The reboot of The Lion King was one of the highest-grossing films last year, making just north of $1.6 billion but was met with mixed reviews. While the visuals were praised immensely the main consensus was that The Lion King was a tired rehash of the previous film. As I watched the movie last night for the first time on Disney+ I was excited.
After my recent viewing of Aladdin which turned out to be quite the treat, I was expecting the same level of joy from The Lion King. And I was having a great time…until I wasn’t.
The first half wowed me, leaving me staring at the screen stricken with awe. Yes, it was very repetitive of the original film but guess what, The Lion King is perfect. No reason to try to get fancy and change something that is so fantastic. It was the second half of the film that left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.
More scenes were afforded to Nala but unlike the modern twist provided for Jasmine, which I LOVED, these extra scenes felt unwarranted and kind of not that great. And don’t get me started on the inclusion of Beyonce’s original song for the film, “Spirit.” The actual song is really fantastic but the way it was featured in the movie felt corny, out of place, and ruined literally my favorite moment in the film.
Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of Scar wasn’t terrible but he wasn’t able to outshine Jermy Iron’s rendition of the iconic Disney villain. And his version of “Be Prepared” was almost painful to watch and listen to. Yikes.
All in all, while the movie was exceptionally beautiful I was so peeved by the second half of the film that as soon as the movie ended I went to the original and rewatched the last twenty minutes to wash away the sour taste in my mouth.
So, on that note, I’m giving this film 4 out of 5 stars and 87 out of 100. It’s not bad but it isn’t great either.
The film is currently available to rent digitally or stream on Disney Plus.
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