The Lion King review round-up: From 'monumental achievement' to 'missed out the simplicity', film divides critics

FP Staff

Jul 12, 2019 13:31:53 IST

Disney's The Lion King has been one of the beloved animated films and as it returns to theaters with live-action technology, fans are much excited to witness the classic tale on celluloid. With one of the strongest voice casts ever assembled, the film re-imagines Simba's journey to claim his throne of Pride lands.

While some critics call The Lion King as a “visually stunning” treat, others are have slammed it as little more than a “deepfake”, and that the remake does not really do any justice to the original.

The Lion King review round-up: From monumental achievement to missed out the simplicity, film divides critics

A still from The Lion King. Image from Twitter

Read some of the critics' reviews here

David Elrich of IndieWire criticised the live-action remake calling it 'deepfake,' and wrote in his review, “The Lion King demands that we suspend our disbelief at the same time that it tries to convince us that we don’t have to, and the resulting dissonance is so draining that it becomes hard to remember how special this story once felt. Unfolding like the world’s longest and least convincing deepfake, Jon Favreau’s (almost) photorealistic remake of ‘The Lion King’ is meant to represent the next step in Disney’s circle of life. Instead, this soulless chimera of a film comes off as little more than a glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate — a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail.”

Yet on the other end of the spectrum, Uproxx's Mike Ryan says, “There’s a scene featuring a dung beetle pushing a ball of giraffes— across the desert, and I was mesmerized. People will argue if a remake of ‘The Lion King’ is ‘necessary’ (we’ll get to that), but putting that aside for a second: ‘The Lion King’ is a monumental achievement of technological advancement. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

While the critics are acknowledging the technological advancements, they are divided on the front if the film achieving 'realism' is actually a good thing.

“This new version of ‘The Lion King’ isn’t realism; it’s literalism,” TheWrap’s William Bibbiani writes. “This is what it would actually look like if the events in a Disney animated movie happened in real life. Sometimes it’s fascinating, frequently it’s ludicrous, and sometimes — like when an incredibly realistic animal dies on-screen in front of you while its only child mourns him — it’s borderline grotesque.”

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw also had quite a mixed review for the new release. “The new Lion King gains in shock and awe while losing in character and wit." Despite praising the CGI work - "these are walking, talking animals that are realer than real” - ultimately, the critic was left cold: "I missed the simplicity and vividness of the original hand-drawn images."

"Though the new ground it breaks is visual rather than dramatic or emotional," Kenneth Turan sums up LA Times' movie as "satisfying entertainment" despite being somewhat ambivalent towards Chiwetel Ejiofor's Scar – "less theatrically evil than Jeremy Irons."

The Lion King is slated to release in India on 19 July.

Updated Date: Jul 12, 2019 13:31:53 IST