In 1994, Disney launched a classic in The Lion King. The film still means a gold standard of composition and lighting in hand-drawn animation. Even so, Disney now feels the need as they have felt with their other classic properties: Dumbo and Aladdin, to recreate the magic. However, unlike those other attempts that spruced up stories that lacked diversity or subtracted uncomfortable racial caricatures, director Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, a new version with little soul and few narrative ambitions, has no intention of updating this classic template; instead, its content is that of the most expensive mirror room in the world.
To give a summary of The Lion King is elementary in some respects, but for those who don’t know: A lion named Simba (JD McCrary) is born, the apparent heir to the throne. His father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) reigns over the lands of the herd, as king of lions and African animals. However, Mufasa has a jealous brother: Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who conspires to kill him with the help of hyenas. Simba, the bold prince, retires to the jungle because he feels guilty about his father’s death.
To bring the Lion King back to life, Favreau uses CG photorealism. The result is an impressive success of images and reality, much more than Walt Disney dreamed when he made that cartoon mouse decades ago. However, their “success” breeds a massive failure; they forgot why most animations succeed. No one wants to see a two-hour simulation of a documentary about nature. There must be an infusion of humanity for empathy to occur in any representation, and animals: especially lions, are not thrilled.
So while Favreau, fortunately, employs a dazzling cast of voice actors: Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan are hilarious thieves of scenes like Timon and Pumba, which are mostly wasted under tufts of CG hair and fur. There is never a time when there is a total suspension of disbelief.
When Zasu appears on the screen, he is not a bird that comes to life with the voice of John Oliver. It is a bird with Oliver’s voice. The same for Beyonce as for Nala. None of the actors welcomes the faults in their respective deliveries, but the animals are not as excited as their deliveries express. Even Rafiki (John Kani), the happy and mysterious Rafiki, is transformed into a normal baboon. And the hyenas: Kamari (Keegan-Michael Key), Shenzi (Florence Kasumba) and Azizi (Eric André) – lack threats and bites.
Simba’s sharp detachment ‘shouting’ ‘Nooooooo’, his small agape mouth without emotion in his eyes, gave the effect of a well-kept taxidermist animal. Every part of the film is the victim of Disney and Favreau’s insistence on hyperrealism, and even Mufasa’s ‘remember me’ scene, of any elegance or touching. The clouds don’t even look like his face. Why make a ghost cloud hyper-realistic?
The Lion King fails because narratively the story is exactly the same. With Beyonce as Nala, one would think that his story would expand, instead, here he might have less to do. One would also think that we would see a longer sequence of Simba (Donald Glover, who truly does the best he can) living the lifestyle of Hakuna Matata. Everything that works in The Lion King is done through the inventions of the previous film, in a less dazzling way. Favreau’s reinvention is a victim of the same shortcomings as the newly released Aladdin: live-action without the same dynamics as animation. No scene demonstrates such impediments more than the sequence of Hakuna Matata, a moment in which the characters Timon, Pumba, and Simba dive into the water and channel their heads as they strut, is reduced to a boring follow-up on foot and in silence.
Ultimately, the Lion King lacks flesh on the bone, picked up by Hollywood scavengers in a feast for almost no one but a couple of wallets. The only scene with resonance is the fight of Simba and Scar, where there is no talk, where only the beating of their bodies together is heard. If the Lion King showed such dynamism, the whole thing would not be so cheap. And questions would not abound as to who this film is for.
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|INFO SOURCE :||en.wikipedia.org|
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|Genres :||Animation, Adventure, Drama|
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