The Lion King Remake Review: Unimaginative Cash Grab with Great CGI.

“Life’s not fair” Chiwitel Ejiofor’s Scar says in the opening minutes of the Lion King remake.
Well, this is certainly true for all the fans of the original Lion King out there because the 2019 remake is nothing more than an unimaginative cash grab.
I had hopes that it would turn out okay after the remake of Aladdin turned out to be good but, sadly, it was not to be.
I will get the positives out of the way first.
The CGI is incredible, the voice actors do a good job, and Scar’s introduction has surprisingly good cinematography compared with the rest of the film.
There, those three things are the only positives I have.
Now for the oh, so long list of negatives.
Probably my biggest problem with The Lion King 2019 is how it is an almost shot for shot remake.
I recognized so many shots from the original film that it was obvious they were simply trying to evoke the feelings of that movie rather than trying to do something new.

remake shot for shot.jpg
Many of the shots in the Lion King remake are blatantly taken from the original, which quickly becomes apparent in its opening minutes.

Worse still, whenever something differed from the original it failed spectacularly.
This is most evident with the musical numbers, which are incredibly boring compared to the first Lion King‘s.
Rather than the fast paced and vibrant dance moves we see there, the 2019 remake instead has the characters just blandly walking around and singing with no exciting movement to speak of.
This is by far the most apparent with “Be Prepared,” which lost so much of its power.
The reason for this, I speculate, is because the director, Jon Favreau, was trying to make the animals seem realistic.
And while he did succeed in this, with the CGI making the animals look incredibly realistic, this is also to the film’s detriment.
Because the lions and other animals are made to look so realistic they show no human-like expressions.
This creates an uncanny valley effect whenever an emotional scene is supposed to happen.
The characters’ faces do not match with what they are saying and their tone of voice.

lion king poster.jpg
This blank expression of Simba’s (Donald Glover) you see in the poster is pretty much all the emotion he shows throughout the entire movie.

Case in point, the gorge scene with the young Simba (JD McCrary) and Mufasa (James Earl Jones).
Not only is this scene downgraded to an almost laughable degree, but when Simba shouts his face has absolutely no emotion.
There is so little emotion or reactions on the animals faces in comparison with their voices that it creates a disconnect throughout the entire film.
Like I said, this also translates to the musical numbers, which are ruined for other reasons as well.
Take “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”, which is botched by the mere incompetent decision of having the song take place in a daytime scene.

Nala and Simba.jpg
Whose bright idea was it to have “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” play in the day?

Incompetent decisions like this can be seen all the way through, most obviously in a scene where we follow a tuft of Simba’s hair blowing in the wind, only to see it get eaten by a giraffe, excreted, and then pushed around by a dung beetle.
That’s right, someone thought it was a good idea to see an important part of the film literally being pushed around in a pile of dung.
This scene pretty much sums up most of my feelings about the remake when comparing it with the original.
In comparison to the animated Lion King, the 2019 remake is a pile of dung.
It may have good voice acting and singing from its cast, and incredible CGI, but almost everything else fails completely.

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