• by Wes Singleton

The Lion King - C


Rated PG, 118 minutes

Boy, what a disappointment. Disney’s considerably uninspired and largely unnecessary new live-action remake “The Lion King” will only underscore the fact that most of the new remakes of beloved Disney animated classics has been a big mistake. Handsomely filmed with a handful of colorful moments, most of which come in its much-better second act, it’s not as original or thrilling as the 1994 classic. Is this Lion king? Nah, more like a cash cow. Moo, I mean, boo to Disney, who will take their hakuna matata all the way to the bank.

After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Great story? Check. Big cast? Check. Big name director? Check. Great, seamless special effects? Check. Why then is the new “Lion King” so lacking in heart as the touching original? It’s that it feels so unnecessary. It really does nothing different to make it any better. Granted, it has big shoes to fill with such an iconic blockbuster as the original “Lion King,” with was grand, epic and riveting. The new film is none of those things, even with Jon Favreau directing, who managed to remake “The Jungle Book” with such verve, along with a star-studded cast that includes Donald Glover (as the adult Simba), Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and most familiar, James Earl Jones, who reprises his role as Mufasa.

On that note, the new “Lion King” isn’t a terrible film per se, but compared to the original film, it doesn’t stand a chance. It doesn’t help that a much-too long, dour first act makes the audience wait a full hour to get to all the fun, music and Eichner and Rogen, who all but steal the film as Pumba and Timon, respectively. It’s all likable and serviceable enough, but then it really doesn’t enhance the first film in any way. If you’ve seen the animated version, and most likely you have, then you’ve seen this too.

Disney has clearly spent a lot of money on producing this, and this new “The Lion King” will likely do well at the box-office as they hav intended. But it’s still a big disappointment, and there’s no love to feel tonight. I hope Disney gets the message after this to leave their beloved classics alone. No more live-action remakes.


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