As truthful as a Review can be...I think
I don't know how long these things should be...so for now, I am just going to write until all the things I thought about this movie have been stated.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
First of all, the original was only like an hour and half long...2019 edition, was almost 2 hours. So right way, you knew Disney is going to throw in some filler; however, it was nothing really drastic and did not affect the story. Yay!
That being said, to start, I think it is imperative to mention that most of the people who watched this, immediately went to criticizing the voice characters. That is understandable, since the majority of us probably grew up with the animated version and can vividly remember the iconic voices behind the characters. I for one, believe they fit pretty well; for the most part.
Which character should we discuss first? Lets go with Simba the cub...no, they did not have JTT for the voice...because he's like 37 years old! However, JD McCrary who voiced him, fit well, no complaints! Moving on to big boy Simba and Donald Glover...what can I say, he did well and I liked him. Next, Beyonce as Nala, fit if you didn't watch the movie and just picture Beyonce saying all those words, I did not do that, so I think she was perfectly done.
I cannot express how pivotal it was that they kept James Earl Jones as Mufasa; his voice transcends generations and his legend is unmatched. Mufasa's right hand bird, Zazu voiced by John Oliver was PERFECT and that goes double for John Kani as Rafiki(the few lines he actually said!) and Seth Rogen as Pumba!
Now on to the unpleasant-ness. Scar and the Hyenas were all wrong! I think it is partially because it may be near impossible to have a "Real" lion and hyenas look evil, but the voices did not work for me either. I love Keegan-Michael Key, but for a minor Hyena role, he got more lines than Rafiki and his voice; and this pains me to say, just did not go!
Which brings me to my piece de resistance; Billy Eichner as Timon. Man oh man was this way off! I will admit, when I saw he was cast as Timon, I was excited, I love Eichner; Billy on the Street is hilarious. Unfortunately, that crazy character and outright lunacy did not translate on the big, Live Action, screen. Similar to Scar and the Hyenas, I think it reverts back to the inability to make these characters looks, gestures and facial expressions more animated; he is a meerkat, he has to move and act like a meerkat in a Live Action reproduction. It hurt the character and it almost ruined the film for me.
Ok, lets get into the meat of the film! What actually happened? Did you see the animated version? Well then you have seen the Live Action version! They kept it very close and I liked it. Sometimes it is ok not to get "the Directors/Writers take on it". Specifically here, I was happy to see similar scenes and storylines. Yes, we opened on the theme song, sunrise, animals gathering, pride rock and of course Rafiki lifting cub Simba to display him to the kingdom. It was glorious and you got the good feelings. The rest played out like you have already seen. The few criticisms I have about the story were as follows:
- Did you get overly emotional about the death of Mufasa? I didn't, maybe because we knew what was going to happen.
- Why was Simba walking through the ENTIRE Sahara desert? Just ridiculous.
- Rafiki had like 3 lines and a few moments to make sounds.
- Hello?! Mufasa made out of clouds! No? Lame.
Do you want to know what basically saved it for me? A complete and full loss of control because I was laughing so hard when Timon and Pumba paid homage to the intro of the classic Beauty and the Beast song "Be Our Guest" as they were creating a diversion for the final battle of the film! It was comedic timing at its best and I couldn't be happier with the way they did it.
Overall, I would add it to my collection. The artistry, the general beauty of the scenery, the classic and familiar songs, the animals look incredible and the simple family friendly story leaves you nostalgic in the best way possible.
Enjoy the film for what it is!
Thank you for checking out my review of the Lion King.
How Many Stars?!
Lion King Animation v Lion King Live Action
Do you prefer the Live Action version of Lion King or the Original?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Ilya Klimenko