“Familiarity breeds contempt”; this old proverb is starting to ring true when it comes to critical consensus regarding Disney’s attempt to transition its library of cartoon classics into what are essentially live action, paint by numbers remakes. Previous cinematic ventures into live action like Beauty and the Beast ($1.2 billion) and this year’s Aladdin ($1 billion), have fans lining up in droves, but have critics eviscerating Disney’s vanilla approach.
Who better to reverse the trend than Disney darling, Jon Favreau? The director of Iron Man and 2016’s The Jungle Book, steps behind the camera to bring arguably Disney’s most beloved film, The Lion King, to life. Favreau has created a world in which the animal kingdom is both palatable and magical. You will truly believe a lion can talk.
Without spoiling the fun for the handful of people who haven’t actually seen the animated classic, The Lion King centers around Simba (Donald Glover), a young lion prince and his ascension from awkward, adolescent cub, to eventually taking his rightful spot atop the food chain. Along the way he learns important life lessons from his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and the true value of friendship from a mischievous meerkat named Timon (Billy Eichner), and an overzealous warthog named Pumbaa (a scene stealing, Seth Rogen).
Sure, The Lion King is basically another shot for shot remake of its predecessor, but Favreau injects such joy and wonderment into the film that you can’t help but surmise that there are a new generation of children that might just prefer this more realistic version. To all you crabby critics, I have one problem-free philosophy: Hakuna Matata. This Lion King roars!
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By Scott Peterson
cinesportstalk.com | @CineSportsTalk