Disney’s The Lion King (1994) holds a special place in my heart, as a kid I’d watch it over and over again (as my mum likes to tell me), which is why I was pretty excited when I heard about Favreau’s photoreal CG remake.
The Lion King (2019) feels like something crafted with love, care and attention to detail, and yes there are many shots throughout that have similar framing to its animated counterpart, but at no point did it feel like a cheap copy or that it was preying on my nostalgia just for the sake of it.
This film is a legitimate technical powerhouse of achievements, I was simply blown away by every pixel in every scene as somehow the fantastic folks at MPC Film managed to create a massive array of talking photoreal animals that never once felt wrong or ventured into the dreaded “Uncanny Valley” while still capturing the emotional performances of the powerhouse cast. I was really happy to see that the majority of the camera movements felt very grounded in reality and organic as if they had been shot out in the world. The rendering, lighting, animation and assets are all superb, you can see every little wrinkle on Rafiki’s face, Pumba’s tiny strands of messy hair, and don’t even get me started on the wet fur which looks phenomenal.
The visuals weren’t the only thing putting a smile on my face, even having seen the original, nothing felt repetitive and the new cast did such a great job here, specifically the work by Seth Rogan & Billy Eichner was a joy to behold, everyone really put in good performances and I really do like Glover as Simba. Obviously nobody really compares to James Earl Jones who returns to play Mufasa and I will admit the nostalgia train really did kick in with some of those lines as that iconic voice sent chills down my spine.
I want to also highlight the wonderful score here by Hans Zimmer it sounds better than ever along with the tweaks and additions to songs I legitimately had a grin on my face the entire time.
And please I want more Timone & Pumba.
The Lion King is out in cinemas next week, recommend!
Thanks to Disney Australia for the invite!