Disney is clearly a behemoth in the entertainment industry, adept in finding markets to fill, and make oodles of money in the process. One of the strategies that has developed over the past few years is live-action remakes of classic animated blockbusters. We've seen this in movies like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. The latter was helmed by Jon Favreau, who is back in the director's chair for the photo realistic adaptation of The Lion King.
The pressure was on for Jon Favreau to deliver on the remake, as the original Lion King is one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time. A stunning cast was assembled, with cutting edge technology rendering Pride Rock and its denizens to near reality. The movie recently premiered for the first time, and reactions are arriving on social media. CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg was there for the big day, and made his thoughts known. Check it out.
According to Eric Eisenberg, The Lion King is going to deliver on the lofty expectations for the upcoming blockbuster. Eric believes the new version of Simba's story will be a massive hit for the House of Mouse, largely for its nostalgic factor. Disney is still raking in the money for Avengers: Endgame, but Jon Favreau's Lion King will check off a different set of boxes for moviegoers. All brought to life through stunning visual affects.
The movie's affects seem to be a main focus on the first Lion King reactions. Jon Favreau dipped his toe into photo realistic CGI with The Jungle Book, and The Lion King doesn't have any human cast, allowing an entirely new world to be created. The Wrap's Umberto Gonzalez praised the stunning visuals of the new remake, saying:
When The Lion King's trailer first arrived, fans of the original quickly realized that the shots were basically identical to the 1994 classic. This made some cinephiles concerned that the new adaptation would simply be an exact remake, but with a new cast and cutting edge visuals. And according to Mashable's Angie J. Han, the upcoming Lion King is exactly that.
It looks like moviegoers shouldn't expect Jon Favreau to break the wheel or make any real changes to the Lion King we know and love. Instead, nostalgia will rule Pride Rock, as the cast of A-list actors recreate the Oscar winning 1994 movie that we all know and love. While the remake might not be groundbreaking in its re-imagining of the OG The Lion King, that doesn't necessarily detract from the experience.
While plenty of folks have been praising The Lion King's visuals and visual affects, they may detract from on aspect of the movie: the characters' emotions. Because while the voice cast might be putting passion into their performances, Buzzfeed's Adam B. Vary thought the various animals failed to properly convey the stakes of scenes. As he put it:
While The Lion King will largely be a shot for shot remake of the beloved original movie, there are a few changes being made. For instance, Scar's Hyenas are being changed for their respective actors, and new music is being added. Reporter German Lussier praised the minor tweaks Jon Favreau made for his remake, although he seemed to have some issues with the visual affects.
Well, that's interesting. While most of the social media posts about The Lion King are praising how stunning it is and how adorable baby Simba is, Germain found some of it distracting. Luckily, average moviegoers only have a few days to judge for themselves.
Beyonce's name is obviously the biggest in the cast of The Lion King, but Jon Favreau picked perfect actors to occupy each of the beloved characters. One of the more inspiring bit of casting is comedians Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa, the wise cracking buddies of Simba. The two actors were able to improv and work off each other while recording, and it seems to have really payed off in the new Lion King. As Rotten Tomatoes' Jacqueline Coley posted:
And she wasn't the only person who was singing (pun intended) the praise of Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner's dynamic duo. Comic Book's editor Bradon Davis also loved their performances. Although he added another favorite performance into the mix:
It looks like the villainous Scar is another highlight for the new Lion King movie. This may be a relief to some hardcore Disney purists, as Jeremy Irons' performance in the original film is one of the biggest highlights from the 1994 classic. In fact, there were some fans who wanted Irons to return to reprise his role, just like James Earl Jones will do with his Mufasa.
Early reception for The Lion King has been largely positive, even if there are some minor notes from members of the critics' community. The movie is bound to be a massive hit, something that seems to be repeated throughout the social media responses to the movie. Just take it from Collider's Frosty Weintraub, who seemed to echo Eric Eisenberg's comments about the blockbuster's potential.
From the early reactions, it also seems like baby Simba is going to melt the hearts of most moviegoers. Disney has always been good at creating thoroughly adorable young versions of its characters, from The Lion King to Frozen. And baby Simba from the opening sequence of the remake reduced Nerdist's Rachel Heine to tears. As she put it:
Overall, it looks like Jon Favreau's version of The Lion King is going to be quite the moviegoing experience. The summer season hasn't been particularly kind to studios, with the exception obviously being Avengers: Endgame. Toy Story 4 didn't make quite as much money as expected, so it should fascinating to see how The Lion King ultimately performs during these unpredictable summer months at the movie theater.
The Lion King will arrive in theaters on July 19th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.