The remake of The Lion King impresses only with its striking visuals

An insufficient walk down memory lane


Anushka Patil, News Editor

On July 19, 2019, Disney released the live-action remake of the 1994 The Lion King. The film has been hyped up for about a year as a result of people anticipating a film that will bring life to the Pride Lands, just like the animated original. However, the film fails to live up to it’s high expectations as a result of executing a movie that does not compare with the original version that touched hearts all around the world.

The new version of The Lion King replicates the original in terms of the storyline.  Both films start off with the moving scene of Simba, the heir to the throne of the Pride Lands, being lifted high in the air by the mystical baboon Rafiki for the whole population of the Pride Lands to see. Then, like the 1994 version, The Lion King delves into the relationship Simba has with his father, the king of the Pride Lands, Mufasa, and how that relationship leads to many events taking place that allow Simba to find his position among those of the African Savannah.

The Lion King stars many recognizable names such as Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner as Timon. The movie, directed by John Favreau, with a budget of about 260 million dollars, is among those of Disney’s most expensive films to make. The box office amount for The Lion King remake crossed one billion dollars, beating the original which had a budget of 45 million dollars and a box office amount of about 970 million dollars.

Although the turnout for this movie has been large, it does not fully speak for the quality of the movie.

The movie’s opening scene featured the nostalgic moment of Simba being raised for the animals of the Pride Lands. This has to be the best part of the whole movie due to actually bringing back old memories and creating that heart-warming feeling many fans wanted from the film.

However, after the introductory scene, the movie starts becoming darker as compared to the light-hearted original.

The best and worst part of this film has to be the stellar visuals. The technical aspect of The Lion King transports the viewers into the African Savannah with each texture and detail that has been included in this movie. Every component of this film has the ability to fool viewers into believing the movie includes real animals and landscape that were filmed in Africa, even though most of it was created with the help of technology. Nevertheless, these visuals allow for less connection between the characters and the audience members.

One notable aspect of the original The Lion King is the buoyant facial expressions that made each character lovable or dislike able, depending on their role in the movie. In the new remake, however, the characters faces replicate those of the actual Africa savannah, which means their expression still are not as strong as those of the original animated characters the world fell in love with due to their strong personalities.

The visuals make for a good documentary if it were based on the savannah, but considering this movie is about the Pride Lands, the visuals seem dull and do not mesh the original look of the characters to the new.

Another aspect of the characters not fully connecting with the audience is with how some of the lead actors and actressses in the film do not properly embody their characters. Donald Glover seems as though he is reading off of a script without taking into consideration strong emotions and character development. Same goes for Beyoncé, who does a poor job of making her voice seem as though it belongs to Nala.

Although Donald Glover and Beyoncé fail to transform into their characters, actors such as Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner are able to bring the true ambience of Pumbaa and Timon alive in this film.

Aside from the characters, the music is nothing extraordinary. Most of the songs are enjoyable, while some do not suffice. Particularly, the songs “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” allow for pleasurable sing-along and include captivating visuals. However, songs like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” do not actually capture the emotion going on in the film. The vocals seem off when put into relation with the characters, and the song highlights the idea of love taking place at night, even though the scene the music is playing in is clearly under broad daylight.

Overall, The Lion King was less of a roller coaster and more of a downward slope. It is a good film for anyone who is in the mood for an extraordinary cinematography experience but a poor film for anyone who wants to reminisce old memories.