Remakes, the word probably causes some form of emotional response in you, whether its optimism at seeing a film done again or a tired cynicism and disbelief in Hollywood’s lack of new ideas. Over the last two decades, we have seen remakes of everything from The Evil Dead to Ghostbusters. Some add to the original in some meaningful way while others are just a transparent cash grab, it is in the latter category that we find the subject of today; Disney’s The Lion King. Disney has been on a quest to seemingly remakes as many of their classic animated films as quickly as they can, with 2019 having not only the Lion King but, also Alladin and Dumbo. The results are inconsistent; Dumbo was a bland mess of a film, while Alladin was surprisingly good and provided something new on the original animated film, The Lion King follows in the footstep of Dumbo. The 90’s Lion King was an undeniable classic, and no one seems to know this more than Disney. The 2019 live-action Lion King, while technically impressive, is also shot for shot the same as the original down to some of the lines of dialogue. They add nothing new; except for one or two new songs. This is not wholly a bad thing as it is nice to hear all the old songs again and see all the old characters, but it does make you question why this film was made as it does not justify its existence, which is the primary thing a remake needs to do. The only achievement of the Lion King remake is it shows the heightened form of near hyper-realistic CGI. When you realise how much of this film is CGI, you understand just how impressive it is. A justification of the remake would be to lure in new audiences and make a new version for the younger generation, and that would be an excellent reason for this film to exist if there was anything wrong with the original, but there isn’t. While this does work as dumb summer blockbuster fun, the same result could be achieved by having a re-released the original.
In many ways, this film is the inferior of the two, the cast highlights this; the new voice cast composing of the likes of Beyonce, and Donald Glover is just not memorable and a lot of the big-name stars who are in the film almost sound like they aren’t trying, perhaps they just couldn’t turn down that sweet Disney paycheck. This makes me worry about Disney’s upcoming live-action films like Mulan; hopefully, these films will follow after this years Alladin and add something to the original movie, otherwise, these films are going to start rubbing people the wrong way, and people will stop being interesting in them. The Lion King is by no means a bad film, nor is it a good film, it is a film that has no reason to exist. If you want to watch a film that captures all the same notes as the first Lion King, watch the classic animated film. Ultimately remakes aren’t going anywhere, in the end, Hollywood will remake all of our favourite films if there is still money in it for them. Hopefully, we can get more films like the Evil Dead, where the creative team want to add something to the property rather than do it for money’s sake.
5/5 (For the Original)