Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – The Lion King (2019)

I wouldn’t say no worries…

Summary: One day, the young lion Simba (JD McCrary as a child, Donald Glover as an adult) will be king of the Pride Lands, but until then his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) rules with a firm and just paw. But one day Mufasa falls victim to a ploy from his brother Scar (Chiwetel Ejoifor) and his hyena companions while Simba is driven away. In his exile, he comes across a warthog named Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and a meerkat named Timon (Billy Eichner) who take Simba in and teach him their carefree lifestyle. After time goes on and Simba grows up, his old friend Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph as a child, Beyoncé Knowles as an adult) finds him and urges him to come back and save the Pride Lands from Scar’s destructive reign. Simba is torn between his escape and his duty, so he has to look inside himself to find where he truly belongs.

Review: The Lion King (2019) asks a simple question: did you like the original? Well, here it is through the lens of a nature documentary. Like Beauty and the Beast from a few years ago, this does everything the original did but worse. By making it more realistic, it makes the world less vibrant and the characters less expressive and as such, there’s less to interest the audience and keep them invested. At the very least, you can say that it’s pretty, but so are paintings and they don’t take two hours to watch.

The changes they did make to the story were simply baffling. They absolutely gutted “Be Prepared” and “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” to the point where it was almost offensive. They also chose to cut the important “run from the past or learn from it,” which is a really tragic loss. Speaking of Rafiki, the scene where Simba’s fur makes its way to him was extended to include the entire journey, including a baffling scene when it becomes part of a giraffe’s poop. Just… why. What’s only slightly more baffling is when Timon starts singing “Be Our Guest” to distract the hyenas at the end.

I will say that I enjoyed Timon and Pumbaa, though that was mostly from the strength of the actors. Other performances made me scratch my head. Beyonce as Nala, for instance… I mean, she’s a good actress, but she sounds way too mature to be the same age as someone voiced by Donald Glover. Their choice to use mostly black actors was a noble one, but Chiwetel Ejoifor’s subdued Scar isn’t nearly as memorable as Jeremy Irons’ slimy one. Also, while it’s great to hear James Earl Jones in just about everything, he just sounded so tired as Mufasa.

I don’t see the point of this movie being made, apart from allowing Disney to hold onto the rights for even longer. There isn’t a lot of enjoyment to be had in this pale imitation, to the point where I prefer the watered down version in Kingdom Hearts II. It’s bizarre because Jon Favreau is not a bad director, yet I can’t see what he’s trying to accomplish by making this, other than helping to put his kids through college. I’m sure it goes without saying, but sitting through it is just not worth it.

Fun Tidbit: It’s kind of a stretch, but there’s actually some odd precedent for a character to sing a snippet of “Be Our Guest.” If you remember, the original had Zazu singing a bit of “It’s a Small World,” so I guess there’s some reasoning behind it… if you squint.

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