Today I went and saw The Lion King, Disney’s latest live action remake. I know a lot of people feel it shouldn’t be called a live action remake because technically, it’s all CGI. Honestly, with a full animal movie that has tons of wild animals, how can you expect it not to be? Yes, it may technically CGI, but it looks absolutely real, at least in my opinion.
Instead of doing a typical review (yes, this will include my star-rating and overall thoughts), I thought I would list out the things that I loved about the movie and the few things I didn’t like.
First off, I loved how realistic the animals looked. I loved, absolutely loved, that the characters looked like their real animal counterparts, rather than the Disney animated versions. Scar was one I was most impressed with. Obviously, a brown lion with a black mane doesn’t exist, so I was worried about what the live action one would look like. He looked like a regular lion, but he was scrawnier than Mufasa, which is true to Scar’s character. Speaking of Scar, he had scars all over—he looked really rough and overall, just like a great villain. I even enjoyed Timon and Pumba, because they looked a bit different than their original selves, but again, it was way more realistic. Zazu was another one that I enjoyed—he definitely looked way more realistic.
Secondly, I enjoyed the voice actors. I don’t know if they actually got James Earl Jones to do Mufasa but no one does it better and this sounded just like him. Scar’s actor did a fantastic job and sometimes, I even felt scared of him, which is what Scar was supposed to be. I missed the hyena’s traditional, original voices but I didn’t have a problem with the new ones. I did enjoy how they made Shinzi a bit scarier and almost like a villain of herself. Simba was, well, Simba and he was the one I was gonna be the pickiest about because he’s my favorite, but his actor did him amazingly—both the child version and the adult version. Serabi was another one I loved, and in fact, I loved the live action version of her voice better than the original voice actor. I believe the live action actress of Serabi also played in the animated movie called Dinosaur. Pumba was different, but his original has such an iconic voice it’s hard to get used to anything different. Zazu portrayed his character perfectly. The only voice I hated and cringed at was Timon. He was definitely off and definitely not Timon at all.
Thirdly, I really, really loved and appreciated that even though they followed the original movie to a T, they also added in a few realistic bits and pieces. If you aren’t a knowledgable person about Africa and African animals, then you probably missed these. They were tiny details but I appreciated every single one of them. They were things like, when Zazu told Mufasa the hyenas were in the Pride Lands, he asked where Serabi was and Zazu told him that she was leading the attack. Female lions did do all of the hunting and attacking, or most of it. They also mentioned how lions and hyenas had been at war for years and in reality, lions and hyenas are enemies. Another thing they included was the male lion’s roar. It’s a special and different sound that carries for miles that warns others that this is their territory and they included it in the film as Mufasa was patrolling. All of the details was just so true to real life and yet, still maintained the feel of the animated film.
Fourth, I loved the scenery. It was a beautiful movie to watch because of the aesthetics. It had some of the most stunning scenery and it really felt like I was watching Africa or one of those animal documentaries set in Africa.
Lastly, I enjoyed the music. Disney songs have always been my favorite and The Lion King original animated film had some of the best songs Disney has ever produced. But the soundtrack of it, all the instrumental music, was also so enjoyable to listen to. They added a few different things to some of the music, but it was all styled African and there were parts of the music that got so powerful emotionally or so nostalgic that I almost cried.
Overall, I would give this one a 5 star rating even though I had a few issues with it—Timon’s actor was so cringy and the hyenas were not near as funny—but they pretty much redid the entire original movie scene for scene and honored it in a way. It may have been CGI, but for me, it was so epic to see the live action, realistic, animal version of this movie, one of my all-time favorite Disney movies.