I went to see the new release of The Lion King. This is the live-action CGI retelling of the classic Disney cartoon from 1994.

First, the good. Visually, it was stunning. It is getting downright creepy how realistic animators are able to make CGI creatures appear. The gold standard for CGI has always been making hair/fur appear and move realistically… by Walt, I think they’ve got it!

The story also carried some great emotional beats that surprised me. It wasn’t surprising that it was emotional, I vaguely remember the cartoon pulling a few heartstrings. I think, for me it was more a matter of at what stage in my own life I was watching the two. 

During the first film, I could totally relate to Simba… the optimistic and somewhat fool-hearty youngster who thought he knew it all, but was determined to set the world on fire. This time around, I related more to Mufasa… that view of fatherhood never registered back in 1994 because I had no frame of reference. Now, I know the importance of wanting children to grow up, learn and grow, but constantly fear for their well-being. Those were the emotional moments for me this time around.

Now the bad. They changed the songs too much. I get that a new generation will likely see these as their own and be fine with it, but some of the lyric changes just felt off for me. I do have to say that Hakuna Matata still rocked and Seth Rogen not only owned the role of Pumbaa but took it to a whole new level. Disney continued to press the political correctness button and while that is annoying at times, I get why they do it.

Overall though, it is a film that needs to be seen for the CGI alone.

by Chris Doelle

Rating 6 of 10