Have You Been Out to See the Lion King Yet?


Selas Rivers, Contributer

The latest Lion King has been out since July 17, 2019. Millions of Americans have already rushed out to the movies to see the live-action version of the animated version of The Lion King. The story  Some reviews on this real version have been positive and some have been negative.

One review, by a man named Abrar Al-Heeti 4 days after the movie’s release, has taken the stance of the movie being “too real”. Director Jon Favreau used CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) to produce this movie, which made it seem as if the producers had used real-life animals to design the plotted story. As the story goes, Simba, the son of Mufasa, will one day be king. Unfortunately, his uncle Scar wants to take the throne to be king. Ultimately, as a result of Scar’s coveting of the throne, sends Simba on an adventurous life journey of finding his purpose and destiny. Fortunately, Abrar describes how the new live-action version is true to the original plot of the animated film. He was really surprised at how CGI could make animals depict feelings to the audience through the character’s voices and facial expressions. For example, the expression of Simba’s sad expression or Scar’s anger is seen in the eyes. Abrar also mentions the humor throughout the film. The same humor that made him laugh 20 years ago, made him feel just the same in this new version of The Lion King. Abrar’s last comment is on the way that the characters were portrayed through the actor’s voices didn’t affect the storyline or character’s focus.

Another Critic, named Sarah Whitten, explains how critics are demonstrating conflicting views on whether the CGI version of The Lion King is outstanding in its simplicity or terrible in its originality. On the outstanding in its simplicity side, an industry expert from Las Vegas stated that it would be the highest-grossing film of the year, (Whitten). The CGI technique that was seen in The Jungle Book remake in 2016, now seen in The Lion King, sparked many people’s interests to go and captivate its essence of “reality” that is portrayed throughout the movie. A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote, “If a movie could be judged solely on technique, ‘The Lion King’ might qualify as a great one,”(Whitten). On the terrible in its originality side, a writer for IndieWire stated “Forget the original’s Busby Berkeley-like choreography of ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ or the unbridled expressionism of ‘Hakuna Matata,’ because all these hyper-realistic animals can do is walk around their drab environments and fall over each other,”(Source 2). These critics felt that the animated version is closer to them then the CGI version could ever be. The parts in the movie that had musical numbers were not as captivating as the animated version’s. Where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa would need their dance number, all they could do is small moves with their heads and body. This did not give the film a wholesome feel.

Another factor would be that because the animals were too real it made it harder for people to simply connect with the characters. Even though they had voices and certain personalities, giving people a real view of a real lion talking could falter their understanding between fictional and real standards. The next CGI film, well let’s hope it’s as real as its story should be.