The Lion King
Length: 118 minutes / 1.97 hours
Many years ago, I learned that The Lion King (1994) was basically the plot of Hamlet reenacted with animals. And while many people consider the original 2D animated version of this story to be one of the greatest Disney movies ever created, I never really cared that much for it. Fast forward to 2019, and the new “live-action” version of The Lion King is released. Again, I wasn’t really wowed by anything in it because I was ambivalent to the whole story anyway. I did find it odd that they marketed it as “live-action” when it was completely CGI. It was an animated remake of an animated movie.
Perhaps my biggest issue with this new version of The Lion King was that they didn’t really change anything. It felt like the 1998 version of Psycho (1960) that recreated the whole movie shot-for-shot in color. While it was technically as close to the original movie as possible, it proved that a copy does not have the same amount of magic that makes the original a special piece of art. For the CGI version of The Lion King, there were no embellishments that other live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Aladdin (2019) called upon to enhance the story.
Another issue with this CGI version is what elements were prioritized in its visuals. While many animals do have fairly expressive behaviors, they are not nearly as expressive as the exaggerated emotions present in the 2D version. As such, this version felt flat and more like the voice actors were just talking over footage from a wildlife documentary. If anything, this is a testament to the power of today’s computers, as they are able to create animals that look as lifelike as possible—not that it helps tell an emotional story that well.
Technically proficient, but lacking the magic of the original, I give The Lion King 2.0 stars out of 5.