Disney’s remake of The Lion King roared(?) into theaters last weekend. And while it had an incredibly impressive opening at the box office for an animated film — the best ever, in fact — it didn’t quite sit well with everyone, struggling to make the same emotional impact the second time around. It might be another step forward in terms of CGI, but it might have been a few steps back in storytelling and artistic creativity.
Members of the MovieBabble staff break down some of the more noteworthy parts of the film in our The Lion King Exit Survey. SPOILERS to follow.
Describe your overall enjoyment of the film with an appropriate GIF.
Be honest, how much did it hurt watching Mufasa die again?
Collin Willis: So much. I thought I was ready, but I don’t think you’re ever really ready.
Adina Bernstein: As much as it did 25 years ago.
Brennan Dubé: It definitely didn’t hit as hard, but of course there is some emotion there.
Nick Kush: Maybe I’ve moved quickly from adulthood to the cynical asshole stage of my life, because I felt absolutely nothing.
How do the songs in the remake compare to their original counterparts?
Collin Willis: Unfortunately most of the songs from The Lion King aren’t sung by either of its musical leads, so just put on the original soundtrack.
Adina Bernstein: The new songs worked for the film. They were not too far from the Elton John songs from the 1994 film, but they also had a new edge to them.
Brennan Dubé: While some of the songs are pretty well-done, most are just alright. Definitely one of the stronger aspects of the movie, though.
Nick Kush: They’re all soooo average. There are glimmers of fun sprinkled within them, but that’s mostly because they’re taken from the original. It all felt incredibly flat and uninspired.
How did you feel about Timon and Pumbaa’s new dialogue?
Collin Willis: Timon and Pumbaa are pretty much the only characters with new stuff to do, so their presence on screen is a much-needed injection of heart into the movie.
Adina Bernstein: I loved it. Watching this film made me realize that the adult jokes from Timon and Pumbaa went well over my head in 1994.
Brennan Dubé: One of the better spots of the movie for sure. Rogen and Eichner were quite funny.
Nick Kush: It was such a pleasant surprise…and the only bright spot in the movie for me. Everything about this movie is flat, so seeing Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner get the chance to riff off each other and be goofy was wonderful. (And it kept me from falling asleep!)
Would you call this a live-action film? Why or why not?
Collin Willis: Yes? It’s still animated, but it looks realistic enough that I’m calling it live-action.
Adina Bernstein: I would not call this film live-action, but I would also not call it an animated film in the traditional sense.
Brennan Dubé: Personally I would lean towards calling it live-action. That’s what it was branded as. Plus, the goal of making the film seem “photo-realistic” kind of points towards live-action.
Nick Kush: Take it away, Robin:
Where would you rank The Lion King among the other Disney remakes?
Adina Bernstein: #1.
Brennan Dubé: Most of the remakes to me are mostly average films in quality, but this is definitely slightly on the lower end of that average bunch of movies. A few have been quite good, though.
Nick Kush: It’s somewhere in the bottom half, that’s for sure.
What’s your letter grade of the film on a scale from F to A+?
Collin Willis: C.
Adina Bernstein: A.
Brennan Dubé: Personally, I would give this film a C grade. Great story and songs… but all of it is essentially shot for shot from the original. The film is fine, just not that spectacular and it ends up feeling somewhat bland at times.
Nick Kush: D. I was completely miserable for two hours. (Seriously, how the hell did they stretch this story out another half-hour while not adding much new material aside from a Beyoncé song that she probably wrote on her way to the set?) It’s utterly pointless and lifeless, and yet another low-point in Disney’s quest to mine our wallets for nostalgia.
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