'The Lion King'-The Circle of Fan Service Life
Be careful what you wish for because it may come true. For a countless number of years, I've heard folks wonder what a live-action version of "The Lion King" would be. Well, there's a reason why filmmakers stray from the original material at times, and this film prominently displays that. As a fan, I know how it feels when something you love is destroyed in front of your very eyes. I'm a "Star Wars" fan, so you can imagine how I react to anything related to that series. Having the rare gratuity of witnessing a picture without such predisposed prominence, I feel like this is the best one can do when remaking a classic on a near shot to shot, line to line basis. The same story is told with no chances taken because to do so may be alienating towards a nostalgic fanbase.
I'm a 90's kid. I loved "Toy Story" "The Matrix" blew my mind, and I was confused by "The Phantom Menace" "The Lion King" was not at the top of my food chain. Coming out in 1994 "The Lion King" was overshadowed the next year by Pixar for me I suppose. Without that childhood integration, I have no passionate feelings for the original film but recognize its achievements through this one's failures. The hand-drawn animation is without question emotive to this day beyond John Faveru's impressive photo-realistic attempts. Yeah, the faces are flat thanks to copying what a real animal would look like, but you all knew that might be the case. To harp on the same point, everyone else has made thus far, the emotions of a real lion don't match the efforts of something that's created by hand on a piece of paper. The nuance of Simba's broken heart over the death of his father when lurking over his corpse is gone. The egotistical nature of Scar's smile is missing. Everything feels artificial. When watching a film that is so close to the original with a new coat of paint, its lack of trying anything new or creative provides a sense of absolute boredom. Fighting my sleep, I decided to recount what scene happens next in the original so I could get an idea of when the damn thing would be over.
A colleague of mine told me the idea of creating a "Lion King" film that doesn't use dialogue but rather actions coupled with reactions. Think of the first thirty minutes of "WALL-E " as an example. If you're going to make a photo-realistic version of "The Lion King," then necessary steps should be made to match that film's style. Having an actual Lion running around singing a song does not look right at all on film. Why not take a chance? Do something bold if you want to go in this visual direction. Such an idea would not work of course because Disney isn't interested in making a daring version of a property people are wistfully familiar with. Thus an approach for an uninspired visually stunning reenactment of a classic is made.
Aside from Chiwetel Ejiofor providing a slightly more menacing angle to Scar as opposed to Jeremy Irons' pompous interpretation of the character everyone else in the cast seems bored or on autopilot. Particularly Donald Glover as Adult Simba and Beyoncé as Nala. I didn't think it would be possible to make Matthew Boraderick have more charisma than you, but Donald phones it in so hard you can almost hear him counting his cash off-mic. If you believe that Singers have trouble acting, then Beyoncé won't help you change your perspective here. Beyoncé clearly did this role so she could insert her forgettable song into this picture with no interest in her character whatsoever. Whenever Nala would speak, I just imagined Beyoncé being on the phone with her agent while simultaneously delivering her dialogue as an afterthought.
If you were one of the fans who wished for a live-action version of "The Lion King," then you don't have a right to complain. You're the culprit that allows Disney to adapt their classic animated musicals into substandard remasters. These films aren't meant to go beyond the prisms of animation, yet it was your curiosity that killed the cat. As long as you keep giving Disney money to make such creatively bankrupt films, then you're to blame. I want to say let "The Lion King" be a lesson to you, but you already flocked to see "Aladdin" and "Beauty and The Beast." You'll flock to see "Pinocchio" if they adapt it. You'll flock to see "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." You'll flock to see "Hercules" "Pocahontas" "Sleeping Beauty" you'll see any of them because you're a drooling idiot who claps like a "Dumbo" when you see something familiar on-screen. Are you this stupid or are you smart enough to maybe invest in something original? I hope you are because you'll have a far more enriching experience at the movies if you give money towards something authentic. Stop killing classics with your petulant nostalgia and create new ones by speaking with your wallet. That's the real circle of life.