Movie Review: The Lion King (2019)

Lion Girl 01  Hello all, and welcome to my review of The Lion King, 2019 edition! 😀

The Lion King Poster  Starring: JD McCrary (young Simba), Donald Glover (adult Simba), Shahadi Wright Joseph (young Nala), Beyonce Knowles-Carter (adult Nala), James Earl Jones (Mufasa), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), John Kani (Rafiki), John Oliver (Zazu), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Billy Eichner (Timon), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), Eric Andre (Azizi)

Plot (taken from IMDb):

“After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.”

Trailer:

Characters:

JD McCrary (young Simba) – The confident, fun-loving future king. I’ve always loved this character’s cheerful energy.

Donald Glover (adult Simba) – I’ve also always loved the way Simba grew. He ran away from the horrible thing that happened to him, but with a little push from his friends, he remembered who he was and he faced it in the end.

Shahadi Wright Joseph (young Nala) – Simba’s partner in crime. They were adorable besties growing up.

Beyonce Knowles-Carter (adult Nala) – Like Simba, she grew to be stronger in her own way. She knew it would mean risking her life, but she went out to search for help anyway.

James Earl Jones (Mufasa) – The wise and fair king. Lol, I still totally cried when he died in the reboot. I’m a total marshmallow and I know it.

Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) – Mufasa’s queen, and one seriously tough lady. She didn’t back down from Scar, no matter how ugly things got.

John Kani (Rafiki) – The crazy and wise shaman kinda character? Lol, he still cracks me up and I love him.

John Oliver (Zazu) – The long-suffering aid to the king. Lol, the poor guy is constantly getting pranked by Simba. He’s probably the most formal out of the characters, but he’s endearing.

Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) – An easygoing warthog who tends to go with the flow. He becomes a close friend of Simba.

Billy Eichner (Timon) – Another easygoing character who befriends Simba when he needs support the most.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) – Our main villain for this movie! I feel like this rendition of him didn’t quite do him justice, but he was still a good villain.

Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) – Leader of the hyenas in this version of the story. She’s a little wiser here than she was in the cartoon.

Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari) – One of Shenzi’s henchmen. Lol, apparently he’s not the snuggly type.

Eric Andre (Azizi) – Another of Shenzi’s henchmen. Apparently he likes to snuggle, lol. I know he’s a bad guy and all, but this made him oddly endearing. Probably because one of my in-law’s dogs (around 45 pounds, btw) likes to drape herself over my shoulders like a puppy scarf if I’m on the couch and it kinda reminds me of her. ❤

The Lion King 05

Review:

Tough love time, Disney.

Okay, wait. Just hear me out.

I’ve been putting off reviewing any of the new Disney reboots until I could collect my thoughts and figure out just what exactly my boggle is.

Boggle

Disney… It’s not you. It’s me.

Well, I mean. It’s a little you. But it’s 95% me. Yeah, at least 95%.

Something has felt off with these reboots, but I just wasn’t able to put my finger on it. I’ve pondered this, and here’s what I’ve come up with after seeing the reboots for Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King:

Disney… Please pick one of the following options ~

  1. Do a true reboot, faithful to the source material. The cartoons, not Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Make me feel all nostalgic. Tweak where you have to in order to modernize and fit the longer run time of the live action versions, but leave the songs and story alone as a whole.
  2. Do an all-out reboot, turning everything upside down. Like Maleficent. Surprise me. Keep me guessing. Give me redeemable bad guys and new songs and new subplots.

Pick. ONE. And then fully commit either way, please.

To be fair, it’s impossible for Disney to make everyone happy. I believe they’re trying, but the way they’re going about it leaves it lacking for me. Am I the only one? What say you?

I get that they’re modernizing the tales in a way, and that’s totally fine. But it’s kind of disappointing for me, personally. That’s not to say I don’t like these reboots. I do. But I feel like they’d be a whole lot better if Disney went either of the two routes I mentioned.

Right now, they feel safe and watered down. Not bad. But not great either. Just… alright. I mean, I’m going to buy all of them. But I’m a hell of a lot more excited about seeing Maleficent: Mistress of Evil than I am Mulan or The Little Mermaid.

