We reported last week that the remake of The Lion King made it to the billion dollar club in box office and that income continues to grow and grow. Despite this incredible amount of money being made, the film has left a lot to be desired in the eyes of many Disney fans. But Jazz (aka, me) from SszeeMedia went to see the film yesterday and I’m making a case for this film.
Audience expectation is vital within filmmaking – if the general consensus is that a film is going to tank then the likelihood is that it will purely from word of mouth. However, if people are hyped for a film then that hype will spread even if the film isn’t great. What happened with the remake of The Lion King (1994) was that fans were automatically angry about the fact that such a classic was being remade in the first place. Which is totally understandable as many grew up with the film and it is one of those ‘no touchie’ iconic films that many believe can’t be remade.
Can I suggest something to you guys that may make the film seem different? I wouldn’t call it a remake but more of an enhancement of an original classic.
Disney have been doing the rounds of recreating their films to ‘live action’ and for all of the past films, this has been great as they have mixed CGI with live action actors in a way that has breathed new life into the films. However, for The Lion King, they obviously couldn’t bring in real lions. So, they did the next best thing. They created photorealistic animation which made the film feel like a David Attenborough documentary rather than a cartoon. This is where some confusion comes in for me as people saw this as a flaw, whereas I see it as something to be celebrated.
When Mufasa first appeared in the ‘Circle of Life’ sequence at the beginning of the film, my jaw literally dropped. The animation was so realistic that it looked as if there was a real lion standing there. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and then it soon came about in my reading that this was what people hated – they said that how real the animals looked distracted them from the story as it looked even more strange that they were speaking and singing.
For me, it had the opposite effect. I felt more involved because as an animal lover, it felt like I was really watching these animals experiencing these things. Especially during Mufasa’s death – it felt like one of those moments in Planet Earth when you can see that something is going to happen to the animal and you want so desperately to break through the screen and save them. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest and fall into the gorge right with him.
I’m not saying the film is without flaws. There were moments I didn’t like such as ‘Be Prepared’, I think it would have been better if they had just cut that out instead of how they handled it. I also didn’t like Seth Rogen’s casting as Pumbaa and I feel they really wasted an opportunity to make the Cloud-Mufasa scene crazy beautiful.
But I think it was its own art piece in its own right and that Jon Favreau accomplished something that was truly insane in terms of visual effects. Overall, I would rate the film ★★★½ purely because of the beauty of it. I knew I loved the story and it was so exciting to see it portrayed in a new manner that was so aesthetically pleasing.