Evan Lee Ambrose’s review published on Letterboxd:
🦁 The Lion King (2019) Rant Review 🦁
Warning: Some content in this review may be seen as “offensive.”
I have high hopes that Jon Favreau’s The Lion King remake will go down as the greatest bank robbery in the history of cinema. Some of you won’t even know it because you’re so animatronically attached to your nostalgia, but if you have seen the original and went to go see this 2019 “renovation,” you have officially been bamboozled.
If you couldn’t tell already, I hated it. And I hated it a LOT more than I expected to hate it. I recall back in 2017 hearing about this remake and verbatim devising only one—JUST ONE—dire wish which was for this supposed “live-action” reboot to not dish out to be an exact, carbon copy of the 1994 original classic. But as luck can occasionally run out in times like these, Disney’s latest strive to use our childhoods as a manner of enkindling financial luxury (AKA this anti-passion project known as the 2019 Lion King) has the courageous wills of a chair. Simultaneously, this revamp manufactures itself as one of those “rare, cinematic, copy-and-paste misdemeanors” which—in this case to my recollection—hasn’t been spotted out since Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho was released back in 1998.
Fun fact, I’m having a difficult time rating this movie because…I don’t even know if it’s even fair to consider it a movie? It’s more like a 4K transfer or 3D rendering of a movie I was already fine with in the first place except the bonus features of this special edition, consumerist marketed release features lifeless voice acting (rather than sterling voice acting), gammier music (rather than better music), zero charm (rather than…some charm), and an unnecessarily yanked out length (rather than a sufficiently condensed length).
Reviewing the 2019 Lion King is like reviewing a damn product on Amazon rather than reviewing a movie on a media site. Are you (insert offensive phrase here) kidding me? Is this seriously what film has come to people? Paying to see this movie in theaters after watching the original Lion King is the precise equivalent of ordering two different movies online and then receiving two identical copies of one of those movies but not receiving a copy of the other film you purchased—with no refunds too!
For those who liked this movie, I want you to take a zen, quick second to close your eyes, and go through the rationales behind why you, quote on quote, “liked” this (ugh) movie. Sit down, crisscross-applesauce, put your palms on your legs, back straightened, find a steady pace for your breathing, and just think.
Did you like it because you knew ever meager detail that was going to happen? Is the consummation of being an egocentrically prideful know-it-all really worth blinding yourself to reality? That reality being that you are abusively forcing yourself to support a product that is directed towards unlocking memories rather than filling them with new, exuberant ones?
When you whisper the lines of your favorite characters before they get to say them themselves is it out of love for this new film that you have chosen to watch or is out of love for that special, special film that already exists—that film you grew up loving—that film that is already at the convenience of your television screens—that film that needs no renditions, no visual improvements because that matter it was made up with long ago, long before, was the matter that made you love it in the first place.
Okay, no? Well then, was it the special effects—which is the only half-decent asset about this movie but the impressions of it wear off pretty quick and there’s no doubt it won’t hold up in years to come? Because, I can name about hundreds of other films that have astonishingly impressive CGI spectacles. Doesn’t mean it’s a good movie.
Plus, hearing actual, realistic-looking animals talk withers the effect and central point of making an “animated” film with talking animals because that medium allows the unordinary to seem ordinary. I am reluctantly perplexed why folks are calling this a “technical achievement” when Favreau had already accomplished this sort of marvel in Disney’s 2016 The Jungle Book—which on a side-note, was an authentic Disney remake that provided a worthwhile reinterpretation of its source material’s story.
It’s sorrowful seeing such remarkable special effects artists having to waste their talent on blather like this instead of on something with an independent narrative. The added half star is for them, otherwise this “movie” would get zero stars because this isn’t a REAL MOVIE AND YOU CAN’T GIVE MOVIE-RATING STARS TO NON-MOVIES CAN YOU, HUH? “Deep breaths Evan, deep breathes. I am one with the world around me, I am one with the world around me, I am one with the world around me…”
Think about it. I truly think you can improve the original Lion King—honestly, I do! But CLEARLY that was not the goal of the executives or writers (or plagiarizers) as they took no criticism from the original into account nor did they even think to add some fresh, respectable or…(hey, screw it!)…goofy ideas into the story that could shape the film’s set-and-stone source material into something, at the very least, different. I deadass would’ve rather seen the filmmakers here butcher this entire movie start to finish because at the very most they would be attempting to do something novel with the story—even if it sucks!
How much longer are we going to be dopey zombies to this cooperation who treats fans with this kind of stunt? How much longer are you going to smack on a happy little smile and unconsciously like whatever Disney decides to cook up next? Are you seriously that submissive and compliant that you’re willing to crack yourself into digging something you already knew you dug decades ago just because it has a freshly squeezed, “NEW” scent to it?
So, let me ask you Disney fanatics. Does this, truth be told, meet your criteria standards for an acceptable live-action remake? Supposedly, for most, it does, so let me step out of your path. Film fans, are you afraid for the future? This is the uprising, but quite possibly the end (we can only hope) of an inglorious practice that could become favored amongst American societies.
You think brainless blockbusters, the “jump scare” horror epidemic, the controversial war of political correctness being integrated into modern films is an issue? Pffft! That is nothing when compared to the freakish thought that in our near future, duplications will be at large, and we will be at a descent where we will never be able to receive a remotely original movie…ever…again…
I think I’ve gotten my point across. I think I’ve said all that needs to be said about Da Wion Keeng. Disney has officially made their first “product” that they are marketing as a “movie,” but at its heart, isn’t remotely what movies are about. F### this…thing? It’s an absolute scam. I can’t see any other pile of rubbish out there topping it this year. Peace!
💩 Verdict: F