Most may know the story of The Lion King but just for review purposes, I’ll rehash it a bit before going into my review. The Lion King was a Disney classic from 1994 that tells a unique story of the circle of life through animals. Focusing on The Lion King, his son Simba and what leads him to eventually become king by following in the steps of his father King Mufasa. Along the way of Simba's journey, he learns the true meaning of stepping up for the ones you love as well as what it means to reign supreme as the wilds true king.
The film starts off with the introduction of Simba to the rest of the jungle, although we have seen this before in cartoon form, this live action format takes the emotion in the scene to new heights. You truly feel you are witnessing a newborn king's introduction to his soon-to-be kingdom.
Unlike other previous Disney live-action films, I felt this film stuck true to the original story as well as the characters. Some may have felt disappointed in Scar’s overall look but he makes up for it with his villainous ways. When we are first introduced to Scar, we get a feel of resentment he pushes on to his brother for not being king in a way that I did not catch when first watching the cartoon adaptation.The details on Scars body embodies a true villain and really makes you take the story more seriously than you ever have before.
Along with Disney getting Scar right, another scene I felt was just pure cinematic perfection was the elephant graveyard scene as well as the scene where King Mufasa meets his ultimate doom after being set up by his brother. The intensity you see between the characters from Simba’s panic for his father’s survival to the final exchange between Mufasa and his treacherous brother Scar, it was gut wrenching to see this scene be brought into the live action perfection the way it did.
Another important component to note is the way the voice actors completely carried these roles and pushed it to incredible lengths. James Earl Jones as King Mufasa deserves every award, as his voice just embodies a true mature king. Seth Rogeth and Billy Eichner were also amazing as the legendary Timon and Pumbaa with dialogue that was beyond hilarious. Donald Glover voicing adult Simba was the definition of voice casting excellence and of course I have to mention how Beyoncé killed her lines as the soon to be queen Nala. Although naming those individuals specifically, the entire cast deserves a round of applause for being able to embody such well known characters and provide an unforgettable performance.
The music was something beyond incredible but how could it not be with such musical geniuses as Beyonce and Donald Glover behind the microphones? If the thought of revisiting your childhood isn’t enough for you to go see the film, the soundtrack will be, believe me. Disney definitely worked hard on this one for all components, the soundtrack is amazing and the cinematography was on another level, it really made me feel as though I had a front row seat in witnessing this unique story all over again.
Disney has definitely restored my faith in their live-action adaptations with this one after garnering so much hype around the film and delivering such groundbreaking performances on an already well known story. Disney is ready to dominate and if this is a sign of what’s to come, sign me right up!
Echo Grade: A+