The Lion King remake a visual wonder

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Last weekend The New Capitol Cinemas in Masa was swarming with children as Disney Live Action, The Lion King remake debuted at Botswana cinemas.

Just like over two decades ago since the original 1994 animated movie, viewers were once again transported into the African savanna where a future king, Simba, is born.

So many people often wonder why people are paying to see a story they have already seen told before.  But director Jon Favreau’s all-new ‘The Lion King’ is indeed a visual marvel, and technological triumph in terms of bringing the characters to 3D. The photorealistic nature of the movie is impressive, but it is basically a repeat of the 1994 2D classic.

The plot follows Simba played by Donald Glover who idolises his father, King Mufasa. Scar, Mufasa’s brother and – now with Simba born – former heir to the throne is not at all too pleased with the new cub’s arrival and even misses Simba’s showing.

The battle for Pride Rock is filled with treachery, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Mufasa’s death and little Simba’s exile. With help from an inquisitive pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

One thing I would like to point out is the similarities and differences between the original movie and the remake.The 2019 remake is full on photorealism this time and the viewer may forget that they are watching a remake.

Speaking of remakes, Disney has been bombarding us with remakes in 3D this year right from Dumbo back in March and Aladdin in May. The Lion King was always the most anticipated of them all. Now back to the comparison. A viewer probably could not help but notice that in the original Lion King, Rafiki drew the cutest little image of baby Simba on his home tree. But in the new version, a bunch of bugs do it for him and arranges images on the tree trunk.  In the animated movie Scar was ‘old friends’ with the hyenas but the 2019 take has Scar meeting the hyenas for the first time, eventually conspires with them to murder both Mufasa and Simba. One of the most well thought out scenes in the movie was the stampede because it is more extreme and heart wrenching in the remake than it is animated. For those who had not seen the original movie, they were really affected by the aftermath of this life-like scene.

In terms of the cast Beyoncé plays Nala, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, and James Earl Jones returning as the voice of Mufasa. Many critics complain that this new version of the story is essentially a shot-for-shot remake of the original that offers few new elements. I for one am on board for this return trip to the African wilderness because I couldn’t care less if it was realistic animals talking the entire movie.  This is not a children’s movie by the way, the mind-blowing visuals certain of that. The Lion King did well at the box office this weekend, so in the end like they say in the movie, Hakuna Matata.

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