According to the Critics Consensus, “While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved–though for some fans that may just be enough.”
It seems that reviewers have turned on the movie because it’s too faithful to the animated version but is that a bad thing. Seeing this story retold with “real” animals is still pretty amazing and with a tale like The Lion King, is it not better to take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach?
We’ll find out next weekend but you can read some reviews by hitting the “View List” button below.
“The Lion King” is hugely entertaining, from the dazzling visuals to the top-notch voice cast, which includes Donald Glover as the grown-up Simba, Beyoncé as his lioness ladylove and John Oliver as the neurotic hornbill Zazu. Yes, this movie is a safari to the shadowland, a place of death and fear where Simba ventures, early on, in disobedience of his father. And it’s just deep enough to give a cat who’s come of age something to sink his teeth into. [3.5/4]
SOURCE: The Washington Post
The Lion King is dead. Long live The Lion King. [4/5]
SOURCE: The Times
In an odd way, the power of this new Lion King comes from the outside: you soak up its astonishing photoreal visuals and marvel at the extraordinary progress that can occur within a single generation, yet still ache for everything that’s made way for it. [4/5]
SOURCE: The Telegraph
But by and large, very few remakes, other than Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot reproduction of Psycho, have adhered as closely to their original versions as this one does. Everything here is so safe and tame and carefully calculated as to seem predigested. There’s nary a surprise in the whole two hours.
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter
Ultimately, only Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, as slacker sidekicks Timon and Pumbaa, make much of an impression; their funny, possibly ad-libbed banter feels both fresh and true to the spirit of the characters—the perfect remake recipe. Just don’t look too hard at their character designs. They’re realistic, hideously.
SOURCE: AV Club
SOURCE: USA Today
The new movie about him is all “remember who you are” conventionality and no “hakuna matata” creativity. And while that makes for a perfectly respectable box office king, it doesn’t make for an especially interesting one.
So much of the new Lion King—the shots, their rhythm, the detail and content of every scene—felt as if it had been ripped directly from my memory banks, which got me thinking back to the interesting failure of Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot 1998 remake of Psycho. That movie was a case study in the difference between merely copying something and really reshaping it, getting one’s hands dirty. The Lion King, ultimately, is simply a copy—not a true remake. It’s exactly the movie Disney wanted to make, which is good news for them—but a shame for us.
SOURCE: Vanity Fair
nimated photorealism is going to have its day in the sun, and will find practical storytelling applications in something that will likely astound audiences down the road, and such is the precarious life of the visionary trying to forge new paths. But this lifeless nostalgic rehash that offers absolutely nothing new, aside from a shiny new leopard print aesthetic to tell the same exact story, just ain’t it. [C-]
SOURCE: The Playlist
If the film feels a little airless for all that open space, maybe it’s because the movie’s CG is so elaborately, meticulously made that it doesn’t leave much room for the spark of spontaneity. The story and the songs, with a few notable if hardly unexpected updates, are fondly faithful to the original; the magic mostly intact. Another reboot was never terribly necessary, maybe — but it’s good, still, to be King. [B+]
Look, I’ll admit, maybe it’s my lack of overwhelming familiarity (basically where I don’t remember every single beat) with the original that led to my reaction of, “Holy heck, what a movie!” But I think a lot of people will be in my situation. (And, honestly, I know what it’s like to lose a father now, so that aspect hit me pretty hard this time around, as opposed to 25 years ago. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this plays a role.) And, look, there will be plenty of reviews out there from people who love the original who may feel similar to how I do, or may feel differently. But if you want that perspective, The Lion King die-hard perspective, those are readily available. But The Lion King was a movie I had kind of forgotten about, and now it all came rushing back in Favreau’s new version and I was immersed. I tried to resist, but it got me.