The new look The Lion King is exactly the movie it promised to be: the same plot as the Disney classic realised with the incredible technology that powered Disney’s stellar 2016 remake of The Jungle Book.
The result has been hailed a ‘live action’ adaptation of The Lion King, but that isn’t quite right. This new version is completely animated, just like the original, but this time the filmmakers are going for a true-to-life aesthetic rather than cartoon. The result is jaw-dropping, with animals and landscapes that look absolutely authentic. This is top special effects work, game-changing even, allowing audiences to experience a deeply revered story in an all new way.
The Lion King follows young cub Simba who is next in line to be king. When tragedy strikes however, Simba blames himself and runs from his birthright. It’s a story that many know, and is populated by characters that fans know and love: Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu, Nala, Mufasa and Scar… and let’s not forget Rafiki!
Just don’t expect things to play out significantly different from the original. It’s not a shot-for-shot remake (how could it be given this version is almost half an hour longer?), but it very much so hits all the same time-honoured beats. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, 2016’s The Jungle Book) isn’t reinventing the wheel so much as replicating it with modern technology, while smartly adding and updating where appropriate.
If you’re looking for a different spin on the story then you’ll likely be disappointed. Not me though – I got pretty much exactly what I wanted: the classic story of The Lion King brought to life with unbelievable CGI, a mostly new voice cast (James Earl Jones returns as Mufasa) and composer Hans Zimmer’s iconic score, revamped and remastered. It’s Disney’s best ‘live action’ adaptation yet!