Rating 3/5 stars
Note this review is of The Lion King's English Version. The review of Lion King's Hindi version will be out soon! Watch this space.
They say nostalgia can't be messed with. It's a tricky road to go down and it's difficult to live up to the expectation you've built in your heads for how perfect that past was. That is primarily one of the many reasons why live-action remakes of Disney classics often meet with mixed reactions. There were plenty of raised eyebrows when Disney decided to remake Aladdin as well. Not only was it a beloved childhood classic, it also was aiming to replace Robin Williams' iconic performance as Genie. When the film released, even though it didn't crack the kind of box office gold it was hoping to, Will Smith's performance didn't attempt to reshape or harm Williams' legacy in any way - rather it appeared fresh and inventive. With Lion King, the changes aren't as much and the liberties taken are very little - perhaps that is why the remake is less remake and a more enhanced experience of the Lion King.
A Stunning Experience:
Starting from Elton John's classic The Circle of Life, the breathtaking beginning sequence is enough to convince you that remakes deserve to be made. From the animals to the scenic safari landscape, the film is a stunning experience (especially in 3D).
The Lion King's Original Poster
Retaining the Nostalgia:
James Earl Jones returns as Mufasa; Jones gave his voice to the original film to Mufasa's character and needless to say that helps keeps the nostalgia in tact. The music by Hans Zimmer also contributes to retaining much of the original flavor of the classic. There are only a few minor tweaks added to the storyline here and there that make the story seem slightly fresh and more suited for today's world. For example, Beyonce as Nala, is a much more empowered character than she was in the original film. A similar take was applied to Aladdin as well, where Princess Jasmine not only got her own song solo (Speechless) but also became the "Rajah" of Agrabah.
What's ultimately fantastic about The Lion King is the fact that it amplifies to the original story without taking anything away from it. Timon and Pumbaa's punchlines are funnier and the drama is all the more realistic - a testament to how far politically correct scriptwriting and photorealistic animation has come in the past two and a half decades. Apart from the slightly understated depiction of Scar, every character in the film was up to par. That said, Ejiofor's rendition of Be Prepared WILL give you chills down your spine.
The Lion King is unmissable because of the characters that have stayed the same but have gotten the realistic touch. It also is a relevant watch based on how cleverly it balances the message and adds more complexity to the plot itself by adding layers to it for a CGI remake made for 2019. From I Just Can't Wait to Be King to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, all the songs retain their sing-along quality and continue to be memorable.
More upcoming remakes from Disney also include The Little Mermaid and Mulan. Watch the trailer of The Lion King here.