By Maddy Turner
The Lion King “live action” film was released 17th July, 2019 – almost exactly 25 years after the original first hit cinemas. Whilst I’m sure it was a huge hit with the younger generations (basically children), it has been made excruciatingly clear that many fans of the OG movie were let down by the film almost hard as Mufasa was by Scar. Too soon?
Now, granted there are many problems with the remake, but I cannot and will not hate on the animation in this film. It was nothing less than incredible and I’m a real sucker for pointing out bad CGI in movies. The entire time it really did feel like I was watching real animals act and converse which is no easy feat – and considering the reported budget of the film was $260 million, it’s really nothing less than I expected. I will say that I was in no way prepared to see Mufasa die in 1080 HD. Truly “Scarring.” Eh? Eh? No? Fine.
Now, I feel as though I have to comment on the common complaints about the movie and its animation. Many viewers of the film claimed that they couldn’t see as much expression in the animal’s faces as in the original movie. Yeah well duh. I would argue, that because Disney has labelled the remake as a “live action” film this lack of expression was anticipated. The movie can’t possibly have both the realistic style of animation and the comedic expressions as seen in the first film. For example, Lions in the real world can’t necessarily smile and laugh as a human might. The animation in the 1994 version of The Lion King is clearly more based on human expression and attributes, rather than that of the animals they are portraying. I mean, the original cartoons have eyebrows. Eyebrows on lions. Once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it.
Ok, now that I’ve talked up the movie slightly, I’m gonna drag it back down to the depths of reality. I think my biggest problem with The Lion King remake was the fact that the writing suffered and most of the jokes fell flat. First of all, I’ll jump into how the writing just wasn’t… good. Throughout the majority of the movie, the script stayed on par or (at some points) exactly the same as the original cartoon. I’m going to be completely honest here, I think this is almost just lazy writing. I mean did you even really write the movie if you just copied it from its original? It’s like the epitome of the whole “can I copy your home-work?” “Sure just change it a bit” meme. But look, I can understand why the director may have wanted to do this – everyone loves the original script movie, so if they kept relatively the same script for the new movie, it has to succeed, right?
Well, it might have worked if they hadn’t screwed themselves over and changed the original jokes. After rewatching the 1994 cartoons and then the new movie, the first is just so much funnier and somehow more genuine. It’s almost like they should’ve either chosen to completely stick with the original script, or show that they’re deliberately making it unique and their own.
The last bone I have to pick with this remake, is that the voice acting just isn’t as perfect or impressive as the OG Lion King. In the original, the voices of Jeremy Irons and Whoopi Goldberg were especially missed and not lived up to in the 2019 remake. I mean, those are too impressive voices that just made their characters. I did however appreciate the return of James Earl Jones as the voice of Mufasa, and JD Mcrary did an excellent job at portraying young Simba.
Overall, I really didn’t hate this movie/remake. It was a good experience to watch it in the cinemas 25 years after the original was released. I am, and I always will be, sad that these remakes that Disney is releasing are going to be what my children associate stories with instead of the classic movies. But that’s probably just the sentimental side of me coming out. The movie’s worth a watch, but is in no way better than the original.