The Lion King (2019)

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After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Ok, let’s be honest here.  If you have seen the original animated version from 1994, then you have seen this new photo realistic version.  That being said, this is visually stunning, and very well put together.

It’s not exactly a carbon copy either.  Yes, certain scenes are word for word reconstructions of the original, but some scenes have been given a fresh coat of paint.  Nothing that affects the overall plot has been altered at all though.

Jon Favreau is an exceptional director, and proves that once again here – I can’t imagine this would have been easy to direct.  The voice cast is pretty good, with Seth Rogen’s turn as Pumba being a highlight, and any time Beyoncé sings being the lowlight…  It’s not that she’s a bad singer, it’s just that when she hits those wavering notes that she’s know for, on a song that we all know so well, it doesn’t work for me.

It seems that they have gone a little darker here too, much like Favreau did with The Jungle Book a few years ago.  The difference is, they couldn’t seem to commit to the darkness, and still tried to lighten the mood with the songs.  I was hoping the songs would be left out to add to the realism – much like with The Jungle Book.

The kids are going to love this version of The Lion King, as will most adults, but anybody who holds the original close to their heart might walk away somewhat disappointed.  That goes with the territory of remakes and reboots though.. you can’t please everybody.

The photo-realistic technology really does look amazing though, and I’m sure we will see a lot more of this technique in future releases.

While I wasn’t completely blown away by the film, I have no doubt that it will make a tonne of money for Disney, and do great things to further Favreau’s directorial career.

7/10

Review by Rick Trewin

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