PRIDE ROCK – When it was announced that 2019 would see the release of three live action remakes by Disney animated classics, I was a little skeptical. Then when I heard the three were "Dumbo", "Aladdin" and "The Lion King", I wasn't quite sure what to think.
But I was pretty sure "Aladdin" would not be the best of the group and that "The Lion King" would not fight for the lower place. Kudos to you, the universe, you've done it again and showed me so very wrong.
"The Lion King" is now in theaters, and I have to say it was hard to go for me. There are some things that are absolutely spectacular in the movie ̵
Here are some reasons why "The Lion King" doesn't rule supreme:
It's totally unnecessary
I know this seems obvious because none of these live-action remakes are necessary, but this one really does cake. I know that "Aladdin" took a lot of heat, but at least director Guy Ritchie put his own taste on the film, and they changed things about plot and character. Will Smith also provided a good performance as a Genie.
We don't get any of that in "The Lion King". Instead, we get what is almost a shot-by-shot reform of the 1994 classics – and when I say shot-by-shot I mean it. Almost everything, including the dialogue, in this 2019 version is exactly the same as the point Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa. Then there are small variations in dialogue and jokes, a couple of extended scenes, and that is it. Otherwise, you've seen this movie a thousand times at home. It was frustrating to look at, and I couldn't stop asking, "Why?"
I still have no answer for that.
I wonder if James Earl Jones even came in to record lines because his dialogue seems to be exactly the same as the original. I think it is quite possible that filmmakers took their tracks from 1994 and put them over this new movie.
Missing Heart and Influence
1994-Lion King seems to reason in your soul in some way. It's hard to put your finger on it, but the brilliant animation combined with touching music and memorable voice performances make the animated film carry a weight to the one who doesn't leave you. This updated version lacks it. CGI in this is really remarkable – and that's what we get later – but because they create what looks like real animals, it's hard to get the expression and the feeling from the characters we do in the original.  As strange as it sounds, the less real the animals look more empathic and drawn we are to the characters. I wouldn't have thought that was the case, but this movie has shown me wrong. There is a lack of emotion in this 2019 remake, which is disappointing considering what made the 1994 original so unique and memorable.
Sure, you will still be a little choked when you see Mufasa fall into the charge stamp, but I have not figured out if it is because it still packs the emotional punch or I remember seeing the first time as a children and how it affected me.
Visuals are amazing  I mentioned that there are some things about the movie that are really impressive and worth mentioning. The biggest is undoubtedly CGI. Some of the animals still look animated, but there are moments where you don't think your eyes see a completely computer-designed lion or hyena. It is amazing what these animators could accomplish.
Yes, things look so real as it's almost scary; But what will really get you is the details you do not immediately notice. Things like how shadows react to animal movements; how the muscles span when they walk, buzz or breathe and how the ears twitch or tails floats away. It is truly incredible and must be applauded. I can't imagine how much work went into creating this, but I really appreciate it.
Nathan Lane was perfect as Timon in 1994 "Lion King" but I have to say I'm a big fan of Billy Eichner's voice performance in this version.
Eichner is a unique comic actor and his feeling and high energy is perfect for Timon. I found myself laughing loudly a few times in his lines and delivery. I can't say I was very impressed with the rest of the cast, although I strongly respect Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Glover was good as an adult Simba, but there was nothing memorable for it; and Ejifor was actually good as Scar, but the filling of Jeremy Irons iconic shoes is a bit to ask.
However, Eichner stood out completely. I would say that his performance and groundbreaking visual effects may be the only things worth a watch in this movie.
This is the real question, right? Who cares about the grumpy old adult critic liked this movie, I just want to know if my kids are coming.
Maybe they. It's the best thing I can do. I guess, most of the time the kids will be entertained by the movie, but I can also warn parents that the realistic animals can frighten younger children more than the animated version of 1994 does. There were some crying toddlers in the theater, but most little ones seemed to be entertained and enjoyed the movie.
I don't want to be too hard, but I really enjoyed this movie. Visual and Eichner's performance was not enough to save it for me. This was a great "swing and a miss" for me. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if it will continue to make millions and millions for Disney and add more fuel to this recovery fire.