THE LION KING Review: Jon Favreau's Remake Is A Stunning Achievement, Which Will Still Seem Pointless To Some

THE LION KING Review: Jon Favreau's Remake Is A Stunning Achievement, Which Will Still Seem Pointless To Some

THE LION KING Review: Jon Favreau's Remake Is A Stunning Achievement, Which Will Still Seem Pointless To Some

And, really, it is pointless - but that doesn't mean this incredibly realized "live-action" remake isn't well worth seeing. Jon Favreau's The Lion King has come in for some backlash, but is it warranted?

Look, at this point you're either on board with Disney's live-action remakes or you're not. If you're not, The Lion King is unlikely to sway you.

Jon Favreau's film is basically a shot-for-shot retelling of the classic tale with a handful of noteworthy additions here and there, which is going to turn many off straight away. This is understandable - especially if you happen to be a huge fan of the original - but if you're able to get past that and go along, you're in for an incredible feast for the senses.

From a visual standpoint, The Lion King is a masterpiece. The computer generated effects used to bring the various four-legged denizens of the Pridelands to life are pretty much flawless, and every tree, hill, rock and blade of grass is meticulously rendered to create a truly stunning environment. At times you will think you're actually watching a nature documentary, which, unfortunately, does have its downsides.

The decision to make the animals photo-realistic came in for some criticism after the first trailer, and while it doesn't turn out to be quite as big an issue as many feared, there's no denying that certain scenes would have benefited from the characters being able to show more emotion. They do have facial expressions (kinda), but it's hard to shake the feeling that Favreau and co. really should have toned down the realism a tad and added more character. We are talking about lions that sing and dance here, after all.

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The film manages to overcome this and does still engage on an emotional level, however, and chances are if you found yourself bawling at that scene in the original, you will again here.

The voice-cast is also top-notch, with JD McCrary (young Simba), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) and the legendary James Earl Jones (Mufasa) standing out. Donald Glover (older Simba) and Beyonce (Nala) are fine, but seem to be holding back a little at times. The real MVPs, though, are Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Simba's little pals keep the laughs coming all the way through, and while a lot of the gags are carried over from the original, they do put their own stamp on them.

As for the music, well, what is left to say about such an iconic and masterful score/soundtrack? All of the classic songs are performed brilliantly, and Beyonce also contributes a new tune, "Spirit," which doesn't seem out of place. Okay, that may be damning with faint praise, but it's not The Queen's best work!

The original Lion King exists and is great. Now this new version exists and is also great. It has some problems, but if you're willing to give it a shot there's a lot to enjoy. Then again, if you hate everything these remakes stand for and want to stick it to the evil Disney empire, remember that you don't have to go see it. Hakuna Matata.

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