Jay’s Very Late Lion King Movie Review
The 1994 original Lion King basically shaped my entire childhood. The CGI remake tarnished that, which is what I was afraid of.
I was just a few years old when the original Lion King came into existence. I can say with complete confidence that there's no other movie I've seen as many times as The Lion King. Growing up, I remember begging my mom, over and over again, to let me watch it once more. It never ended, my entire childhood was basically centered around that movie. Like many of you who grew up in the mid-late 90's, the original film simply has a special place in my heart.
I remember being relatively upsert when the CGI remake was announced. Of course, I thought it would be cool to see that story that I grew up with, take a new body in 2019. However, I just knew in my heart that Hollywood in 2019 would find a way to mess it all up. So, I never watched it. In fact, I avoided it like the plague. I wouldn't even look at reviews online, and when it came out, I blocked all mentions of the title on my social media.
I just didn't want it to somehow tarnish the Lion King film that I've kept in my heart all these years.
Finally, tonight, I watched the movie. I originally planned on watching the 1994 film with my daughters, but after the opening sequence, both girls wanted to watch the new version. They absolutely love the new version, it is to them, what the original was to me.
I just didn't like the film. At all. From the opening sequence to the closing number, I felt like the film wasn't made for me, it was made for the new generation. There's obviously nothing wrong with that. I will say what I liked... I did enjoy seeing Donald Glover as an adult Simba. I especially loved Billy Eicher as Timon. I would go as far as saying 2019 Timon was easily my favorite part of the film.
For dislikes, I could write a novel. I absolutely hated the new rendition of "Hakuna Matata". It felt absolutely nothing like the original, it contained no magic or real connection. It was extremely flat, to me anyway. I love Beyonce, but I didn't enjoy hearing her as Nala. Mainly because Beyonce's voice is so recognizable and they allowed her to use her regular, normal speaking voice for the role. I hated the complete lack of John Kani's Rafiki. I will never understand why the remake pushed that character out as blatantly as they did.
Overall, the film felt much more like an almost-Planet Earth than it did a re-imagination of one of the greatest Disney stories and films of all time.
I wish I hadn't watched this movie, and I don't think I've ever truly thought that about any movie I have seen prior.