Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Lion King Review

There was a little pressure on the filmmakers of The Lion King.  Many people, including me, had high expectations for this movie.  They had to not blow it within seconds of its opening.  The first note had to be exactly right.  And it was!  At the very first sound several people in the theater, myself included, clapped excitedly.

For the most part I liked the movie.  
I give it an 8 out of 10

There were 2 large problems to me, that took it down 2 points.

The whole first scene was AMAZING!!!  It was almost exactly the same as the animated movie with CGI animals that looked totally real.  From the first note, they had me!  I was on board!  I was excited!  And for most of the movie I stayed that way.

Zasu (John Oliver) was a treat!  The first time he opened his mouth I fell in love!  I thought he was perfect.

James Earl Jones reprising Mufasa was so awesome!  He played it a bit differently - some different nuances.  His voice is a treasure!  And I LOVED hearing him portray Mufasa again.

One of my favorite parts was when Mufasa is showing Simba their kingdom - "....everything the light touches".  Simba says, "All of this belongs to me?"  And Mufasa says, "It belongs to no one.  it is ours to protect."  Some of the people in our own government could learn from Mufasa!

I loved that Sarabi was leading the charge on the hyenas - and that Nala fought just as hard as Simba at the end of the movie.

There was a bigger feeling of peril - from Scar, from the hyenas, from the stampede, etc.  I was nervous for the characters several times - even though I knew they weren't real!  The CGI looked so real!  And Scar was very intimidating.

Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) are hilarious!  I absolutely loved them!  I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Billy Eichner as Timon.  He was funny on Parks and Rec, and I've seen a little of his Billy on the Street show, but I wasn't sure how he would handle this iconic role.  He was fabulous!  As was Seth Rogen.

I thought "Be Prepared" was really cool!  I liked the way Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) spoke the song with a little actual singing.  I liked how they were talking and just sort of started the song.  It was very organic.  Loved it!

Another part I loved was Timon and Pumbaa and friends singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".  I was totally into it... and it ended abruptly.  😁

So those were several of the things I really liked about the movie.  Now for the 2 things that dragged it down for me.

1.  "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is a beautiful, romantic song.  It's important to the story, showing us how Simba (Donald Glover) and Nala (Beyonce) - childhood buddies - fall in love as adults.  In this version of the movie, it was gorgeous to look at.  But I was disappointed in the way it sounded.  Typically in these Disney movies they choose one of the songs and do a Pop version of it in the credits.  It's on the soundtrack, and an extra way to perform the song.  That's where this version of the song should have been.  In this version of the movie, I'm guessing they didn't want to waste Beyonce.  So the version in the movie was very Pop music'y - way too much riffing, in my opinion.  I didn't hear Simba and Nala singing, and falling in love.  I heard Beyonce and some guy singing a song.  It didn't fit in with the rest of the movie.  I felt no chemistry between these 2 characters.  I understand it might be difficult to feel chemistry from CGI characters, but it is possible to feel a little.  I felt nothing.  The song was wasted.

2.  And - the part where Simba's hair flies through the air and ends with Rafiki (John Kani).  That part took WAY TOO LONG!!!  It lasts a minute or less in the animated film, it felt like an hour in this version.  It was an interesting idea, but did too many things.  It was completely unnecessary to last so long.

Three of my favorite quotes:

"While others look for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give."  Mufasa
" cute I could just molt."  Zasu speaking about Simba and Nala
"He's going to eat you, and use my body as a toothpick!"  Timon to Pumbaa referring to Simba
"....I got downhearted every time that I fart.... aren't you going to stop me?" Pumbaa to Timon

The movie was good, but I felt it could have been tighter.  They stretched it from 90 minutes, to 2 hours.  That extra 30 minutes was unnecessary.  It made a few parts drag.

I would definitely see it again.  And I recommend it!  Overall I really enjoyed it.  It's just those 2 parts that annoyed me.  (Oh!  And the original Beyonce song that was over Simba's trek back to Pride Rock.  It didn't fit either.  It stuck out as "the original song that can get an Oscar nomination".)

Let me know your thoughts on the movie.  Do you agree or disagree with me?  What was your favorite part?

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