Lion King (2019)

In the age of unending Disney content, audiences watching the remake of The Lion King might be skeptical.

However, with the nostalgia of The Lion King added to the cast full of stars, it was hard to resist seeing this remake. 

The animation was the obvious highlight of the film, as the plot seldom deviated from the original. The landscape and characters were hyperrealistic and added to the level of intricacy in the film. The beginning of the film showcased these changes as all of the animals flock to pride rock to greet their new king. Even animals shown for a few seconds were meticulously realistic. 

The only flaw in the animation was the fight scene between Simba and Scar, which seemed clunky.

Nala’s role changed significantly for the better in the new film. Voiced by Beyonce, Nala now is a more independent lioness than she was in the first film.

Other favorite characters from the original reappeared in the remake of the film. The iconic duo of Timon and Pumbaa, voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, maintained the comedic energy of the film. The beloved Rafiki had a diminished and somewhat confusing role, as many of his lines were in Swahili. I was disappointed to see this change, as Rafiki was a strong character in the first film.

With the original Lion King winning an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1995, the remake was expected to create an equally impressive sound.

The score features most of the same songs from the original movie, but with a different sound with cast members such as Beyonce and Donald Glover. For example, the singers were permitted to have more personality in their songs, as some songs featured riffing. “Spirit”, a powerful song performed by Beyonce, accompanies a montage of Simba and Nala running home. 

The only disappointing aspect of the score was the transition of Scar’s song “Be Prepared” into a speech with background music.  

Certain aspects of the film were much more realistic than the original film, which featured lion cubs riding on the backs of ostriches and green striped zebras. The remake only featured movements and actions that would realistically happen, with the exception of Simba eating bugs as his main source of food. This confined the film into the strict bars of reality, taking away from the fun of the original.

This film seemed as if the animators at Disney wanted to take another crack at animating lions. Proving you can do the movie with improved animation does not mean a remake is necessary. Apart from it’s misgivings, the animation was excellent, the cast was incredibly talented and the music was stunning. 

Rated PG

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%

Traveler Score: C+

Miranda Stith is a news editor for the Arkansas Traveler, where she previously worked as a reporter from 2018-2019.

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