Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t the 1990s, but The Lion King, Toy Story and Men In Black have all been in theaters this year. It would seem that Hollywood has seemingly ran out of ideas, simply going with what worked in the past and retro is the current trend where things like clothing styles from the 1980s and 1990s are back in high demand, but it’s Hollywood that has lead this charge with film and television.
Disney’s latest “live-action” remake of one of its most popular films, The Lion King, definitely continues this theme of going back into the past to gain revenue in the present. However, I don’t believe this was Disney just trying to get movie-goers like myself, fans of the original The Lion King or Disney enthusiasts to spend their hard-earned money on yet another one of their films — even though, without a doubt, that’s definitely a large part of it. No, I believe films like this one, and all of the recent and upcoming live-action remakes Disney has planned, are done because of technology.
CGI gets increasingly better by the year and films like the original cartoon animated The Lion King have a greater chance of getting remade and retold — at least through a different lens so to speak — because of new and increasing technological advancement. This film is visually stunning and you can get lost in from time to time because the animal characters look so incredibly life-like. This is what Disney tried with the “live-action” The Jungle Book film, which even for just back in 2016 looked visually appealing, however, nothing like this film. It can only be assumed it will somehow only get better from here on out.
When you take something from animated form and bring it into a computer-generated “live-action” realistic setting, that adaptation has to set itself apart from its predecessor. If anything, that’s where this film fails — and I use that term “fails” very loosely. But if you watch this film and put it side by side next to the original, you basically get the same film. But who’s to say that’s not what fans wanted? Writers, directors and producers tend to overthink films of this magnitude, particularly if they are a reboot or adaptation. Disney already has fans’ attention with the title, so this shouldn’t be overthought by trying to be too different, but instead use the real-life setting to differentiate it from the original.
The one thing that remakes like Aladdin, Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella have as an advantage over The Lion King is the most live-action piece of all — the human element. That’s the missing piece in this adaptation because it seems as if everything is still animated — although in a more realistic way. Having live actors brings in even more emotion, which animation can’t fulfill, so with The Lion King being strictly wildlife characters, this was hard to accomplish and thus why it kept to a nearly shot for shot of the original — because how else could it differentiate itself? That, and when you watch this you find yourself waiting for the big moments you know are coming — like the death of Mufasa.
To be compared to the original is to be assumed, and without a doubt fair, so that obviously makes the original superior. Overall, I think this is up there as being one of the best “live-action” adaptations that Disney has produced, simply because it’s visually appealing in almost every way, it still has the same heart as the original as it brings you to emotion, and, obviously, it makes you sing-a-along, losing yourself in the fun of the film. Again, it’s only downfall is that it didn’t change, hardly at all but did anyone ask it to?
Here’s the final review: