You guys know I love to review Disney movies for you guys, aside from Aladdin…..I’m just not ready for that yet. But, we went to see the Lion King in usual style, with my crew and I thought it would be nice to have a few fresh opinions on this one from two kids that have always been die hard Lion King fans. My tie to the classic originals sometimes makes my reviews a bit…..well, bitter, so I’m turning it over to @theprincessndtheblog and Brock for their take on their beloved Lion King.

Hold on to your grubs…..this is sure to be slimy, yet satisfying! 

Movie Review by: Kenneth Brock Pence

With the release of The Lion King Official Teaser Trailer on April 10, 2019, I instantly had a very high expectation of what a modern take on this Disney classic would bring.

Disney’s The Lion King, originally viewed by the masses in the mid 1990’s, was a box office smash second to none. Being an Academy and Golden Globe nominee and winning film, it has a standard of excellence for the modern film to uphold.

I believe you would be hard pressed to locate an individual who cannot replicate the legendary cry of Lebo Morake as the African sun breaks over the horizon during the open act of this 1994 blockbuster.

With that in mind, my imagination burst into flames with the impending masterpiece that the 2019 version would be. National Geographic meets Shakespeare, Masterful CGI and the melodies of Hans Zimmer, TIMON and PUMBAA, again and again my mind raced to grasp what I would eventually have the honor to see. To place it in simple terms, the original film is the greatest animation experience I have had to date. 

With that feeling in the back of my mind, I patiently anticipated the modern, live action story. The evening was finally here. I calmly purchased my ticket and waited for everyone to arrive. Skipping through twenty minutes of people watching, we got the snacks, seats, and cell phones silenced. I endured the agonizing commercials, trailers, and PSAs. Finally, yes finally, the moment had come…”Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba”. 

I want to give a friendly warning here, spoilers ahead. 

One question:? Would you prefer the good news or the bad news? 

Let’s start with the Bad and find some hope in the end.

In my opinion:

In the most basic words, it was a disgrace to Disney’s original masterpiece. The run time is an hour and fifty eight minutes, but it feels much longer. The cast fell flat in 90% of their lines, having one or two moments of resemblance to the original.

  • Beyoncé, while currently holding the role of massive icon, was not iconic in one way in her role as Nala.
  • I believe the refusal to use Jeremy Irons for the role of Scar, left the character weak and lacking a sense of evil.
  • I do not appreciate the additional lines of dialogue for James Earl Jones.
  • Donald Glover’s interpretation of Simba is average.
  • Zazu held some character depth, but the deeper voice can be bothersome.
  • The hyenas lacked a sense of insanity. Shenzi now the leader. Ed talked too much, and the recurring joke of personal space wasn’t comedic.
  • The elephant graveyard lacked acid.
  • I was disappointed that Rafiki didn’t carry his staff, nor did he quote his famous squash banana gibberish. Also, he failed to speak the famous lines, “It is time!”.
  • One large issue, the animals lacked any facial emotion and movement, and I believe it caused the development team to dull the lines delivered in dialogue to create a central audiovisual que.
  • They auto-tuned every song…which can only be termed as synthetic. “Be prepared“, a villainous staple, is completely watered down to nothing.
  • In the original, Timon and Pumbaa “Dress and Drag, Do the Hula”, this scene was cut and replaced with a sad excuse for “Be Our Guest“.
  • Finally, Pumbaa continually jokes about flatulence with Timon, but he says fart within Hakuna Matata, cardinal sin in my book. This movie didn’t feel African only wild. 

If you’ve read this far, here’s the good news. 

  • The graphics are really on point, making me want to smell the elephants spraying dirt from Soarin.
  • The score is great, not the songs, the audio played between scenes and when certain characters appear.
  • The initial mouse-Scar scene is creative.
  • Rafiki feels whole.
  • The imagery of Mufusa was muscular and powerful.
  • Scars imagery was contrary to Mufusa, being weak and lazy.
  • The storm scene where Mufasa speaks to Simba is beautiful and very vivid to create a sense of realism, or as real as a lion shaped storm could be.
  • The opening scene is a frame for frame perfect recreation from the original. It was a complete joy to witness. Short of a hand full of funny or witty lines, those are all the positives I can seem to remember. 

Final Grade: D- 

With that, I’d like to thank you for reading my first review. As always, you are free to form your own opinion, and I encourage you to do so. Have a magical day! 

-Kenneth Brock Pence

Movie Review by: theprinessndtheblog

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba. 

This weekend we ventured to Marquee Cinemas to watch the next live action remake of Disney’s 1994 classic, The Lion King.  I was so anxious to see what Disney would do with this film. I have always had such a strong connection with Africa, African Culture, and the animals whom reside in that continent.

I was so excited to see how Disney was going to portray the wonder that is Africa as well as this staple classic. To say the graphics were amazing would be an understatement. This film magnificently represented Africa’s captivating beauty. The opening scene brought back nostalgia from the original film. For the first couple minutes, I thought this movie was going to be another home-run for Disney. As the film progressed, I was sadly unsatisfied. 

I waited until I watched the movie to voice my opinion on the casting. I wanted to watch with an open mind, in hopes that I would be pleasantly surprised with how each voice portrayed each character. I can now say with absolute certainty that Beyonce was not the right choice for Nala.  Although she is an icon, her role lacked depth and connection to the character.

  • No one could compare to Matthew Broderick when voicing Simba, but I enjoyed Donald Glover’s interpretation.
  • Of course, there are no words to describe how it felt to watch Mufasa in live action and hear James Earl Jones’ entrancing voice.. simply amazing.
  • John Kani, voiced Rafiki and did an impeccable job. This iconic character role is not one to be taken lightly. I think he did it justice (maybe I’m bias because he does play T’Chaka in my favorite Marvel film, Black Panther.)
  • In my opinion, Mufasa and Rafiki were the stars of this film, hands down. 
  • The music was extremely disappointing. It was the most lackluster soundtrack I’ve heard from Disney in a very long time.
  • In my opinion, the original soundtrack should have been reproduced, or, the cast from Festival of the Lion King should have been considered. 
  • Speaking of music… can we just talk about how awful “Be Prepared” was?!
  • This casting of Scar was weak and lacked intimidation.. it was a joke. In my opinion, “Be Prepared” is one of the top 5 Villains songs in all of Disney and the potential of that song was completely disregarded.. how disappointing.
  • Even if the whole song would have been performed, I think I would have still been disappointed at prior-to-puberty Scar singing it….WE WANT JEREMY IRONS! I missed the iconic bone-chilling voice of Scar.
  • The roles of Timon and Pumbaa were a downgrade (sorry, not sorry). The jokes were awful, the over the top drama we all loved so much was non-existent, they were no comparison to the original… very disappointing. And yes, I am achin’ for some bacon because this movie certainly didn’t give me any.. as I sit here in my coconut bra and hula skirt *insert eyeroll* 
  • If it weren’t such a graphic masterpiece, I would rank this film in my least favorite Disney movies of all time, alongside Atlantis and Treasure Planet.

It breaks my heart that this live action remake was, in my opinion, a flop. I was looking forward to this one being the one that changes the live-action game. But, sadly I will be tucking it away in the back of my mind along with live action Jungle Book, and Cinderella (Aladdin not mentioned because I have yet to see it.) Hankuna-MaTryAgain, Disney. It means… stop with the live action remakes.