Lion King Live Action Review

The Lion King has been a trademark film from 1994 that touched many young hearts throughout the years. The characters, the emotions, and the story arose jovial feelings that made the movie a beloved one. With the anticipation of the live-action movie releasing 25 years later, the expectations were high. However, those expectations were definitely not met. Barring any technical criticism, The Lion King live-action didn’t leave the audience with the same impression as the original.

Spoiler Alert: The content below contains spoilers from The Lion King (2019).

Things that were missing:

1. The emotions:

Disney may be larger than life when it comes to characters but that is what makes them so relatable. The facial expressions that were so perfectly drawn out into the animation were completely absent in the live-action version. All that was left to go on was the voiceover.

2. The voiceovers:

Despite the star cast behind the scenes, from the original voice of James Earl Jones to the newest members like Beyoncé and Seth Rogan, it wasn’t impactful. The lack of emotions in the voices disengages the audience from the characters. 

3. The characters:

The emotions and the unenthused voiceover made the characters less believable excluding the amazing graphics. Scar’s wittiness and evil flair from the animation was underdeveloped and only exuded a brooding antagonist. Rafiki had a more intellectual and spiritual presence in the original than in the live-action. The hyenas had a head hyena which made it less humorous and therefore less impactful. The trio of silly hyenas brought a comedic element that has been attributed to the story for decades.

4. Missing scenes:

For those who are avid fans of The Lion King, they know the entire movie line by line and scene by scene. Many impactful scenes were missing or changed in the reboot. Though Scar killing Mufasa was heavily impactful, the extra hit to the face was unnecessary and actually took impact away from the scene. Rafiki teaching Simba about learning from the past was an impactful scene that was missing.

5. Speed:

The overall tempo of the movie felt rushed. The fight scenes, the dialogue delivery, and even scenes where time lapses seemed fast-forwarded. All the while, some scenes were elongated beyond necessity.

6. Songs:

This one may be 50-50. While some songs were done well, the majority were not. The green flair of Scar while he sings “Be Prepared” was certainly missing both literally and figuratively. The scene was not fun to watch and again lacked in connection with the audience.

Things that were done well: 

  1. The graphics were very realistic, despite the lack of facial expressions.
  2. The circle of life. The song was done justice to and was as impactful as the original. 
  3. Timon and Pumba were a breath of fresh air. Seth Rogen as Pumba was exquisite as usual, with his humorous and carefree personality. Billy Eichner did a good job complementing Rogen to make a dynamic duo that brought life to the expressionless graphics.  

The cons certainly outshine the pros, nonetheless, the live-action is a must-watch for all The Lion King fans. It offers nothing new but a chance to relive childhood memories and maybe even have a nice family day out. According to IMBD, the original The Lion King has a rating of 8.5 and the live-action has a rating of 7.1. As can be expected, the original is much better while the reboot leaves much to desire.


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