Movie Review – The Lion King

The latest Disney remake landed in theaters. The Lion King is one of the most iconic animations of all time. I am sure there is no child from the 90’s who has not watched it with its parents. That’s why this remake is reviewed under a magnifying glass. So, after watching it, I will express my opinion on the subject in the following paragraphs.

In order to evaluate the movie, there are several factors to consider. Namely, how close it is to the original, the acting/voice acting and emotional weight. These are the three factors that are most relevant to the comparison between the 1994 masterpiece and the 2019 remake. With all this in mind, let’s get down to the comparison.


1. How close it is to the original


The truth is that the live adaptation is 99% identical to the original. This is completely expected given that it is a remake, but as the saying goes, there is not even one “misstep”. There are one or two missed scenes at the expense of one or two added, but almost no difference can be seen. On one hand this is good, because it retains the soul of the original, but on the other, it does not provide any new experience. After all, the idea is to recreate the movie for the younger generation. Apparently, Disney has decided to follow the formula “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” with which I agree on 100%. In conclusion, I can say that while it does not provide new experiences, it does not need changing.


2. Acting/Voice Acting


Whether you watch it with original English audio or with Bulgarian dubbing, it is almost perfect. The actors who voice our favorite characters do their best, which in this case is more than desirable, given the problem that will be discussed in the next section. The cast in the original English audio is more than recognizable. I won’t list everyone here, but IMDB has the full list. You might recognize Beyonce as Naala and John Oliver as Zazu. They must be given credit for their wonderful performance, given that voice acting is perhaps more difficult than standard acting.


3. Emotional weight


Here is the subtle point. With it comes the problem, and it is that in their quest to make animals “real”, they have completely eliminated their emotionality. After all, a lion can’t smile. As a consequence, you hear Beyoncé approach Simba while their expressions are bland as a stone. There is absolutely no synchronization between the emotions expressed on the face and those in the voice. It’s like a pineapple quoting poetry. Although the remake was extremely successful, this almost ruined the experience for me. That’s why I mentioned that the actors have to give more than usual to compensate for this problem. And yet, it still didn’t work out for me. The strongest moments, such as Mufasa’s death and the battle between Simba and Scar, were just pale. On top of that, apparently the animators have decided to make the “real” movements that the animals make, which results in Timon telling a joke while looking in the other direction and shaking. As I said, the contrast between sound and action is big. 


In conclusion, the remake is not bad. It does what originally intended and resembles authentic environment with beautiful landscapes. It also captures the original’s emotions in a more “realistic” way. However, as “talking” animals are extremely “realistic”, fans like me don’t really understand why choose one and forget the other. To be honest, the movie is extremely successful and maybe I’ve grown accustomed to emotions coming from animated characters. Non-emotional talkin lion, just doesn’t work for me. The landscapes are truly beautiful and everybody will find something for them in the movie. Children will love it for sure, because the spirit of The Lion King lives within this remake as well. Hakuna Matata!