The Lion King - Five Reasons You’ll Love It
Turning their beloved animated classics into live-action blockbusters has proved to be seriously good business for Disney with over four and a half billion dollars thus far in box office receipts.
The third and last of 2019 of the efforts is a little different. The Lion King is, most definitely, a beloved animated classic, but with no human characters and the whole story voiced by talking animals, it’s unable to get the full live-action treatment.
That hasn’t stopped the studio and director Jon Favreau, who previously wowed audiences with The Jungle Book, from doing their damnedest to create a visual spectacle that is as close to live action as we’re ever going to get.
To help him get there, Favreau has assembled an all-star voice cast. Beyonce voices Nala, the love interest and partner in crime of the story's hero Simba, while Keegan-Michael Key, comedian Eric Andre and Black Panther's Florence Kasumba are menacing hyenas.
Donald Glover, last seen portraying Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars spin-off about young Han Solo, is Simba, while James Earl Jones, who recently returned to voice Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, portrays Mufasa, the character he voiced in the original 1994 animation.
Chiwetel Ejiofor takes the voice of villain Scar, with Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Kani and John Oliver also in key roles.
When it was first released, The Lion King grossed just shy of a billion dollars at the box office. It told the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba's uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile.
Can the new take match up to the original power and box office potency? We caught an early screening and have rounded up five reasons you’ll love it...
The effects are incredible…
The realisation of the animals is absolutely jaw-dropping. For large portions of this film, you could easily be watching a David Attenborough series set on the plains of Africa, the detail on the animals is that good. It’s incredible to watch.
Especially the interaction between the creatures…
Watching them feed together, play together, and, especially fight together, is breathtaking. It makes the film's epic climax extra special.
It’s very funny…
In particular, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner's Timon and Pumbaa, they bring a lot of joy every time they hit the screen.
The darkness of the original is still there…
Chiwetel Ejiofor's Scar is a different take from Jeremy Irons' in the 1994 original. Irons was theatrical and commanding, whereas Ejiofor's is brooding and far more sinister. Between him and the murderous looking hyenas, there's plenty of darkness to balance out the film's wild colour and vibrancy.
And so is the magic and wonder...
As with The Jungle Book and Beauty And The Beast, Favreau makes no diversions in plot or story from the original, with only one new song in the mix. The magic, the wide-eyed wonder and the heart of the original movie are preserved for this new telling.
The Lion King is released into cinemas on July 19th and will be available on DVD later this year.