The Lion King Review: The enrapturing visual effects is the true king in Donald Glover and Beyonce's film

The Lion King Movie Review: Recycling the old classic with a fresh cast and spectacular visual imagery, Donald Glover and Beyonce's film will make you feel the love tonight, again, but it won't be as impactful as the first time.
The Lion King Movie Review: The enrapturing visual effects is the true king in Donald Glover and Beyonce's filmThe Lion King Movie Review: The enrapturing visual effects is the true king in Donald Glover and Beyonce's film
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The Lion King

The Lion King Director: Jon Favreau

The Lion King Cast: Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner

The Lion King Stars: 3/5

Recycling old tales and bringing it forward through the tools of live-action is Disney's well-cooked recipe, in recent times. Aladdin proved to be a major success and following its route will be The Lion King. But calling it live-action seems a tad less genuine because they are not actual animals. After The Jungle Book in 2016, Jon Favreau makes splendid usage of photo-realism to give us a documentary style ode to the classic tale of the circle of life.


What made Lion King such a memory was the voice cast who breathed voice into the animals and Disney had its work cut out for them to pay homage, while staying fresh. Donald Glover takes reign as Simba and blends between being a lovable goofball and the mighty king. Beyonce takes up the voice of Nala and while that was definitely something this reviewer was anxiously waiting for, Queen B couldn't infuse completely into Nala. Everyone is replaceable except for one Mr. James Earl Jones, who reprises as the voice of Mufasa and awaken the 90's child in all of us. Chiwetel Ejiofor is absolutely vicious as Scar while John Oliver's take on Zazu is a pleasant breath of life. However, just like the original, it's Timon and Pumba (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen) who add the Hakuna Matata to what would have been just a drama. Their constant back and forth, which you could tell was improvised by Billy and Seth, increases the pace of the film.

You can't help but give major kudos to the photo-realism aspect as the film is nothing short of a visual delight. The animals feel so life-like, from the specks of hair to the feathers, everything breathes life, like it were real. Pride Lands seemed like a real place, you'd love to visit. However, in the process of making it real, what 2019's The Lion King lacks is the emotional quotient, which 1994's version packed in spades. 

While certain scenes like Mufasa's death and Nala's escape from Pride Lands were admirable, scenes like the introductory Circle of Life sequence, paled in comparison to the animated version. When Rafiki holds Simba up high, the heightened drama is let down by the lack of expressions from the animals. 

The music by Hans Zimmer is simmered down and given a modern zazz by the cast, who blend their voices to perfection. Listening to Elton John's Circle of Life will never get old. But the addition of Beyonce's Spirit was a nice touch. In moments, where expressions seemed amiss, the background music won. The sequence for Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel The Love Tonight was definitely my favourite. 

The Lion King is sure to make big bucks at the box-office and will remain fresh for the younger generation to tell their kids about. In the end, I felt the love tonight, again. Just not as impactful as the first time. 

ALSO READ: The Lion King Hindi Trailer: Aryan Khan sounds exactly like dad Shah Rukh Khan as he aces Simba's voice

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