Lion King 2019: Good Movie, Bad Remake


25 years ago, Disney created the film The Lion King (1994). It was extremely well received and is currently the 9th highest-grossing animated film of all time. So much so that to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film’s release that recently passed, Disney made it their newest film to have a ‘live-action’ remake with The Lion King (2019).

The reason I put live-action in quotation marks is because unlike the other remakes, The Lion King was made entirely with CG. However, that didn’t get in the way of the pure realism the movie showed off, to which I have to give props to Disney. In terms of animation quality alone, this outranks many studios that animate exclusively using CG such as Illumination, Sony Pictures Animation, and even Pixar, but the realism also works against the remake.

The characters weren’t meant to be as realistic as they are in this movie. I had trouble identifying which lion was which, a nonexistent problem in the original. The facial expressions were less exaggerated to the point were there were minimal facial expressions at all. When I see a lion that realistic, I don’t expect English words to come out of its mouth. That really works against the film.

In the original, we saw the signature Disney cartoony look that made the story fit the character designs better. It’s more believable to have talking animals when they have a cartoon look. It’s easier to put human facial expressions on a cartoon. With hyper-realistic CG, it doesn’t look as natural as the original.

In terms of story, they changed nothing of importance. As in the original, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) attempts to become king by killing his brother Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and nephew Simba (JD McCrary, Donald Glover) with the help of a pack of hyenas.

The original film, in my opinion, is better than the remake.

If you plan on seeing this film, don’t let the PG rating fool you, there is very intense violence throughout. The realistic CG made scenes that were violent in the original even more violent due to the realism, but other than that the film is good for most ages.