Last night, I had the privilege of seeing the remake of the classic Disney movie The Lion King. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive after seeing its ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and sites like that. I think the rating on RT was like 53% or something. Having said that, I really enjoyed the movie! My biggest gripe with it was it didn’t really seem to have the same “heart” as the original. I feel the original 1994 version was, and still is, more almost heartfelt than the 2019 version. James Earl Jones reprised his role as Mufasa and I could not be happier with that decision!
Another issue that my family had was with the theater itself. There was ZERO surround sound! Normally that wouldn’t bother me, but I think for a movie like Lion King, with all the African drums and noises and everything, it’d be kind of essential. Another thing I noticed was that there seemed to be a bigger role for Nala. Nala was played by Beyoncé and I think she did a great job! They gave her almost a “leader” role among the lionesses. There is also more of a “romantic” relationship between Scar and Sarabi, Simba’s mom.
I am not trying to compare the remake to the original too much, but I can’t help it. I am such a huge fan of the original movie. Lion King is my favorite animated Disney movie, just behind Aladdin. I have a sentimental attachment to the movie since I probably wore out my VHS copy of it when I was a kid.
Moving on, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner played Timon and Pumbaa. They, of course, are the comic relief of the otherwise dark movie. Seth Rogen did a great job as Pumbaa! His character and personality just made for a great Pumbaa! Billy Eichner was funny as Timon. Actually, one of my favorite parts of the movie was when they referenced Beauty and the Beast. During the final fight scene between Scar and Simba, Simba tells Timon and Pumbaa he needs live bait to distract the hyenas. In the original, Nathan Lane ad-libbed the famous line “Well what do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?!” In lieu of this, in the 2019 version, Timon starts singing the opening lines of “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. It was hysterical!
Scar was noticeably darker in this movie than the original. That isn’t really saying much, seeing as Scar was already a pretty dark character in the 1994 version. But in the remake, Scar seemed even more menacing than in the original.
Simba was played by Donald Glover. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Simba in the remake, but I do actually prefer Matthew Broderick over Donald Glover. I think it’s the sentimental feeling of having grown up with the original. Matthew Broderick seemed to have more heart and emotion than Donald Glover. That’s not a jab at Donald. He did an amazing job. He had some big shoes to fill from the original version.
So did I enjoy the movie? Yes. As I stated, I do prefer the original but this was a really good remake! The opening sequence was almost shot-for-shot from the 1994 version and I loved that! I actually started tearing up when I heard the opening African notes and lyrics. It was reminiscent of my past. So would I recommend this movie? Yes I would. Definitely. I think the reason the ratings were nor higher on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic was because they were expecting something as good as the original and didn’t get the original. I agree with them on the grounds that it was not as good as the original, but it stands on its own. Jon Favreau did a great job and the CG was incredible lifelike!
I am not going to tell you what to think of this movie. You’ll just have to go out, see it for yourself, and form your own opinion. So that’s my review of the Lion King 2019. Let me know what you think and if you plan on seeing this movie. Thanks for reading!