Last Updated: 16th July, 2019
The Lion King 2019: “Hakuna Matata” – It means no worries for the rest of your day? The reviews have finally landed in the 2019 ‘live-action‘ remake of the 1994 animated classic The Lion King. The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau brings us this CGI-heavy (Computer-Generated Imagery) take on Simba (Donald Glover), while because of the deeds of his evil uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the potential heir to Pride Rock who discovers his life with dad Mufasa (reinstating voice actor James Earl Jones) really changed.
The initial first social media responses were glowing, but then the complete critical reviews have fallen and not all of them have been so kind. Here is a synopsis of what critics are saying, along with that all-important Rotten Tomatoes score.
The Lion King 2019 Review Synopsis
Film reviewer Peter Bradshaw gave a decidedly mixed review in his 3-star verdict: “Practically, this fresh Lion King holds very close to the earlier version, and it’s enjoyable to watch and pleasant, of course, in that sense. But the elegance and vividity of the classic hand-drawn illustrations I missed. This all but indistinguishable Digi clone descendant has been produced in the circle of corporate life. I don’t quite feel like bowing, but respect has to be paid to a handsomely made piece of entertainment.”
In her positive four-star write-up, film critic Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “As much as this new version can never hold a candle to its predecessor, there’s never a sense that it’s trying to. The Lion King employs nostalgia, if something really, as a springboard for experimentation, exploring fresh ways of telling ancient tales, while trying to remind us first of all that makes those tales feel genuinely timeless.”
Critic David Ehrlich delivered a vigorous attack of the film and Disney in his D-rated review: “Zazu worries that the circle of life has become “a meaningless line of indifference,” but the “Lion King” resembles the ideal orange orb more extensively. It’s the work of a studio that’s gobbled up the rest of the film industry and is still hungry for more. “The Lion King”, as it appears less like a sequel than a real movie, and it’s a gross one.”
Chris Hunneysett, utterly adored the new film, writing in his five-star review: “It’s an uplifting hymn to the natural wonder of our world with an emphasis on respecting our environment, and if David Attenborough made Disney films it would look and feel like this. Everything is amped up which means the elephants’ graveyard scene is scarier, the wildebeest stampede is more thrilling, the hyenas are more frightening, and the warthog and Meerkat sidekicks are funnier.”
The Hollywood Reporter
Critic Todd McCarthy was left unimpressed with the film playing it too safe in his review: “But by and large, very few remakes, other than Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot Psycho reproduction has adhered to its initial variants as tightly as this one does. Almost everything is so secure and tame that it is calculated closely that it would seem predigested. In the entire two hours, there’s barely a single a surprise.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score
The film hasn’t done too well across the board as review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has shown that only 58% of the reviews have deemed the film to be ‘Fresh‘, meaning that it is just about deemed as ‘Rotten‘.
The consensus states: “While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a reinterpretation number that appears to lack the energy and soul which helped to make the original so prized, though it may be enough for some fans.”
Looks pretty divided – guess you’ll have to make your own mind up! The Lion King releases on 19th July, 2019.