Movie Review: “The Lion King” is a visual achievement, strictly loyal to the original

“The Lion King”, one of Disney’s most beloved favorites gets the live action remake treatment, and the verdict is a visually satisfying film, that is little hollow at times, but still manages to be a good movie.

We’re all familiar with the story of the young cub Simba, who after being framed by his villainous uncle, Scar, for the death of his father, King Mufasa, must flee the kingdom that rightfully belongs to him before being rescued and raised by some new friends. Destiny finally catches up to the now grown Simba and he must return to his kingdom to face his destiny.

It looks beautiful from beginning to end.

The landscapes and the creatures are done so well, it’s just a joy to look at. Each of the animals are so well defined from the hair on the hyenas, to the feathers on the birds. Even the insects are spectacular.

We’re given all-star voice talent that features the original Mufasa, James Earl Jones, and some new favorites like Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, and even John Oliver. They all do a wonderful job, and while the musical numbers aren’t quite Elton John, they’re still good.

There are flaws. These are animals and they’re limited in how to can express themselves. They’re not meant to be in musicals and that shows sometimes. There are also moments when director Jon Favreau chooses silences over a score and it’s a little too quiet at stretches.

It’s important for fans of the original to know that this film is very loyal to the classic story. This brings up questions over why movies like this one need to be made in the first place. In the case of the Lion King, it’s to take advantage of technology that wasn’t available back then to tell the same story in a new and beautiful way for a younger generation.

If you’re open to that new interpretation this movie is for you.

GRADE: B

RATED: PG

Running time: 1hr 50 minutes.

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