The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Walt Disney Pictures/Fairview Entertainment
This version of The Lion King is so technically dazzling, so bereft of heart, so wide-missing of any emotional mark, so utterly digital and soulless that even though I knew Jon Favreau was the director going in I was still stunned to not see Peter Jackson’s name somewhere near the top of the credits. It’s overly long, and the production sheen of such remarkable innovation sweeping itself like a magic wand all over and across any semblance of good old-fashioned storytelling – a video-game’s cold pixel-world where once there was the warmth of a classic Shakespearian tale – well…all hallmarks of Sir Peter-of-Wellywood…
It’s also flat out fucking redundant.
The voice-talent lined-up as if by Madame Tussauds’ junior intern with a headrush, drunk at the wheel: John Oliver in for Rowan Atkinson, Billy Eichner for Nathan Lane, Chiwetel Ejiofor trying his best to be a woke-Jeremy Irons. No.
If they knew James Earl Jones couldn’t be replaced why try to give us a new version of Scar? Why bother with a new fucking version of this film.
Just re-release the cartoon to cinemas. It wouldn’t have made all the money, but it might have spread some joy.
At best, this Lion King is a creepy-af nature doco.
Mummy, I fwightened that the vewwy weal lion gnashes and fights after speaking so nicely.
Oliver and Eichner – and Seth Rogen as the new Pumbaa – botch most of their lines, lose the clever humour of the original’s script.
As I watched, increasingly in horror, I thought about how the Toy Story brand’s genius (and what was Pixar overall) was in embracing to technology to further storytelling rather than wax right over it.
Even the big emotional moments were lost in this new world. Grown Simba sees the apparition of Mufasa in the water, but it’s really just a close approximation probably rendered via FaceApp.
And as John Oliver wasn’t even able to navigate anywhere near humour, and Billy Eichner sped right by it, trampling it, putting a couple of gunshots in the side of comedy, I thought about how the whole experience of watching this – technical dazzle aside, because who gives an actual fuck – was like when your non-funny co-worker attends their annual comedy festival event and attempts to water-cooler share the ‘best’ moments and jokes. And fails. Fails like this fucking overstuffed turkey of a remake.
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