood has when it comes to the lack of originality. We did not need another Aladdin, Dumbo, Jungle Book, The Lion King and we most certainly do not need another The Little Mermaid or Mulan but if you let this film gross a very high number at the box office, then this is all we are going to get from the monopoly that is Disney. Why would you want to incentivize people who damage the legacy of classic films? Do you go to the movies for the sake of being on the bandwagon and because it’s the “cool thing” or do you go to the movies because you love film? This is a serious question I have for the masses that are genuinely excited to see The Lion King for the sake of nostalgia when they could buy the Blu-Ray or rent it off of a digital store.
I hold numerous grudges with the state of our society right now and it is now starting to leak into the aspects that I am most passionate about: sports, film, and music. Music has already been drowned by it. Sports are now feeling the effects and now the beauty of film is next in line. For the sake of originality and real filmmaking, do not spend your money on The Lion King. This is the first time and, hopefully, the last time I have to say that about a movie. Do not, under any circumstances, see The Lion King in theatres.