The big screen comeback of The Lion King will surely wow a new generation of moviegoers. I watched this as a teen, some 25 years ago, and it has always been one of my favorite Disney films. If the animation was breathtaking then, the live-action remake is simply sensational!
Director Jon Favreau (equally known as Happy from Ironman and Spiderman) brings his filmmaking genius to breathe in new life to the timeless story. As we watched the premiere at the IMAX theatre in SM MOA, my film buff son whispered, “Mom, do you realize nothing on the screen is really real? Everything is CGI generated. Awesome!” And he is right! The animals looked so real, you’d think they got lion tamers to teach the feline creatures how to speak, too! Favreau, who directed The Jungle Book, pushes the boundaries in filmmaking to take The Lion King to the big screen by using live-action techniques and photoreal computer-generated imagery. The expansive Pride Lands and all the savanna creatures were created within a game engine and this allowed the director leeway to set up as many shots as he walked around the studios.
A story about coming of age, family, betrayal, love, friendship, death and rebirth — The Lion King is a movie with lessons that cross over generations and is as relevant today as it was when it was first shown.
Favreau was also very respectful to the original script, allowing minor revisions that worked to make the film more captivating and funnier. The soul of the story is intact. To realize his vision, he had to assemble an all-star cast of performers to voice the well-loved (and loathed) characters. Donald Glover is the destined king Simba, Beyonce is the fierce lioness Nala, the incomparable James Earl Jones reprised his role as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor is Scar the scheming uncle, Seth Rogen is the friendly warthog Pumbaa and Billy Eichner is the wisecracking meerkat Timon. Alfre Woodard plays Sarabi and John Oliver, Zazu.
Pharell Williams musical arrangement is fresh but I wish he did not make as many changes as he did with “Be Prepared.” Jeremy Irons (I missed him in this movie!) made Scar an iconic, impossibly unforgettable, menacing villain. His low voice and drawling British accent are forever imprinted on Disney fans. Ejiofor only sang the very last part of the abbreviated lyrics which left the audience pining for the old and wanting for more.
I love that the lionesses took center stage in the film. They lead attack parties, hunt for the pride and don’t bow down to false kings. Beyonce is the perfect choice for the courageous Nala.
A story about coming of age, family, betrayal, love, friendship, death and rebirth — The Lion King is a movie with lessons that cross over generations and is as relevant today as it was when it was first shown. Watch it in theatres and be amazed!
With a pocketful of glitter,