The Lion King live action remake carried huge expectations and naturally the bar was set high.The trailer came with a promise that we were about to relive our childhood. The movie used high quality CGI and a star studded cast to voice the legendary characters, including James Earl Jones, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, John Oliver,Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover. Did the movie live up to expectations read on to find out!
The first thing that is noticeable is the cinematography, the imagery is very vivid and at times colorful, the entire landscape of pride-rock and even beyond has been beautifully created, however all of it is short lived as the character begin conversing. The biggest flaw of the film is the lack of emotions and expressions on the face of the CGI lions. Their words are saying it but their faces are blank. There is no human element in the film and audience cannot relate to the characters at all. This is felt dearly when Mufasa dies and Simba is sad about his death, you can feel him crying from his voice but we see nothing on his face. It is moments like these that are cringe worthy.
As far as the screenplay is concerned, the movie undoubtedly is a copy paste version of the original for the most part with only slight changes which were rather unnecessary. Some of the iconic dialogues from the film have been included in the film which is good. Some scenes like when Scar eats Zazu, or when Zazu gets captured by the Hyenas and then again by Scar are all missing and these are just a few examples. The film has taken away the fun element and the innocence that resided in the original and given it a robotic feel.
The direction in terms of action sequences especially the one at the end between Simba and Scar is good.The stampede scene is also well executed. The second half of the film is considerably more enjoyable than the first which is rather dull.However the director Jon Favreau has failed to deliver an acceptable rendition of the much loved Disney classic.
The actors have done a great job with voicing the characters, John Oliver brings the fun element in Zazu, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar is villainous enough which was a pleasant surprise, Seth Rogen as Pumba and Billy Echiner as Timon have added the much needed humor.However they still cannot overshadow the major flaw of the film.
The songs have been well made with Beyonce working her magic in songs like Spirit. Hakunama Tata and In the Jungle are the most enjoyable songs and one may end up singing along, however the amount of colors and imaginative imagery used in the animation is immensely missing in these as well. The background score on the other hand does justice to the movie, the suspense music when young Simba and Nala go to the Hyenas cave, got us scared and worried for the young cubs.
Having said that the real question that arises is, when a great original exists, why should parents even bother with the live action one? In an attempt to make The Lion King realistic, the makers have completely missed the point and made it a national geographic documentary complemented with voices. It is nostalgia that draws you to the cinema and it is nostalgia that will make you dislike this one. The immense lack of emotion, soul and human element makes it an overall bland rendition of the Disney classic which is truly heart-breaking.