I need to state several things before I begin this review. First, I love the original 1994 The Lion King film. I consider the original film to be one of the best Disney animated films of all time. This version of the movie is a essentially an extended remake of that classic film. Second, this review is not a critique of Disney or a comparison review. I will not be comparing this version of the film with the 1994 original. I will not question the motivations for making this film. Disney will make and remake any movie that they see fit. This review will remain focused on my thoughts on this specific film.
Just in case you have never seen The Lion King I will give you a quick recap of the story. The Lion King is a film with talking animals. The lion Mufasa is the king. Mufasa has recently had a child which is named Simba. Scar is the brother of Mufasa and is envious that Simba is the new heir to the throne. The plot has many similarities to Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Japanese anime Kimba the White Lion. The story of The Lion King is full of tragedy, betrayal and is a compelling story that follows the tried and true hero’s journey narrative.
What did I enjoy in this movie? The story is fun, and the songs are excellently sung. The music and songs are well integrated into the narrative and feel natural. The computer rendered graphics are incredible. 90% of the time I never doubted the visuals that I saw on screen. The animal animations are spot on and they look natural and make sense in the context of this movie. Overall, I did like the voice cast in this film. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon. This is the kind of movie that the entire family can enjoy.
What are the negatives aspects of this movie? This movie is nearly two-hours in length and it feels long. I wish that we received some backstory on Scar . Unfortunately Scar feels like a one-dimensional undeveloped character. I did enjoy the voice cast, but I wasn’t wowed by it. With the exception to Timon, Pumbaa, and Mufasa the rest of the voice cast is simply mediocre. The visuals are excellent but somehow someway I felt that the characters are soulless and lack emotional weight. This is difficult to explain but the characters look incredible, but they don’t feel right. This is a showpiece for the ‘uncanny valley’. The ‘uncanny valley’ is where the visuals are truly photo realistic, but my brain knows it is fake and can’t fully emotionally connect to subject matter. This movie is not a failure it just didn’t totally resonate with me.
In closing I did enjoy my time with 2019’s The Lion King. The songs and story are fun, but it just didn’t feel right. This movie has all the components to be a great film, but it misses the mark.
Final Verdict: 7/10