Following a series of live action remakes of classic Disney animated films, it was only a matter of time before The Lion King got its due. Ground-breaking, endearing, and absolutely revolutionary, the original 1994 animated film is without a doubt one of Disney’s most enduring and exceptional productions. With a whole generation of fans who grew up with the films of the Disney Renaissance, it’s only natural that 2019’s The Lion King reigns as one of the most anticipated films of the year.
The 2019 Remake is a visual & technical masterpiece
Directed by Jon Favreau, the 2019 remake dives deep into realism, utilising jaw-dropping visual effects as computer-generated herds of zebras, elephants and antelopes stride across a majestic African landscape. Alongside 2016’s The Jungle Book (which was also directed by Favreau), Disney proves once again that it can animate hyper-realistic animals in service of the stories that it tells. With “The Circle of Life” playing over the opening minutes of the film, it is apparent that the House of Mouse remembers everything that fans loved about the original film.
hyperrealism is a double-edged sword
However, the film’s remarkable devotion to computer generated imagery isn’t without its detriments. 1994’s The Lion King, while a story that draws heavily from mythological and archetypal tales, is an incredibly stylised animated film that utilises elements such as exaggerated facial expressions to enhance its delivery (because actual animals can’t convey emotion the way human faces do).
By having a strong emphasis on realistic portrayals of its characters, the animals of the 2019 remake are almost too convincing and don’t emote the way their animated predecessors did, which results in the film creating an emotional gap between the audience.
The Film Benefits from Its Source Material
In spite of its issues with the characters’ delivery at times, 2019’s The Lion King possesses other redeeming qualities. By leaning heavily on the original work, it benefits from the many strengths of its source material. Everything from the plot to the script, the music to its themes are replicated from the original work. Aside from a couple of additions, 2019’s The Lion King is a faithful retelling that pays homage to one of the greatest animated films ever made.
Ultimately, The Lion King is an almost beat-to-beat retelling that manages to emulate the magic of the 1994 classic. With its ground-breaking visual effects, an incredibly talented cast of voice actors and actresses, as well as a library of memorable characters, 2019’s The Lion King is bound to satisfy moviegoers who are looking to recapture that ’90s Disney nostalgia. While some may have hoped that Favreau and company took more creative risks with the project, it is undeniable that The Lion King remains a technological marvel of hyperrealism.