Unless you have been living under a rock, you must’ve heard about the reboot of the most heartwarming Disney movie ever — The Lion King. However, the first response came from a worried audience who was not looking forward to the animated version of their all-time favorite.
By now, the audience is divided into two separate groups — absolute fans and disappointed viewers. But when it comes to the critical response, all agree on one matter — animating the beloved Disney characters resulted in a lack of warm emotions and reactions from movie characters. The crowd enjoyed reminiscing the heartwarming scenes from the movie, but the live-action characters were not able to emote along with the crowd. That was the leading cause of the overall disappointment after the premiere.
So how does the movie look? Visually, it was breathtaking to see the spectacular African landscape and magnificent shots of its savannas. Many critics stated that even though they came to the premiere somewhat skeptical, they enjoyed these stunning shots for two whole hours and ended up wanting more. Throughout the movie, the spectators had only one recurring thought — was this real imagery?
However, one thing kept them grounded — as always, weird mouth animations on live animals. Even though it was evident that the production was executed flawlessly, unfortunately, both viewers and critics couldn’t help but notice the lack of emotion on the movie characters.
The Voice Casting
That was the second cause for the massive appeal from the audience — the voice casting was spot-on, including the most influential crowd in show business. However, it was not the voice actors’ popularity that boosted this fantastic remake but the way the characters were assigned. When it comes to child actors playing Simba and Nala, JD McCrary and Shahandi Wright Joseph were faithful dead ringers for the original voices. As for the adult characters of Simba and Nala, Donald Grover’s interpretation seemed excellent to the audience, but according to the critics, Glover’s and Beyonce’s performance turned out to be a bit strained and came off as scripted way too much in some parts of the movie.
However, the hilarious duo Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner played the characters of Pumba and Timon spotlessly and stole the show. It was an excellent choice to feature the original dialogue and spice it up with a few jokes that freshen up the script and deliver the improved version of these already compelling characters. Every scene that featured this hilarious duo resulted in echoed laughs during the premiere, providing a much-needed relief from some parts of full rigidity in the movie. However, the characters of Timon and Pumba would not be the very heart of the film without the famous Zazu, fantastically performed by John Oliver.
Speaking of the most prominent characters of our beloved movie, James Earl Jones once again portrayed the most potent patriarch character — Mufasa. We believe that fans wouldn’t want it any other way, so if we were to judge the voice casting — spot on.
The Storyline — Exactly the Same?
Many debated if the storyline should be identical in terms of script and dialogues, but luckily, Disney decided to follow the old recipe and allow Lion King fans to feel as if they were watching Lion King for the first time. Admittedly, Disney added a couple of brief scenes and slightly altered the original dialogue, but it was done seamlessly, and it hasn’t hurt the storyline in any way. They did what needed to be done — the conversation had to be tucked in and modernized for the kids today, but luckily, the epic parts of the dialogue were kept for the new generations. After all, this remake was done with the goal of improving the original version and making sure that the new generations were interested in this epic masterpiece.
As for the adults who have every scene deeply cut into their brains forever — Mufasa’s death, Simba’s growing up and taking his part in the Circle of Life, etc. — they will not be disappointed with the remake of these scenes. Prepare yourself for another heartache and eyes full of tears.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the Lion King live-action rendition followed in the footsteps of its predecessor since they stayed true to the passion and emotion of the original. Lively and upbeat parts with the tones of nostalgia are kept throughout the movie, making it really hard not to choke up during the Circle of Life, especially when the same sentimentality kicks in.
In the end, this remained a heartwarming story for both kids and adults. The movie had to be modernized for the future generations, but rest assured — still feels like a classic, and it had remained the same movie we all know and adore.