In all honesty, I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing this movie apart from the visual elements it could offer that the original couldn’t; I had planned on waiting till it came out of DVD. My decision to watch it last Saturday morning was definitely off the cuff; a voice in my head kept telling me that perhaps it’ll be full of surprises and I’d enjoy it. Well, that voice was wrong, but not entirely to be fair.
Chiwetel Ejiofor’s as Scar was simply sublime. Through his performance, he perfectly exuded the menacing, witty and cunning mannerisms of the antagonist more than Jeremy Iron’s 1994 version did. The new musical numbers are good; when you have two music artists playing the lead characters i.e Glover and Beyonce, there is not much room for disappointment. Additionally, the comedic elements that Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumba brought to the table was exciting as well; there were certain references that the characters made to the real world that were funny, among a few other things. Nonetheless, there are certain times the comedy went a bit too far with personification which pulled me out of the allure of the setting.
That said, this live action adaptation was always going to play second fiddle to the original for two reasons. One, there are substantial nuances in emotion and spectacle that defined the 1994 movie but have been stripped away in this latest one. There are certain things that animated characters can do in their emotional expressions that live action versions of the said characters just can’t. Secondly, the whole plot of the new movie is just a ‘copy and paste’ version of the old one; they barely added in enough surprises or new plot elements and I considered that a huge disappointment. It did not offer anything rejuvenating that could make it it’s own film; a film which the current generation of kids can take ownership of, if you know what I mean.
Outside the main characters, the other animals in the Pride-lands offer nothing to the plot outside that iconic opening sequence during the presentation of a young Simba. In as much as Ejiofor’s performance as Scar was great, he had little to no character development, and that goes for many other characters as well.
All in all, this flick didn’t need to happen. In fact, none of these Disney remakes need to happen; all ‘Mickey Mouse’ is trying to do is tap into the audience’s nostalgia in the hope that it will translate to big bucks. The Lion King is a film you can go see for nostalgic purposes, some outstanding performances, appealing visuals and the new musical numbers, for sure. Beyond that, I am not so sure it is worth that theater ticket.