Which makes me feel like I need chocolate cake to comfort myself because I **LOVED** those movies growing up. Stop making me need chocolate cake, Disney.

Sigh 03

From that standpoint, let’s talk about The Lion King (2019)!

It was the beloved story I remember from when I was a kid, with a few tweaked scenes and a little different music selection in places.

Really, the changes to the story from the original to this one were very minor. But they were kind of “meh” for me.

The CG was amazing though! Loved everything about it! ❤

Everything was so smooth and realistic. This didn’t lend itself to facial expressions for the animals like it did in the cartoons, but still. It was fantastic! Impressive and beautifully done!

The Lion King 06

Sometimes the music was hit or miss for me because I was expecting the song lyrics to be the same. They changed a few lyrics here and there, and also slipped in some unfamiliar scores. The music was definitely stronger in the original. Lol, but I am admittedly extremely biased on this point.

I’m trying sooooo hard not to compare it to the original, but I can’t help it.

They also screwed up Scar’s song, Be Prepared! Disney, how could you?!

The way they altered his and the hyena’s interactions made this change to Scar’s song understandable though. In giving the hyenas a leader other than Scar, they watered Scar down. Not the greatest idea, considering he’s supposed to be the main villain.

Sure, he was still ruled by his ambition and bitterness. But Scar 2019 came off as more pathetic than scary. An opportunist rather than a mastermind.  Unfortunately, they even kind of made him look a little wimpy compared to Mufasa and Simba.

The Lion King 04

I still loved the story as a whole though. Especially the different relationships between the characters.

Simba with Timon and Pumbaa was fun, as always. Their friendship and support of each other was touching.

And I also love Timon and Pumbaa’s attitudes. Part of the whole hakuna matata thing is letting things roll right off their shoulders.

The Lion King 02

And then we have Simba’s adorable relationship with Nala too.

Besties turned something more when they reunited as adults. This was very sweet, and it’s always one of my favorite things to see the way Nala pushes Simba. She inspires him to stop running.

Along with Rafiki later on, she is part of what gets him to face his past and do what’s right for his people.

null

I’m interested to see what they do with the rest of the reboots they have planned. I’m guessing they’re all going to be mostly faithful to the cartoons, but with some minor changes. We’ll see what happens!

The Lion King 01

My rating for The Lion King (2019): Cash-Worthy – Over all, I really liked it. I’m a big Disney fan and always will be, so it’s not surprising I liked it, lol. There were a couple things that didn’t work for me, but I still had fun. It left me feeling nostalgic and I want to see the original again now, lol. Check it out if you liked the original Lion King or enjoy Disney movies in general. 😀

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My Rating System:

Epic: This movie is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I may go see it twice. This one will have a place of honor on my shelf.

Cash-Worthy: Good stuff. This will most likely find a place on my shelf.

Not Bad: I liked it. I’m glad I saw it, and it may or may not end up on my shelf at some point. I would say rent it first to be safe.

Meh: Rent it first. You may love it or hate it, but I’m indifferent probably because it’s not my type of movie. I’m glad I saw it, but it won’t end up on my shelf.

Emergency Cake: I have an emotional reaction to movies sometimes, especially to tragedies. If a movie makes me sad or angry, sometimes it will stick with me for a while. At these times, only chocolate cake can save me. Chocolate cake makes everything better. No shelf for you. Ever.

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28 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Lion King (2019)

  1. disperser says:

    This is one I will pass. I passed on the original, as well.

    Some time ago, Disney lost me. I can’t pinpoint the exact time, but I’ve no interest in much of what they do, especially in reboots.

    Part of it, I’m sure, is their heavy hand in presenting oversimplified morals.

    But, I get that a lot of people enjoy what they offer.

    • disperser says:

      You might enjoy this (he does pitches for a lot of popular movies):

    • disperser says:

      And, if you liked that one . . .

    • paigeaddams says:

      Admittedly, I usually love most Disney movies. Lol, I’ll probably never grow out of them. But I totally get why they’re not everybody’s cup of tea. 🙂

      Reboots and sequels tend to make me twitchy though. Lol, I can be very harsh on those, especially if I loved the original. I don’t know if people get lazy with reboots and sequels, or if they overdo it and try to fix something that isn’t broken, but better than half the time I don’t like them.

