by Donny Yankellow
The original release of Disney's The Lion King is on of my favorite movies, if not my number 1 movie. If someone asks what my favorite movie is, The Lion King pops to mind first without even thinking. I've seen the original release at least 20+ times. I've seen the broadway show twice, and have loved it. When the new "live action" version came out a few days ago it became a must see. Does it live up to the original? Not exactly, but it excels in other ways.
Overall, the new release is the same story. There are some subtle changes and additions that don't hurt the movie at all. Big fans of the original, like myself, missed certain scenes, but the movie did not hurt from them missing. (I'm not going to get specific to avoid spoilers, even though most people know the story.) The additional scenes and details add to the story and were very enjoyable- especially the jungle creatures.
The live animals look of the movie is amazing. The way the CGI realism of the animals has been pushed is amazing. You think you are looking at real animals, for the most part. There were occasions where my eye noticed a clear digital creature, but this was rare. The flamingos were the pinkest flamingos I have ever seen. As for Samba, Nala, and the rest of the characters they looked amazing! The manes on the lions looked like real hair. I noticed veins in the lions body. They truly looked real.
Now, I have read that the characters lacked emotion. This might be where the original wins me over. The cartoon in the original Lion King were full fo expression. In this release, a lot of the expression is not there. I noticed a subtle smile hear and there, but the exaggerated smiles of a cartoon were not there. Most of the expression from this new variation come in the form of body movements and the vocal talents, not from the faces. This is most evident in Rafiki, Poomba, and Timone. Does this ruin the movie? Not at all. I just wish there was a little more expression in the characters.
Be warned that the fight scene at the end and the big Mufasa death scene are more realistic and violent than the original version. Younger children might have issues with it. In my theater a little girl was screaming during the big fight with Scar at the end.
Overall, the new release of The Lion King is a must see for any Lion King fan. Personally, I think the original and the live stage shows are better, but this new version is still great. For a new generation it will be their first exposure to the movie and possibly only one. Your mileage may vary, but it is a fun movie to take the family to- especially on a hot summer day--and YOU CAN NEVER HAVE 2 MUCH FUN!
Have an opinion on The Lion King? What movies are you seeing this summer? Comment below!
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