THE LION KING (2019) – A Review by John Strange
The Lion King is a story that has delighted and enthralled young and old since its release on June 24, 1994, (yes, 25 years ago!). Many of the youngsters who saw Simba’s story back then are now old enough to introduce their own children to it. This coming of age story of a young lion in the African grasslands is a wonderful tale filled with good vs. evil, honor, and the love of family.
The Lion King is Disney’s newest remake of a classic animated feature using a combination of CGI and live-action. Unlike Aladdin, the filmmakers have chosen to keep the story pretty much the same as the original. Characters like Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) are there to give us the same songs as the original film. There is even a new soundtrack CD featuring the new cast available on July 19, 2019.
Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is there, every bit as terrifying as before. We even have a similar but new version of the humor we got from the two hyenas. Plus, of course, we have Nala (Beyoncé, Alfre Woodard), Rafiki (John Kani), and Zazu (John Oliver) on the side of the good guys.
There is the same love of family, both Simba’s (Donald Glover) immediate family and the pride as a whole (discounting Scar, of course). Mufasa (the amazing voice of James Earl Jones), Simba’s father, is as handsome as Scar is ugly. This carries over into their personalities with the king being warm and caring while the brother is dark and evil.
Overall, this is a very good film. Jon Favreau has done an excellent job with not only the story but the visuals. The grasslands are warm and inviting, the elephant graveyard is dark and forbidding, and the forest where our favorite meerkat and warthog live is almost a paradise.
It’s a film that fans of The Lion King will want to see but some may be disappointed as it’s almost too close to the original. Plus, there is the problem that the mouths don’t move as we expect them to following the animated version. Still, I give it an “A” for effort.
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, John Kani, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, Amy Sedaris, Beyoncé, Alfre Woodard, Eric André, JD McCrary, John Oliver, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Florence Kasumba
MPAA Rating: PG (for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements)
Selig Rating: A-
Runtime: 118 Min.
Movie Site: movies.disney.com/the-lion-king-2019
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.