      *sigh* I feel like we’re in a bit of a movie drought after Endgame. Are there any movies coming up that you’re looking forward to?

      • disperser says:

        I keep a close watch on trailers and . . . nothing. Niente. Nada. Zilch.

        The last movie I was even remotely interested in was Alita and they’re not likely to make a sequel. Even then, it felt rushed.

        I did see a trailer that looks like a remake of The Golden Compass (I think it’s called “his dark material” or something like that).

        I’m not sure if it’s a movie or a series and it stars the girl who was in Logan.

        But, again . . . no shows or movies I’m looking forward to.

      • paigeaddams says:

        I feel like I saw something about a possible Golden Compass show on Netflix? I’m not entirely sure – but “his dark materials” sounds familiar! I loved the book and saw the movie (good, but not as good as the book), so I’d definitely be interested if they do make a Dark Materials show/movie.

        Oh man, I really hope they make an Alita sequel though! I know it got overshadowed by Captain Marvel, but I loved that movie. And it *needs* a sequel with the way it ended, lol. Either way though, I’m going to pick up the graphic novels and read them. 😀

        Otherwise, most of the stuff I’m looking forward to are a ways out. Artemis Fowl is getting a movie next May, I think? I love those books so much! Lol, lets hope they don’t screw it up. 😉

      • disperser says:

        HBO, so I’ll have to wait until they release something streaming or DVDs (provided it’s good).

        I loved the first book but quickly lost interest in the story with the second one as the characters became less sympathetic and I didn’t like the direction the story was going.

      • paigeaddams says:

        Dang it! Lol, one service I don’t have. We got HBO during Game of Thrones season, and then cancelled because there wasn’t anything else on there we were interested in. This preview looks great, but I’ll probably wait too. Or maybe get HBO when I can binge watch the season and then cancel. 🙂

        I think I stopped at the second book too, probably for the same reasons. I have the books so I do want to go back and read them eventually. Hopefully they don’t end as badly as the Divergent books, lol.

      • disperser says:

        By the way, I’d not heard of Artemis Fowl. I’ll have to check it out. Although, truthfully, a lot of fantasy ends up disappointing.

        Unfortunately, my life is still a bit upended as we try to settle in and get into a routine that doesn’t involve phone calls, insurance, utilities, contractors, etc. etc.

        I have a renewed interest in getting my books out there but that too will likely wait for a few months before I renew my efforts to find an agent.

        How are your books doing?

      • paigeaddams says:

        I hope things calm down for you soon, and you’re able to get settled quickly. We’re still going through a little of that too after our move.

        Lol, I’m an incurable optimist, so I’m going to say my books are doing better! 😀 At least in the sense that I’m dedicating more time to learning and networking and writing in general. I’m to the point where I’m forcing myself to really sit down and study the marketing. One of my biggest roadblocks. I’m convinced I’m the absolute worst at marketing and promoting myself. I’m looking at Storiad and Skillshare to learn about it, and I went to an event in Michigan a couple weeks ago, Once Upon A Book, where they had marketing panels and suggested taking online marketing classes from Mark Dawson.

        On the bright side though, my first book is about to be available in print, and book 2 is tentatively planned for August 31’st! And it’s also getting a print copy! 😀

        And Artemis Fowl is amazing! I’ve read 5 of the books so far and absolutely love them. The trailer almost looks like it takes some scenes from a few of the books, but I’m not sure. It’s been years since I’ve read them, so I’m adding those to my reading list.

        Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genuis, and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories, they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.

      • disperser says:

        I’ve read the wiki entry on the series. I’ll see if the library has the e-books. Soon. Maybe.

        Marketing is the big thing. Everything I read says you need to have connections and a network too help market.

        That automatically puts me at a disadvantage because I’d never leverage people I know.

        My plan is to rely on dumb luck. I put my chances of success at 0.01% . . . but I round that up to 1%.

