THE LION KING

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In recent times when Disney runs out of ideas for a new script, they end up rebooting an evergreen classic that enjoys a glorious afterlife. Its a known fact that Disney has a set of classics which would never fail to impress. The “Lion King” wasn’t just a classic, it ended up being a world wide phenomenon and there is no doubt the same level of expectations would apply for the recent reboot. Did it meet the expectations?

Its important to understand  how Disney has used the concept “Circle of Life” to all their recent glorified remakes :- A thing is born, it lives (hopefully turning a nice profit for shareholders) and then it dies, but is never really gone. Instead, its carcass decomposes, to be plundered and ultimately serve as fuel for future generations. And yes the circle continues forever!

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We all know that that the story should be familiar to anyone over the age of 8, especially anyone who was a young child and had a VCR back in the 1990s.Young cub Simba (Donald Glover) is cast out of his homeland after his power-hungry uncle (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has Simba’s father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones, reprising his role from the 1994 film), killed.

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What is new is this film’s striking CGI animation style. Director Jon again used the same photo-realistic process used in his 2016 hit “The Jungle Book”and the results are amazing. The birds, the beasts, the sceneries, and frankly everything you see on screen has been conceived and crafted through advanced, sophisticated visual effects. It’s amazing how far cinema has come! The way in which the visuals are displayed on screen alone are enough to justify the remake. Although this version is around 30 minutes longer than the original (1994), anyone looking for new story twists or, say, an inspiring backstory for the antelope that gets eaten will probably leave disappointed.

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However, in terms of storytelling, the film doesn’t offer anything new. The photorealistic animation does its best to portray a brooding picture, but somewhere it brought down the tone of the colourful nature of the film’s song sequences, an aspect that made the original more special. The visuals, to a greater extent, achieve a lending personality to the characters.But what the CGI visuals offers in the way of lifelike characters, it lacks in emotional impact. How do you show sadness or excitement in an animal that’s designed to look, for want of a better term, real? There are moments when characters’ voices convey pain, joy or fear, but that’s rarely reflected in the animals’ facial expressions. A special mention to James Earl Jones, who lends his voice to Mufasa once again, is as commanding and powerful as in the original film, maintaining our understanding and admiration for his character(Mufasa).

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Verdict: Disneys new “Lion King” certainly makes us feel the nostalgia. However, even though the new CGI animation is astonishing the film lacked something due to which the impact created by the Original 1994 “Lion King” was not felt.

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