“Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!” A few weeks ago, early reactions for Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, were mostly positive, with some calling it visually spectacular. However, things have quickly changed with the critic’s reviews. The upcoming live-action (photorealistic) adaptation currently sits at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many calling it “by-the-numbers”, “boring” and “dull”.
“Unfolding like the world’s longest and least convincing deepfake, Jon Favreau’s (almost) photorealistic remake of The Lion King is meant to represent the next step in Disney’s circle of life. Instead, this soulless chimera of a film comes off as little more than a glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate – a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail.” – IndieWire
“Like too many of these recent remakes of the Disney animated library, the emphasis is on “realism” at the expense of entertainment value. At almost every turn, this redo undercuts its own melodrama by downplaying its own emotions. The key direction seems to be ‘like the 1994 version, but less.'” – Forbes
“Everything here is so safe and tame and carefully calculated as to seem pre-digested. There’s nary a surprise in the whole two hours.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Ouch. Those are pretty harsh words. That said, there are a few critics who have positive things to say about the film. Personally, I’d watch it and make up my own mind about whether it’s a good or bad film. Critics have got it wrong in the past, and that could certainly be the case here. If you’ve enjoyed the many trailers that have recently released, it’s more than likely that you’ll enjoy the finished product.
The original animated The Lion King was a smashing success, raking in $766 million worldwide at the box office to become the highest-grossing animated feature of all time.
The 2019 film has managed to draw a stellar cast that includes Donald Glover, Beyonce, John Oliver, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.