An emotional, visually stunning re-working of Disney’s 1994 classic.
The Jungle Book, Aladdin, and soon Mulan, The Little Mermaid and more… Disney is currently going through a spell of remaking all our favourite childhood movies, but this time with the awe-inspiring technology that wasn’t available for their animated originals. 1994’s The Lion King was, and is, a popular favourite among children and adults alike, and now Jon Favreau’s remake has brought the undisputed classic into 2019, along with an all-star cast including Beyoncé, Donald Glover (Childish Gambino), Chiwetel Ejiofor and Seth Rogen. Prepare to be transported back to the days of rewatching the original on VHS, while staring in bewilderment at the staggering visuals.
Read our break-down of The Lion King below…
WHAT: As with the 1994 original, the story of Simba, a young (lion) prince who avenges his father Mufasa’s death, and takes his place as king from his evil uncle Scar, is very loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The remake – almost a shot-for-shot reimagining, but not quite – sticks to the same plot, with impressive photo-realism giving the more emotional scenes a heightened intensity. If you thought you were emotionally scarred by watching the animated Simba react to the tragic death of his father when you were a kid, try going through it again with lions that look so real they could have stepped out of a David Attenborough documentary.
WHERE: In theory, the African planes of the Serengeti, where Simba’s home, Pride Rock, stands in all its glory. In practice, the entire film was constructed using computer-generated imagery – The Lion King including not one human means that not only do we have no idea what time period the story is set in, but the remake can’t even be dubbed “live-action”. Still, the herds of vibrant, lifelike animals flocking to Pride Rock from all over the savanna to the majestic sounds of “The Circle of Life” is sure to bring a tear of wonder to anyone’s eye, or at least a lump in your throat.
STAR OF THE SHOW: Where the original had ‘90s stars like Matthew Broderick (a.k.a Ferris Bueller) as the adult Simba and Rowan Atkinson as the blundering dodo Zazu, the latest version has been blessed with Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as the comedy duo Timon and Pumbaa. Once again providing comic relief to the otherwise pretty heavy storyline, Eichner’s camp, neurotic Timon and Rogen’s slow-witted Pumbaa are perfect matches for their voice-acting counterparts.
WHO TO WATCH IT WITH: Someone who has an equally special place in their heart for the original. Just don’t see it on the big screen during the day, unless you want to share the experience with screaming kids.
STAND OUT SCENE: There are so many scenes which display the jaw-droppingly beautiful visuals that CGI technology now allows for, but Beyoncé and Donald Glover belting out their rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” is a definite highlight. Add to that the scene of Simba meeting Timon and Pumbaa for the first time, and Simba following his baboon-mentor Rafiki to a pool reflecting Mufasa looking back at him, and… basically the whole film.
WATCH IF: You grew up repeatedly singing ‘Hakuna Matata’ and you want to relish in your childhood nostalgia by experiencing the magic of the story all over again.
DON’T WATCH IF: You’re creeped out by talking, singing animals, in any capacity. Or if you hate Disney.
WONDERLAND REVIEW: 3/5