The Lion King (2019)

lion king poster 2019 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Looks good

Same story, feels unnecessary, and still an animated movie

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Lion King

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s): Animated/Action/Adventure/Family/Musical

Release Date(s):  July 9, 2019 (Premiere)/July 19, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

lion king simba mufasa dead

My father is dead…it is my fault!!! Why does it feel this has all happened before?

Simba is the hope of his pride and the next chosen rule.  When his father Mufasa meets a tragic fate, Simba is encouraged by his treacherous uncle that he will be blamed.  Simba flees into the jungle where he makes new friends in Timon and Pumbaa, but Simba is about to discover that he cannot put his past behind him and that he must reclaim the throne he thought he abandoned.

Directed by Jon Favreau, The Lion King is an animated musical remake of the 1994 Walt Disney animated musical.  It was released to mixed reviews but was a massive box-office success.  It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

I liked The Lion King, but I didn’t love The Lion King.  When a new “live-action” version was announced, I kind of rolled my eyes because unless the animals are trained to act, it is an animated version of the movie…just a different type of animation.  While I did enjoy Favreau’s take on The Jungle Book (which brought in more aspects of Kipling’s novel and changed the story up), The Lion King is a good looking, unnecessary movie.

lion kin ghakuna matata timon pumbaa simba

Hey…it feels like I already know the words to this song

The story is virtually identical.  Thematically, it isn’t really different and other than adding a few more animals in Simba’s exile and some boosted roles by the hyenas, the movie follows the same path.  A few of the songs were tweaked (not for the better) and Pumbaa talks about farting more…which I guess is supposed to appeal to someone.  It just feels like a lazy money grab.

The cast is good (as usual for a Disney film).  Donald Glover is a smart choice for the older Simba and Beyoncé gives some depth to Nala (who never felt like much of a character to me.  I like Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, but I just imagine that James Earl Jones came in to voice Musafa saying “Didn’t I already do this?”  John Oliver, Alfre Woodard, Keegan-Michael Key, John Kani, Amy Sedaris, Eric Andre, and Florence Kasumba all provide voices while Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are the “new” Timon and Pumbaa.

lion king scar vs simba

How awesome would it have been if Scar dug his claws in and threw Simba to his death?  Imagine the audience’s reaction (I might have cheered for the change)

The Lion King looks good.  It is solid animation of real animals.  If it was an attempt to get actors recreate scenes, it would be harder, but many scenes are shot-for-shot and simply adding texture and depth to the film doesn’t really change it up enough for me…the story needed a revamping or something to justify it.  It also makes the story make even less sense…why would any of these “real” animals interact?

As much as I didn’t like Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin, The Lion King was better…but I have less respect for it.  If the original Lion King never existed, then this movie would be much better.  The effects are great, but it feels like nothing is new and there aren’t any new laughs, plot points, or anything…it reminds me a lot of the Psycho remake in that sense.  The successful stage version of the musical added new spirit, tapped into African art, and tried to create something new; this did not.  Yeah, the hyenas are a little scarier, but that doesn’t validate the case for a remake…it feels like Disney just lining its pockets.

Related Links:

The Lion King (1994)

The 92nd Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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