Film Review The Lion King

FILE - This file image released by Disney shows, from left, young Simba, voiced by JD McCrary, Timon, voiced by Billy Eichner, and Pumbaa, voiced by Seth Rogen, in a scene from "The Lion King." The Walt Disney Co. is ruling the box office again with the record-breaking debut of “The Lion King” this weekend. The studio says Sunday, July 21, 2019 that the photorealistic remake devoured an estimated $185 million in ticket sales from 4,725 North American locations. It’s a record for the month of July, PG-rated films and the ninth highest opening of all time.(Disney via AP, File)

KRISTEN HART/REPORTER

Kristen Hart/Reporter

Simba looks down to see the pebbles shaking at his paws. He slowly looks up to see the wildebeest running into the gorge with only one way to go. The camera zooms in on Simba’s face to reveal the terror Simba knows he now faces. The music starts with a heart-racing beat that plays along with what is clear on screen.

What happens next is a fast-paced, intense scene where you watch the villain’s master plan unfold. 

I am not describing what I saw in theaters two days ago. I am describing one of the most iconic scenes ever to be created by Disney that was released in theaters in 1994. 

A recreated version of this scene appears in “The Lion King” (2019). The new version was slow, lazy and looked terrible compared to the rest of the film.

You felt very little concern because the characters didn’t look concerned about the situation they were in. The scene sacrifices emotion, common sense and pacing for the sake of realism. This seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the film.

If you haven’t seen “The Lion King” (1994) before, you might want to consider it before you see the Disney Live-Action reimagining of the same name. Many of the jokes won’t make sense unless the viewer knows the original.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m not a big fan of the Disney’s money-grabbing series of films but I wanted to give “The Lion King” (2019) a chance.

The original Lion King is my favorite Disney movie. I watch it each year during my birthday week and I make my husband watch with me. I know every line, every lyric and every shot. That’s how I knew that 90 percent of this movie is a copy of the last one. The dialogue sounds like a student copying their friend’s essay and adding small changes to try and make it look different.

There are a couple of added scenes, including one where Simba’s mother has a different political stance than she did in the original movie, but nothing there really added anything to the story. 

Other than the stampede scene, which looks like a '90s kids show, this movie is beautiful. You can see the creators spent a lot of time trying to make the animals look as realistic as they could. So realistic, you can’t tell the difference in the lions. Again, Disney expects you to have seen the original. 

The antagonist lion Scar probably stands out the most out of everyone, but there were a few times though where I thought “Who is that?” and then figured it out based on my knowledge of the original.

If you are looking to watch this movie because of the story you might want to consider skipping this. Just watch the original.

Some positives: Simba is adorable I had to resist the urge to say “aww” each time that fuzzy little face was on screen. Zazu probably had more personality than any other character in the remake. I appreciate they tried to make his dialogue match his quick head turns and nervous personality. That’s about all I can think of.

I could go on about all the problems of the movie but there is a bigger problem here. 

This movie that is in no way better than the original has made a total $595,055,944 worldwide, according to boxofficemojo.com, as of July 25. 

We as an audience have told Disney that we don’t care anymore about creativity. We just want them to fuel our nostalgia so that is what they are doing.

Disney has already announce remakes for “Mulan,” “The Little Mermaid,” a “101 Dalmatians” remake titled “Cruella”, “Lady and the Tramp” and more. Disney shows no signs of ending this anytime soon.

I worry that this could lead to a less creative and far less magical Disney than the one that I knew and loved as a kid.

Kristen Hart is a reporter at the Hickory Daily Record with an abiding love of film.

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