Disney’s CG animated remake of their 1994 traditionally animated classic “The Lion King” premiered last night in Los Angeles and while reviews are still under embargo, the first social media reactions have now gone online.
The film scores high praise for its visuals which are often labelled groundbreaking, while the cast is widely praised – especially for their singing. That said, the reviews do confirm it’s effectively a shot-for-shot remake of the original, and that transposing human emotions to realistic animals with a more limited range of facial emotion doesn’t always quite work.
As a result, the emotional impact of the film is differing quite a bit in the reactions. Here’s a sampling from various noted film critics:
“The Lion King is a dazzler. Gorgeous score, spot-on voice acting, but mostly, yeah, those visuals. That being said, #TheLionKing does illustrate the limitations of projecting human emotions onto photorealistic animals that can’t convey human expression.” – Alisha Grauso
“Holy smokes, I really loved THE LION KING. I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing. (For the record I’m agnostic on the original movie and have zero nostalgia for it. Anyway, this movie hooked me.)” – Mike Ryan
“#TheLionKing might be the first animated movie to win the same Oscar twice. Favreau nailed it. Great voice cast. Eichner, Rogen & Oliver steal their scenes. Beautiful visuals. Two paws up.” – Jim Vejvoda
“#TheLionKing is exactly as advertised: a beat-for-beat remake of the original. Impressive animation and some ace casting choices (Beyonce is a spirited Nala, John Oliver is an ideal Zazu) plus that music is still thumbs up- but it’s more nostalgic rehash than fresh reimagining” – Angie J. Han
“The Lion King is a wonderful adaptation of an iconic classic. It has a few small changes which enhance what was already great and everything else is right on point. The CG can be slightly distracting at times but the emotion quickly covers that. Loved it.” – Germain Lussier
“#TheLionKing is a landmark *visual* experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s going to change how we look at movies forever. As an *emotional* experience, though…I’ll put it this way: It turns out lions can’t really emote.” – Adam B. Vary
“#TheLionKing: Better than I thought it’d be! I still really miss the exaggerated emotions of the characters from the original, but you get occasional flashes in this, and the vocal performances are largely good enough to make up for the rest. Eichner & Rogen steal the movie.” – Ben Pearson
“The Lion King is a visual marvel. Jon Favreau directs the hell out of this film. The voice cast is solid with Billy Eichner & Seth Rogen standing out as Timon & Pumbaa. That being said, it is a incredibly unnecessary remake that hits all the same beats. #TheLionKing” – Scott Menzel
“Just saw #TheLionKing and it was absolutely breathtaking! The music, the visuals, the voice acting…whatever your feelings on Disney remakes, this one will blow you away.” – Jenna Busch
“I just got out of #TheLionKing and really dug it. My fear was realistic animals wouldn’t have the charisma of the cartoon, but they’re very good. Timon and Pumba steal the show. Some of the song/choreo arrangements don’t work as well as the original but still a really fun flick.” – Chris E. Hayner
We’ll all get to judge for ourselves when “The Lion King” hits cinemas on July 19th. in the meantime, listen to Beyonce’s new single “Spirit” which debuted a few hours ago and is said to feature during a pivotal scene in the film involving her character Nala.
The song will be on the full soundtrack titled “The Lion King: The Gift” which will be released on July 19th and features ‘global recording artists’ doing numbers ‘steeped in the sounds of Africa’ with Beyonce producing and curating the album.