There’s something special about childhood memories. They deliver warmth to our minds and souls in the same way that freshly baked cookies do to our mouths. Something exists within their DNA that delivers peace and simpler times. No matter how hard we try to recreate that warmth – the fullness will never be present. Like Dwight Schrute once said nostalgia is powerful. Nostalgia can be intoxicating but it can never truly be duplicated. 2019 has been the year for Disney’s attempt to recreate that magic and warmth with nostalgia. Already giving us Dumbo & Aladdin earlier this year and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil still arriving in October. Even their television movies have cashed in with Kim Possible. Now, one of the most beloved films in their animated arsenal is getting ready to get the live action treatment in The Lion King.
This modern-day version tells the story of a young cub named Simba, who after mistakenly thinking he killed his father, goes on the run and befriends a warthog and lemur. The young cub must rediscover himself and his values when his homeland is overtaken by his evil uncle. The Lion King has always been a property with depth. Themes of identity, bullying, and community have always run wild within the heart of this film. Director, Jon Faveru, does a good job at crafting such themes for a modern audience. Allowing the legacy of The Lion King to continue in its’ traditional sense.
Though, The Lion King is a bit of a blessing and a curse. It’s a gorgeous film to gaze upon. The visual aesthetic of the animals and sets are absolutely astonishing. Disney has seriously set the bar high in the visual nature alone of this film. Though, it’s a curse in the same breath. The scenery is beautiful but that’s not always the case. When the lions need to convey emotion or even sometimes talk. I’m not the biggest anime fan and I’ve never really understood the complaint for bad dubs – until now. The first act of this film is littered with bad dubs. There are even some far-off shots with some dubs but the camera is far away to avoid the mouth. It feels purposeful and intentional.
Not to mention, the first act seems to be the source of its’ issues. On top of the bad dubs, emotionless characters – the voice acting can really take that to another level. Some of the delivery within the first act just feels flat and void of any emotion. Completely stoic in delivery. As if someone watched the source material and decided to do a version of The Lion King but as Scarlett Johannsen’s Major from Ghost in the Shell. By the climax of the movie, though, it does feel like these issues do end up correcting themselves.
Even for all of its’ issues, the movie continuously reminds you why you love these characters. Bringing back fan favorites like “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, “Be Prepared” & of course, “Hakuna Matata”. The Lion King is filled with iconic moments that are ushered in with new heart and humor. Though for this remake it’s the chemistry of Billy Eicher’s Timon & Seth Rogen’s Pumbaa who steal the show. The comedic timing between the duo is impeccable. Crafting some of the best one liners within the entirety of the movie.
Overall, The Lion King (2019), apparently can wait to be king. While the film beautifully recreates iconic scenes and songs on a gorgeous, realistic canvas – it feels empty. Thanks in part to some of its’ voice acting, line delivery, and emotionless animation. The Lion King can sometimes feel as though it is without a heart. It leads the pack with its strong visual aesthetic and phenomenal casting. The Lion King is fun trip down memory lane, though may not the one you wanted.