Julius’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is one worthless cartoon. Even more of an exercise in repetition than I had feared. The whole stampede scene, as far as I can tell, is shot-for-shot the same as the original version. The Jungle Book had given me hope that Favreau would at least take some freedom with action set pieces like that, but nope. The main thing he does is make everything look worse and take longer. The animals barely emote (surprise!), when they move their mouths to talk it just looks wrong (surprise!), and you never believe those voices are coming out of those faces (surprise!).
Here's a complete list of things it changes in the story:
- Timon and Pumbaa get one extra scene where they explain what we already knew about their vision of life.
- Scar asks Sarabi to marry him and she refuses. This adds nothing, but explains away a Cinema Sins-complaint, I guess (the only thing I like about this is that it can be seen as a middle finger to those who think this story is an adaptation of Hamlet).
- The moment where Rafiki hits Simba on the head to make a point about the past aching (the highlight of the original movie) is gone.
There are also no goose-stepping hyenas during Be Prepared (which is shortened and arranged differently to accommodate Chiwetel Ejiofor's weak singing voice, and now it sucks). Billy Eichner gets (ad libs?) some funny lines, and Beyoncé kills her parts of Can You Feel the Love Tonight, but her doing a duet with Donald Glover really highlights that his voice is not in the same universe as hers.
But those are details. The main point is: this movie hates art and hates life, and I hate it.