- Directed and Produced by Jon Favreau
- July 9, 2019 (Hollywood) / July 19, 2019 (US)
- Simba-Donald Glover
- Young Simba-JD McCrary
- Scar-Chiwetel Ejiofor
- Mufasa-James Earl Jones
- Sarabi-Alfre Woodard
- Nala-Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
- Young Nala-Shahadi Wright Joseph
- Timon-Billy Eichner
- Pumbaa-Seth Rogan
- Rafiki-John Kani
- Zazu-John Oliver
- Sarafina-Penny Johnson Gerald
- Shenzi-Florence Kasumba
- Kamari-Keegan-Michael Key
- Azizi-Eric André
A lion prince and his father are targeted by his devious uncle who seeks to take the throne.
This “live action” The Lion King is a more serious version of the animated classic and you know what? It manages to be very good if not a near classic on its own. It’s not a pale imitation of the original but rather a more dramatic telling of the story as first presented. Much of this movie follows the pattern of the original. Aside from the more serious take on the hyenas, this movie is very similar to the original.
I’m not saying this is a beat for beat copy of the first film but what this version does is fix or polish up any issues that were believed to have been in the first movie. It is not a film related in broad strokes with similar character names and a vaguely recognizable narrative. And that’s what a remake should do. It should focus on making the story presented in the original better. It shouldn’t be just a similarly themed movie that with names and titles transposed from one to the other.
One thing that they didn’t fix though was the issue with Simba believing he killed his dad. The runaway moment works a little better, but Simba still believes he is responsible for the death of his father even though it’s clear-I would say even to a child-that there is no logic to him being an accidental murderer. I still don’t get why this child felt the need to stay away forever until he was brought back by Nala. I could see maybe him staying away for a little while before running back to his mother.
The is comfort food at its best. Perhaps that has something to do with James Earl Jones returning to his iconic role of Mufasa. He is the only actor from the first version to come back and much of the dialogue for the character here is taken or very similar to what was originally presented.
Calling this ‘live action’ might be a little bit off base. I’m not sure how much real stuff is in this movie but it’s clearly largely CGI. This is as much CGI has Walking with Dinosaurs or even Avatar. It is some really amazing stuff but very little is real
It is very hard to nearly impossible to tell the difference between what is fake and what is real. Makes me think that in theory you could do a whole nature documentary and not photograph a bit of nature based on what they did here. It’s that good.
All the performances are excellent. They hired some quality voice work. My only gripe is Scar. Chiwetel Ejiofor doesn’t do too bad but Jeremy Irons sounded so much more evil than this guy does. Ejiofor sounds like a bad dude but not ‘I’m going to murder my nephew and destroy everything just so I can get some power’ evil like Jeremy Irons did. He comes off more like an Alpha Asshole.
The Lion King 2019 is as good if not a hair better than the first film. It’s just as witty and exciting and Shakespearean level drama as the first. It is definitely worth a watch.