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  • Writer's pictureKaveh Jalinous

The Lion King (2019): Film Review

Dear Disney: Can we cool it with these remakes? It's not like anyone really wants them, and they are ruining all the original classics we grew up with and loved, so can we maybe just stop it with the money-thirst and greediness? Can we think of some original ideas, and give audiences a new and refreshing story that's worth it? Is that too much to ask in  anymore? As you can see from above, and if you've read any of my other reviews, I am not a fan of Disney's cheap ploy to recycle all of their old films and claim that they are "new and refreshed" without changing very much. In my opinion, I think that all it is is manipulating audiences to provide even more money into their frighteningly large empire, something extremely horrifying and disturbing. But regardless, here we are yet again, having to experience the initial shock and anger of realizing that yet another one of our favourite childhood films has just been dragged through the mud. But this time, it hurts even more, as it is a film that defines a generation, and changed the animated film game forever. This time, the studio has ruined The f**king Lion King, and no, I am not okay with that. The film tells the story, and yes, the exact story, of the classic beloved 1994 film, with a few minor changes, including a Beyoncé song, dialogue from a few characters, and a new albeit unneeded plot-point that adds entirely nothing to the story. There is very little that has changed about the story, and although it's what most fans of the original movie wanted to see when the first trailer came out, it's not entirely a good thing. Let me explain why. The movie is nothing but a bland, emotionless mess with nothing to stick itself out. The film sacrifices beautiful hand-drawn animation with vivid colors and bold pastels to replace it with nothing but way-too-accurate CGI, which does nothing but hurt the film at the end of the day. The CGI somehow un-defines the characters, reducing them to nothing but the lions that you can catch on Animal Planet Network any time of the day. During "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (which, for some odd, horrible, blasphemous reason - is shot in the middle of the day), director Jon Faverau wants us to believe that it's some grand moment between superstars Donald Glover and Beyoncé, when in reality, it looks like something I could have watched on the National Geographic Channel last night. And don't even get me started on Chiwetel Ejiofor's "Be Prepared" rendition, which includes absolutely no singing until the last ten seconds of the song. This is a musical, how can you get rid of the music! Even worse, the film's attempt at dry humor, while sacrificing the very jokes that made the first film so entertaining, is plain awful (mild spoilers ahead). Instead of showing the downright hilarious scene of Timon and Pumbaa acting as "Hawaiian Live Bait" that still pleases audiences after 25 years, we get nothing but an unfunny "spacial awareness" joke between the hyenas that fails to get any reaction from the audience, let alone laughter. Even worse, the CGI makes nothing stand out - everything is the same exact color, and it is often hard to tell which lion is which. The final fight scene is an absolute mess, and is one of the hardest scenes to track what exactly is happening. Luckily, at that point in the movie, I couldn't give a damn what was ocurring on the screen, because I was too busy daydreaming about the 1994 movie or Broadway Musical, the two far superior versions of the beautiful story. The voice actors are simply just there, and don't add any creativity or freshness to the new version, aside from Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner, who do a great job playing Timon and Pumbaa (relative to the other actors from this version, of course). Finally, why is this film so damn long? It clocks at 29 minutes longer than the original version, and as stated earlier in this review, it has entirely zero justification for being that long. With horrible directing and plot decisions, there is nothing left to say but: no, I am not feeling the love tonight (or in the remake's case, the afternoon). At the end of the day, The Lion King does the exact opposite of what people were going to assume it was going to do. While the public naturally thought that The Lion King would overdo itself, adding too much material to a near-perfect script; the film seems to do the exact opposite, adding too little material to justify its existence. And by doing that, Disney Studios has just proved that it's their world, and we are just living in it. The Lion King (2019) is nothing but a soulless and emotionless cash grab, with no avid reason to exist besides a studio's overwhelming thirst for more money. And for that and more, nope.


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