AFTER the stupendous live-action remake of The Jungle Book, director Favreau has done a commendable job turning another Disney animation masterpiece into a live-action film.
Everything you loved about the original 1994 animated version remains intact, including the brilliant songs composed by Elton John and Tim Rice.
Newer songs – Spirit by Beyonce and Never Too Late (another John and Rice collaboration) – somehow lack the magic of the earlier songs.
The story of curious cub Simba (voiced by J.D. McCrary) who is led to believe by his ambitious uncle Scar (Ejiofor) that he is responsible for the death of his father Mufasa (let’s face it, only James Earl Jones can voice him) is heartbreaking in parts.
It’s a journey filled with heartache and joy, and about finding one’s true self as the young, lost Simba is befriended by outcasts meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner) and warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), growing up far from home before finally returning to his pride to take his rightful place as King of the Pride Lands (Glover as the voice of the grown-up Simba).
The only difference here is that Simba’s mother Sarabi (Alfre Woodard), girlfriend Nala (Beyonce) and the hyenas’ pack leader Senzi (Florence Kasumba) have slightly bigger roles than in the animated version.
As for Scar, actor Ejiofor does an admirable job especially since the animated version was voiced by the incomparable Jeremy Irons.
All in, this is a movie that will make you laugh, then cry. Ultimately, you are left with awe at this circle of life. But like the recently-released live-action remake of Aladdin, this live-action version offers nothing new other than nostalgia.
Still, the story of The Lion King is always good for a re-visit, but it is time for Disney to create some new masterpieces instead of rehashing their classic animated films.