Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Blu-ray Review: The Lion King (2019)

 *This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

The big-budget "live-action" remake of the classic Disney animated film The Lion King landed on Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD +Digital) last wek and I was lucky to receive a copy to review right here on this very blog you're currently reading.

Directed by Jon Favreu (Iron Man 1 & 2, The Jungle Book), The Lion King (PG; 118 minutes) features the voice-cast of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones.

Set in the Pride Lands of Africa, the movie tells the story of Simba, the son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi, who runs away after blaming himself for his father's death. Being a cub alone in the jungle can be dangerous so it's good thing he found two friends to protect him - Timon (a meerkat) and Pumbaa (a warthog).

Unknowingly to Simba, his evil uncle Scar has taken over his father's kingdom. Only after he has entered adulthood does he learn about Scar's treachery, which leads him to return to his homeland to claim his father's thrown.

Blu-ray and Digital Special Features include:

  • The Journey to “The Lion King”
    • The Music - Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.
    • The Magic - Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.
    • The Timeless Tale - Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.
  • More to Be Scene - Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”
    • “Circle of Life” – Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film
    • “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” – See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie
    • “Hakuna Matata” – Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.
  • Music Videos 
    • “Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John
    • “Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
  • Filmmaker Introduction 
  • Audio Commentary by Director Jon Favreau.
  • Song Selection 
    • “Circle of Life”
    • “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” 
    • “Be Prepared”
    • “Hakuna Matata” 
    • “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
    • “Spirit”
    • “Never Too Late”
  • Protect the Pride –Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.
  •  (Digital Exclusive) - Pride Lands Pedia --Dung beetle shares the importance of his “roll” in the African Savanna in a fun, bug’s eye view of the land and its inhabitants.

Final Thoughts

The Lion King marks the second Disney remake of 2019, with the first being Aladdin (read my review here). With Jon Favreu as director, my expectations were high for this movie as I really enjoyed 2016's The Jungle Book. Sadly, The Lion King turned out to be another pointless remake.

The CGI special effects for the animals looks amazing and the cinematography is just as good. However, it's almost a shot-by-shot of the original 1994 classic but 30 minutes longer, which is a bit odd as the extra time adds nothing new to the story. Like I already mentioned, I like the CGI special effects for the animals but at the same time the characters have a much too realistic feel to them. The characters have no expressions at all. This is a major problem as when characters talk or interact with each other there's zero emotion.

The entire voice cast is pretty good, well, all except for Beyoncé as her voice is fingernails to a chalkboard to my ears. She cannot act!

For those of you who need to know, the picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray are excellent.

Overall, The Lion King remake is a pale imitation of a much better film. It's a shot-by-shot remake and it adds nothing to the story. If you want to watch the story of Simba, then go watch the original 1994 classic and avoid this one entirely. Yes, I know it made over a billion dollars at the box office but The Lion King remake isn't worth watching.

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