The Lion King movie brings back memories galore, refreshes what you were once a huge fan of. All the characters from the prequel get painted once again, this time more realistically, a feat that could have been achieved only with the aid of technology.
Yes, it is a technological wonder if you pay attention to the minutiae that resurrect them critters out of nothing. These animals seem very real. Even better than what we had seen in the year 2016 in The Jungle Book movie that the same director Jon Favreau had created.
It’s a year of remakes and reboots especially for Disney that is bent on making live-action movies of their animated originals. Almost as if someone has recently stepped up into the office, someone who can’t stand cartoons and is trying to turn them into live-action movies.
Jokes apart, the Lion King movie is good but it isn’t, as is obvious, as great as the original animated version from 1994. Well, in its defense you might say,
“Hey! it was basically the same. How come this isn’t as good?”
The Main Issue with The Lion King
There is still a little something that constantly badgers the insides of your head. Where does the problem lie? It lies in basically you understanding an animal’s mindset.
With animation, it was a tad easier to see them move their faces. You know, you could easily discern what a character was thinking, or feeling. Because their expressions used to be spot on.
But when things become realistic here, you can barely read their expressions primarily because there aren’t any. You are forced to rely heavily on the music and the ongoing situation to get in sync with any particular scene.
As a result, it is very hard to feel for a character.
Our Inability to Feel
While on one hand, it is something that remains a loud and vocal fact that stops you from thoroughly relating to these animals, inhibits you from really “being there” with them. On the other hand, it also forces you to think, making way for that misanthrope in you who just can’t wait to express.
One of those gut-wrenching facts that hurl you towards a whirlpool of thoughts is that you are forced to ponder on your inability to feel for literally any animal in the world. A cow is just a cow to you that can’t think. A pig is just a pig to you coz you don’t understand their grunts.
How do you tell what an animal is going through? We can’t read their faces. And that is why we have been ruling their kind as if they don’t mind, that they have been created to serve our purpose. That man is a rightful owner of everything on the planet.
How brazen of us! Man is indeed a monster.
Timon and Pumbaa
It feels a bit weird having watched Timon and Pumbaa in the animated version where a talking Meerkat and a Warthog felt quite tangible. However, in here, when they put actual flesh and bones in them, they end up feeling different species altogether.
Pumbaa is beyond recognition. Although originally even the animated version was trying to insinuate a warthog, converting it into a live-action version feels simply bizarre. He is barely visible underneath his thick skin.
Whatever happened to the laughing and smiling warthog of our childhood? Even Timon feels lost without his smiling face. The way he used to say,
“Pumbaa, pumbaa, pumbaa!”
and those big lips of his used to flare, with all his hand-motion. Ah! Those were the good times!
In trying to make these characters very real, Disney ends up messing with our childhood. No offense, but this film feels like a memory-messer. It tries to write over some good memories but fails to beat the original. I surmise some things should be better left intact.
You can order The Lion King movie from here:
Cinematography and Visual Effects
Goes without saying that the visual effects of the movie are downright staggering. The reason why it feels so magnificent. Not for a second, do you doubt its surreal realism.
The cinematography of The Lion King movie is next level too. Take for example this shot:
Simply badass! It’s already very vocal. Seems to be as if speaking out its perversion out loud. You see this and the first thing you want to do is run.
You cannot also overlook simple authentic movements like the flicking of the ear, or the tail, or the soft growl that accompanies their voice, or a hyena’s laugh. They have paid a lot of attention in turning these animals life like.
Voiceovers and Characters in King, The Lion
To top all that we have amazing voiceovers. Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s Scar is simply breathtaking. The way a villain’s voice needs to be.
Scar is probably one of those characters from the movie that you would remember for a really long time.
Simba by Donald Glover has done a great job too. He is quite soft-spoken, his thoughts laced with unadulterated genuineness playing a character who is constantly running away from his past. There is self-doubt galore and Donald does him a lot of justice.
Beyonce‘s Nala is not far behind. She is forever there fighting for what’s right.
James Earl Jones as Mufasa is fantastic. There is gravity aplenty in his voice. It is well suited for a character like that of Mufasa.
You cannot also overlook Shenzi voiced by Florence Kasumba. Playing second fiddle to a villain who is nothing without her, she is one of those very powerful characters who speaks for an entire community of hyenas.
Other Issues (Spoilers)
Watching something as abysmal as his father’s death in The Lion King movie, Simba is broken. To bear the weight of that, and blaming himself for its cause, is something that is hard to swing back from.
Unfortunately, the movie puts a musical right in the middle of his grief. The song Hakuna Matata shouldn’t have come at a juncture when Simba was still grieving.
To allow the audience really feel the grievous nature of the situation, I think we needed time to lament. They should have given him some time to ponder, and brood or get himself engaged into something to belie a proper sense of time span. Only time heals things after all.
Rushing into a song took away the grimness that the scene required. Add that to the fact that you couldn’t really witness Simba broken because of him being live-action, makes everything hard to digest.
The Final Verdict
How easy is that? Watching the animated version whenever you feel like. But we still don’t do it. It is when someone decides to make a movie that we realize the import of good times. After watching this, I want to go back and watch the original.
If you haven’t watched the original from 1994, I would recommend you to watch that first.
But if you are not a fan of cartoons, then I guess this live-action version is specifically handcrafted for you.
Check out the trailer of The Lion King movie here: