The dazzling success and lasting joys of Disney & # 39; s animation from 1994, The Lion King, not to mention the stage musical that is still raking in millions, you might wonder why they should be concerned about a remake of live action.
To earn more millions, the short answer is.
But by the time the breathtaking Circle Of Life series opened Jon Favreau's exciting new movie, when hordes of African animals congregate on Pride Rock to pay homage to their newly born future sovereign, any cynicism would be like a snowman on the savannah have to melt.
Favreau & # 39; s previously popular version of The Jungle Book (2016), along with Kenneth Branagh & # 39; s Cinderella (2015) and Beauty And The Beast from 2017, have already demonstrated that Disney has its own classics not only lucratively but also with can recycle a lot of spirit.
The Lion King is perhaps the best remake ever, such as a Disney movie orchestrated by David Attenborough.
My own children, now all grown up, were often so devoted to the original that they had to be convinced that a live action Scar (uncle of Simba, the lion cub born as king) can be as dirty as the animated version spoken by Jeremy Irons. Or that the smelly meerkat warthog double act Timon and Pumbaa can be just as funny.
But I can't wait until they see this. It is beautifully done, and a wonderful platform for some of the best of all Disney songs – written and composed by the more fragrant double act by Tim Rice and Elton John.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it's a Shakespeare would have written, and in Hamlet, more or less did.
Simba (spoken at a young age by Donald Glover) is the leonine prince of the Pride Lands, the son of the mighty Mufasa (James Earl Jones, who remembered his role last time). But Mufasa is murdered by his treacherous brother Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who abandons Simba to take the blame.
Simba then escapes Scar's attempt to kill him, but enters into exile, making friends with Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and Timon (Billy Eichner), before being reunited with his childhood friend and future queen, Nala (Beyonce).
Encouraged and guided by the voice of his deceased father, Simba returns to the Pride Lands, lays down the despotic scar and assumes his rightful role as king.
The wizardry of Disney & # 39; s bells and whistles department sometimes has to be seen to be believed, while staggeringly realistic computer-animated animals talk, sing, wrestle, and stomp.
Zazu, the pompous hornbill bird voiced 25 years ago by Rowan Atkinson and now by John Oliver, the British comedian better known in the US than he is here, is particularly well represented.
Many scenes and many of the dialogues replicate exactly the 1994 animation, although fans of the original might object slightly to a few changes, such as the use of the F-word by the windy warthog (no, not that, that rhymes with & # 39; heart & # 39;) that was very avoided in the first movie.
Moreover, Favreau has not yet reproduced one of the most powerful sequences from his first version of The Lion King, the unmistakable image that may have been taken from Nazi Germany or modern North Korea, from a loyal army of hyenas passing by geese Scar.
In reality, there are other areas where this version does not fully measure. Traditional animation made the faces of the animals more expressive than they are here, and beautiful as the voice being cast, Ejiofor Ironen cannot match for fruity threat with baritone.
So if I had to choose, I would probably prefer the original. But there is still a lot to cherish, including a hilarious rendition of Hakuna Matata, the glorious song Timon and Pumbaa introducing Simba to help him forget his worries, not to mention Beyonce that Can You Feel Feel The Love Tonight.
It may also be that the twin themes of responsible and irresponsible leadership fit in better with our time than in 1994.
Still, irresistible as comparisons are, maybe they are ultimately meaningless.
This is a great film in itself and it definitely deserves to be suggested. It will certainly be a huge hit.
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