      • paigeaddams says:

        Yeah, I’m an introvert so the networking is hard too, but I’m having fun. I totally see what you mean though – I wouldn’t ever want to take advantage of anyone’s kindness or allow it to be uneven with other authors, where they promote me but I don’t reciprocate. So far, all the authors I’ve met for networking at The Dayton Book Expo and Once Upon A Book in Michigan have been really kind, and I’m learning a lot from them. 😀

        Based on the interactions I’ve had so far, they see their writing as a business as much as a labor of love, and they all support each other to that end equally. I don’t think I would consider it leveraging, but that’s just the feeling I got from talking to them. 🙂

        I don’t think you necessarily have to start networking right away though, or have connections in order to start the marketing process. A lot of what they stressed in the marketing panels was keeping a spreadsheet of what companies you use for ads and then tracking your return on investment. Then using some of those returns to begin budgeting and saving for your next ad campaign. I haven’t looked into pricing or anything – I’m still pondering how I want to attack this, and researching the different options for advertising – but that at least doesn’t rely on networking or connections.

      • disperser says:

        I’m off two minds about this. On the one hand, there’s the confidence in my writing. On the other hand, the financial risk which, while not prohibitive, is not trivial.

        The thing is that the risk is coupled with the networking and that’s what hand me up a bit. I used to ruin a business with 50+ employees and I know I can market and sell, but this is different.

        I’ll decide on what to do when I get serious about it.

      • paigeaddams says:

        I don’t blame you. I’m starting really small with the marketing, and trying to be careful what services I choose. It adds up fast unfortunately.

        And I’m rooting for you! You know I’ll buy a copy, whether you self publish or get in with a traditional publisher! 😀

      • paigeaddams says:

        Well poo…. upon reading the description of the movie on YouTube and seeing the comments, it appears Disney may be changing the plot and changing a few of the characters?? Why, Disney? WHY?! BOOOOOO!!!!! HIIIISSSSSSSS!!!!!!

      • disperser says:

        . . . perhaps they’ll make it better . . .

      • disperser says:

        I can only think of one movie that was better than the books. Lord of the Rings. Still, one can hope. Realistically, because of the difference in mediums, movies can’t be like the books.

        It did work for watchmen, but that was a graphic novel which is also a mix of visuals and writing.

      • paigeaddams says:

        Yeah, it’s a tricky balance. I know they have to change a few things here and there to make it work in movie format. I just hope the changes they make to the plot don’t kill it for me. Lol, it’s the same trouble I’m having with these Disney reboots. Leave the story alone, or turn everything upside down. Keeping the bones of the story while watering down and changing what made it so captivating in book form will not do them any favors.

        You’re right, I do feel like the graphic novel to movie adaptations I’ve seen have been more forgiving. I’m more optimistic about those.

        My favorite movie that’s better than the books would have to be the Divergent series. The difference in the main character between the books and the movies, along with the ending of book 4…. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve thrown a book. This was one of them, lol.

    • disperser says:

      You’ll get a complimentary copy . . . but it might be a good long while.

      As for the movie, one of the trends I don’t like is changing movies to conform to modern diversity “guidelines”.

      I’m all for diversity but create something new. Messing with established stuff just pisses people off and ruins the original material.

      • paigeaddams says:

        I’ll be looking forward to it! 😀

        And totally agreed! Lets have more diverse stories and roles, but lets not cram politics in where it isn’t necessary. I think it does ruin the source material when you try to change it only for the sake of politics. Honestly, that’s why I’m not as excited for Batwoman on CW as I normally would be. They inserted politics into a show about a lady flying around fighting crime in tights and a cape. Stop it, CW. Nobody asked for that.

      • disperser says:

        Ah, yes . . . women superheroes don’t wear realistic armor.

      • paigeaddams says:

        Lol, exactly! I watch superhero stuff for the escapism and fun, so they can get away with wearing rubber armor and spandex that magically repels bullets. 🙂

  2. Mariah says:

    I am so happy to see you felt the same way! Novi and I saw it and we were so floored and just overall disappointed by the change and lack of flare! We had to get 3 scoops of ice cream afterwards just to console our inner children who were raging inside. How dare they change our childhood essentially. Haha!

    • paigeaddams says:

      Lol, agreed! Ice cream definitely needed for this one! I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling this way too!

      *sigh* Why are you doing this to us, Disney? WHY?! I’ll still go see Mulan and The Little Mermaid, but with much lower expectations sadly.

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