2019 hasn’t been a great year for Hollywood. We’re deep into summer blockbuster season and this year’s box office numbers are below expectations. (They’re over $500 million behind where they were this time last year). There are still some upcoming flicks that may turn things around – I’m looking at you Hobbs & Shaw. But if I had to choose one potential smash to help flip the script, it’s Disney’s The Lion King remake.
Fortunately for moviegoers (and Hollywood bean counters), this picture’s release date is right around the corner. And Based on an eye-popping new clip, this remake has the goods. Expect The Lion King to serve as an oasis in 2019’s summer movie wasteland.
Disney has a strong track record when it comes to adapting their animated classics into “live-action” movies. And yes, I’m categorizing this photorealistic picture as live action. First off, it’s no exaggeration to say The Lion King 2019 is one of the most visually stunning movies ever made. Director Jon Favreau’s genre films always push VFX technology to its limits, and The Lion King looks like his magnum opus. I could rave about the gorgeous lighting, realistic animation, and life-like twinkle in the animals’ eyes. But I’ll let the footage do all the talking.
The Lion King: Can You Feel the Love Tonight? clip:
Also working in this movie’s favour; its knockout cast which is a literal embarrassment of riches. You can’t do better than casting Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and R&B goddess Beyoncé in your whimsical musical. And as if landing those actors weren’t impressive enough, the supporting cast includes some of the funniest people walking the planet; Billy Eichner, Amy Sedaris, Seth Rogen, and John Oliver to name a few.
The Lion King may be Disney’s most beloved film. And we already hold Simba’s story near and dear to our hearts. If Favreau doesn’t stray far from the original, plot-wise, the film has all the elements of a summer smash. But to play devil’s advocate, Disney’s Aladdin dropped last month and used the same formula as The Lion King. While the film made money, it wasn’t well-received. Critics are mixed on whether it’s any good, and the sentiment among viewers is that Aladdin is a pleasant enough watch, but it can’t compete with the original.
Favreau is The Lion King’s secret weapon. Unlike Aladdin’s director, Guy Ritchie, Favreau has collaborated with Disney for over a decade. He directed the first two Iron Man films and has a Disney remake (The Jungle Book) under his belt. Favreau has the knowledge, experience, and resources Ritchie never had. And as a visionary filmmaker, you bet he’s pushing himself to do something special with this remake. Will that be enough to win over Lion King diehards? We will know in three weeks.
The Lion King synopsis:
Disney’s “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. Staying true to the classic story, Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way. Also featuring James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.
Disney’s The Lion King will receive a wide theatrical release on July 19, 2019.