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The Lion King Review

With the help from a peculiar pair of newfound friends, Simba must grow up and take back what is rightfully his when tragic events lead to the battle of Pride Rock.

Disney's most anticipated live action remake has arrived. "The Lion King" is one of the highest rated animations ever made and fans all over were astonished once the live action version was confirmed; as so was I. However, this is good and bad news. Good, because we get to revisit the kingdom we all know and love. Bad, because expectations are through the roof. To factor in, I must say that before seeing this film,  I did not re-watch the original, view clips, nor engage in the soundtrack. I wanted to have an open mind and only use the memory I have to see if the experience would be the same as the first. Unfortunately, not even close...

The film is not bad, but it is not amazing either. From the opening sequence, the magic is there and we are in for what seems like a promising event, but the momentum only decreases. I'll begin with what I did like. The CGI is outstanding. It does not get any better than this. The visuals are exquisite with every piece of lion fur bouncing off another. This film has surpassed any CGI we've seen in recent films, even "Avengers: Endgame". In terms of vocals, most of the singing is acceptable. I did enjoy Timon's (Billy Eichner) voice the most for his rich tone did bring that Disney magic to the film. Simba (Donald Glover) also has a great run of the musical number Hakuna Matata. The humor bows down to Timon and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) BY FAR. They were the only characters given the freedom to improv during the film and the new content they present is hysterical. It truly brings a light to the film. James Earl Jones as Mufasa is extremely nostalgic to the point that I could not tell the difference in his work between this and the original film. Another standout is Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who gives the best voice-over performance of them all. He brings the fire, the intensity and emotion in every scene in which he appears.

And that is it.

Everything else in the film is sub-par and literally a shot for shot remake of the original. Here is where it falls short. While the CGI is spectacular, we lose all character facial expressions. Doesn't seem important? Picture Simba having the same reaction when he's brought into the kingdom and when his father is killed (spoiler-I'm sure you've seen the original). It just does not add up and it takes away all the feels. Another issue is the shortening of musical numbers. Do not get your hopes up because there is a big chance that your favorite song is cut by more than a half. There is one new song sung by Beyonce, but I found it unnecessary, like her casting. The remaining characters did not bring anything new to the table and I am not sure if the production had limitations or their goal was to make the movie again just to show a clearer view.

If you want to, you can put the original film and this film side by side. Every aspect is almost identical and I know this is what people were expecting, but take note that every Disney live-action film thus far has added something new. I could have used a new scene, maybe a new character; something to keep the magic going for us fans and the new generation. Mainly, because after a while, I found the film to be boring. There is a reason this film was animated, and now I can see exactly why.

All fans should give it a chance. There are truly some breathtaking moments in this film.

Still, I think we could have went without this one.


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