Despite the harsh first impressions received, Jon Favreau`s film was quite a pleasant surprise. The 1994 version cannot be exceeded in any way, yet Favreau`s take on the original story was an enjoyable one. Before walking into the film theatre I was doubtful that perhaps a live-action approach on the classic story would be too much since it has all that rather unnecessary CGI or that it would not capture every essential aspect about Simba`s life journey. Along with bringing back many childhood memories, the remake generated a few contrasting opinions about what is good about the 2019 Disney feature and what could have been improved.
There were several beautifully-crafted parallels between the scenes that connected them and allowed the audience to fully enjoy the musical experience. Jon Favreau did a great job working on this film and introducing his own interpretation of `The Lion King`. His directing was a crucial aspect which held the film together and perhaps without it, the narrative might not have been depicted properly.
The cinematographers and the colourists did a stunning job creating a warm orange-toned setting where the film could develop in perfect balance. The contrast between yellow and blue was a great aspect present in every scene.
What about all those Hollywood stars involved? Well… my personal favourite was Chiwetel Ejiofor voicing the malicious Scar because his performance was entirely related to his character; in other words his voice was on point. Hearing him speak made me truly aware that he owns his lines and he is going to go completely mad in order to portray the iconic Disney villain successfully.
There has been a lot of excitement and publicity when people were told that Beyoncé would be in the film and I was a bit curious as well, considering that she was going to play Nala. This might be an unpopular opinion because good artists usually tend to be thought of as good actors as well (before being in a film), but when it comes strictly to her acting, it is definitely not the portrayal I would have wanted to see. Her performance was so distracting that it made it hard for me to appreciate certain scenes because she gave the character a rather odd attitude. Her take on the role did not compliment Nala and it failed to deliver any significant emotions.
While taking a short break from being the well-known Childish Gambino, Donald Glover decided to be a part of the Disney classic and lead the cast as Simba. His acting was nice and decent enough to pass as a good voice-over. James Earl Jones also appeared in the film, reprising his role as the beloved Mufasa from the first `The Lion King`.
The best scene was surely the one where Pumbaa and Timon meet the young Simba all alone in the wasteland and introduce him to the Hakuna Matata lifestyle. As soon as Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner came on the screen, the narrative became much more entertaining and fun to watch. The two of them were the most dynamic duo of the film and their performances were amazing and so similar to the original. The way they revived `Hakuna Matata` was sincerely fantastic and my whole day got much brighter just by listening to it.
You could really feel Elton John`s absence since he was only featured in the final song of the film, unlike in the 1994 motion picture. The 2019 version could have used Elton`s genius to get a more impressive effect on the narrative. Beyoncé`s `SPIRIT` did not have the desired impact. It might get some nominations because it is a `Lion King` film after all or because of Beyoncé involvement, but it is not as great a contender as other original songs from this year`s list.
Comparing `SPIRIT` with Elton John`s `(I`m Gonna) Love Me Again` from the motion picture dedicated to the legendary singer (Rocketman)-since he is connected to `The Lion King` for so long- there is a significant difference between the two songs. While Elton`s is definitely more deserving of an Academy Award-being very energetic and entertaining- Beyoncé seems to have had great difficulty in composing an original feature.
Hans Zimmer-known for his several Oscar nominated film scores- returned to the film (after winning an Academy Award in 1995 for his musical achievements from the previous Disney installment) with a brand-new soundtrack that complimented the story.
This year`s `The Lion King` was 30 minutes longer than the original and so, the plot was noticeably extended to fill the required run time. All in all, it could have been far better but it could have been far worse as well, so I guess it was an nice family film.