On DVD & Blu-Ray: October 22, 2019

Yeah, I mean, it's The Lion King.

Let's start from the top though, "Circle of Life" had me; I'll give it that. Yes, the groove, the natural rhythm of the music combined with the imagery felt slightly off, but the impact was close enough. As it turns out, this largely seems to be due to the fact the shot list in this sequence is exactly the same as the original.

Speaking of the original, I didn't re-watch the 1994 animated classic in an attempt to avoid comparisons, but director Jon Favreau's "re-imagining" of this story as a Disney Nature documentary ultimately only comes to serve as a reminder of how good that original actually is.

So, what did this version have that the previous did not? The technology, obviously-the chance to illustrate a world held precious to so many in a new light and with a real vitality in its shades of authenticity. This brings us to the biggest issue with even the idea of re-making The Lion King as anything other than a cartoon (and yes, I agree this new version is also an animated movie) as the dynamics, actions, and frankly-the themes-are simply too adult to be conveyed in any other form if still meant to be children's entertainment. Furthermore, as great as some of the images are here (I caught this on a LieMAX screen and certain moments were appropriately sweeping) there are others that felt lazy, uninspired and as if they'd forgotten the type of technology they were supposed to be taking advantage of.

Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me if You Can) is credited with the screenplay, but one would be hard pressed to come up with anything he might have actually tweaked in this update. There is a change-up in the relationship between Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor-a winner among the largely complacent cast) and the hyenas and in regards to semantics glossed over in the original the screenplay doesn't do that annoying thing some re-makes and re-boots do where they backtrack and try to give every single line of dialogue or trademark outfit an origin story, but these are the types of compliments I'm coming up with, so...

Back to those visuals they didn't fully utilize in telling this story in some new or creative way for as grand as the visuals are and as good as the music is that Favreau tends to over-rely on, the marriage between the two should be wonderfully epic and urgent, but more often than not it just...isn't.

Oh, and just a side note: things feel a lot less "mystical" when conveyed through feces. Video review here. C-

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