Review: The Lion King (2019)

Like promised here is my review for the 2019 film The Lion King, the reboot of the 1994 animated Disney movie of the same name. It is another installment of the Disney reboots coming out over the recent years.

Before I start, can I just ask “Why are Disney releasing two of their biggest hits in one year?” I don’t get it. I know they have a lot of popular Disney movies out there but Aladdin and The Lion King definitely belong to the big ones out there and I am really surprised to see them in the same year. Well, maybe it is just because they are my favorite Disney movies.

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General

If you haven’t watched The Lion King yet…well, were you ever a kid? Okay, if you don’t remember the story: Simba, son of the current lion king Mufasa, enjoys his life as the next king and throws it in everyone’s face. He also tends to get into trouble with his best friend Nala. One day his uncle Scar (who we know is the villain in the story) tricks him into a dangerous situation and makes Mufasa try to save his son. While trying to save him he is killed by Scar and the uncle makes Simba feel guilty for his father’s death, so the little lion runs away. All alone he meets Timon, a cheeky meerkat, and Pumbaa, a friendly warthog. They teach him to let go of the past and live for the future and he grows up with them. While he is away Scar tells everyone Mufasa and Simba are dead and takes over as king of the Pride Lands. He pretty much ruins the territory. Nala goes off to search for help and meets Simba, and the rest you can watch in cinemas.

I love The Lion King but I do admit I haven’t watched it for some time since I just could not stomach Mufasa’s death again. This was such a shock and pretty much Disney’s most dramatic death scene since Bambi.

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But when Disney announced they were gonna reboot The Lion King with a real life animated movie I was definitely gonna watch it, despite all the doubts I had. The Lion King is known for it’s great music and it has some pretty great animated song sequences. But if you want to convert that to real-life animation you have to cut a lot of the animation down since a lot of the stuff could never happen in real life (you remember the pyramid of animals in “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”?) I doubted they could convert it well and thought the movie would suffer from that. I wasn’t totally wrong but I wasn’t right either.

The songs

The songs in the new movie are pretty much the same we know from the original, except there is a new montage song when Simba goes back to the Pride Lands…except for that I don’t think there are any other new songs. But what about the songs we know? Okay, be prepared to be a little bit disappointed here. They really did their best with the songs and to renew them with some new sass and modern styles but some songs where changed and cut down pretty obviously. The singing itself is nice and the voice cast did a good job delivering the lines according to their characters attitudes and feelings.

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About the animation sequences: They did as much as you can do if you want to do it in real-life animation. And Disney did well. It looks really good and seems reasonable. Like Zazu not being sat on by a rhino but being distracted by the other animals. Disney did an amazing job with the sequences, they look beautiful while also staying true to the original. The only thing I did not like was the first song. In the original opening scene and the “Cicle of Life” sequence, they played a lot with the colors and light but in this animated movie it was a lot more chaotic and so. I mean the scene itself isn’t gonna happen in real life anyway but it would have been nice to see it a little more dramatic. Overall I’m pretty happy and satisfied with the songs though. The Lion King is known for it’s music and Disney did a great job at delivering them!

The animation

Now let’s talk about the animation in general. Not much to talk about there though. It. Is. Absolutely. Amazing. Seriously, it is. It looks so real and it’s so detailed…no wonder the movie cost them over 250 million US-Dollars. The animators are definitely geniuses and the animation is really great.

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The story and fillers

In Aladdin, they had to add a lot of filler scenes and change some stuff because it was either not politically correct anymore or it would have made no sense. There are some things you can do in 2D-animated movies, you cannot do in live-action or real-life animated movies. That’s how it is. In The Lion King there were also a few not really correct jokes and Disney changed them for the 2019 movie. In general, they stuck to the original storyline and scenes pretty tightly but the script did change to some part. While the lions pretty much stuck to the original script (except for some fillers, like Scar wanting to get Sarabi, Simba’s mother, to be his queen) the characters who suffered most from script changing were Timon and Pumbaa. Some jokes were cut while other lines were added. I do remember a few jokes you would not be able to make today, so I understand the changes. Still, Timon and Pumbaa are great in the movie and Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner did a great job at delivering their lines.

For most of the movie, Disney stayed loyal to the original and only added stuff, that made it more modern or added some interesting story lines that weren’t there in the original.

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Overall

Overall the movie is a great reminder of the 1994 original and makes you remember all the great times watching the movie and being sucked into the world of The Lion King. The animation is great and the songs are modern but still similar enough to the original. I’m positively surprised by the movie and definitely love it, although different to the Aladdin reboot – the original The Lion King will still be on top of the 2019 reboot.

Still I recommend watching it in cinema. It is an adventure you don’t get everyday and while you may know the story it keeps you on your seat and enjoying the movie as if it was your first time watching the The Lion King story. So enjoy one of the biggest Disney movies in new animation and have a great time with the characters we all know and love!

One thought on “Review: The Lion King (2019)”

  1. It’s crazy how they wanted to make a live-action movie even though there are no human characters in it.

    I used to be a huge fan of this movie as a kid, but I’m not anymore for a few reasons. First of all, Disney plagiarized so many characters, scenes, and plot points from the 1965 anime series Kimba the White Lion and they still haven’t owned up to it. Second of all, they trademarked the phrase „Hakuna Matata“. They didn’t invent that phrase and it’s cultural appropriation against 90 million Swahili speakers. Thirdly, I can’t stand the racist implications of the hyenas and the elephant graveyard situation is eerily similar to elements of the Congolese Genocide or Shark Island in the Namibian Genocide. Fourthly, Disney swindled the Linda family by not crediting Solomon Linda for being the real songwriter of „The Lion Sleeps Tonight“.

    I just wish Disney was better at crediting these sources and being respectful to African cultures.

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