The 2019 remake of Disney’s animated classic The Lion King is pure nostalgia. The “live-action” (read: photorealistic CGI) film is strikingly similar to the original 1994 film, satisfying fans returning to Pride Rock desire to reminisce.
At first, I was admittedly a bit skeptical about this remake (do we need a live action film for every animated one?), but my qualms were quickly laid to rest. Whether it’s the crisp cloudy blue skies or the fresh burnt ashes of fiery flames, I often forgot I was watching an animated film and not an actual live-action one. It was also amusing watching the hyperrealistic animals dancing around to musical numbers like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” (two of the four original songs that made a return for the remake).
While watching, you might be thinking, “I know that voice!” and it’s probably because you do. Simba and Nala are voiced by Donald Glover and Beyoncé, respectively. Mufasa? That’s James Earl Jones reprising his 1994 role. Zazu? That’s John Oliver. Sarabi? That’s Alfre Woodard. Chiwetel Ejiofor voices Scar while the three hyenas’ vocals are provided by Keegan Michael-Key, Eric Andre, and Florence Kasumba. Enough celebs for you?
Easily my favorite characters were Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen). Rogen’s laugh is undeniably contagious, and the duo make for some fun comic relief throughout the film. Not to mention they deliver one of the film’s best numbers, “Hakuna Matata.” Another animal highlight were the hyenas — turns out, I had no idea what actual hyenas looked like. Major props to the visual team there.
There’s no denying that audiences will almost always appreciate a Disney remake. The Lion King is now the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, surpassing Frozen by almost $400 million (raking in a total of $1.65 billion… so far). And if you are a fan of the live-action remake of The Jungle Book, chances are you’ll enjoy this one too. The Lion King used the same visual effects team, and Jon Favreau (who also helmed a little movie you might have heard of called Iron Man) returns to provide his directing chops.
Along with being the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, it’s also the highest-grossing musical of all time, the highest grossing remake of all time, and the highest grossing Walt Disney Pictures film of all time. So yeah, you might want to give it a watch.
The Lion King is available now for a one-time purchase of $5.99 (available through March 31, 2020).
Other new movies now Available:
The Passing Parade
Viewer Direction Advised
Angel of Mine
David Crosby: Remember My Name
Jazz: The Only Way of Life
Strange but True