Twenty-five years after the original was released, “The Lion King remake hit theaters this week. With amazing animation and stunning visuals, the highly anticipated film looked promising.
With such a classic, staple film it was a high risk and unfortunately it came along with low reward. Although the scenery was astounding, the acting was lacking in emotion. With top celebrities such as Donald Glover, Beyonce, John Oliver and more, expectations were high. However, the dialogue, most of which remained exactly the same, was delivered with an almost bored attitude. It was almost as if the writers felt as if they couldn’t touch the original script at all.
Loveable Timon and Pumba, played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, were the saving grace of the movie. The actors stayed true to the characters while adding their own spin. The scenes with these two classic characters were effortless and comical. It was almost as if Eichner and Rogen just sat in a room together and improved the whole thing. A “Lion King 1 ½” remake would be a wonderful addition to the series.
Besides those two characters the other characters that shined were Zazu, voiced by John Oliver and the three hyenas, Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi, voiced by Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key and Eric Andre. These characters were also given new life, while staying true to their original roots. Shenzi seems to become more of a dark, boding villain and steps into the forefront, becoming more of a leader of the pack of hyenas. Scenes with Kamari and Azizi are light-hearted and comical.
For the most part the songs stayed the same, thankfully. However, the song sung by Scar, voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Be Prepared” while he is plotting against Mufasa, voiced by James Earl Jones, with the hyenas was sorely lacking in this rendition. The original featured a full on song with marching hyenas and flaring lava while this rendition was a short stint of what it was. Having kept most everything else the same, it came as a surprise that this scene was shortened.
Although many Disney remakes are a resounding success we could have done without this one. On Rotten Tomatoes it received a 55 percent on the tomatometer and 89 percent with audience ratings. And on IMDb it received a 6.8/10. For myself, an avid Disney fan, I give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.