I went into the reboot of “The Lion King” with high expectations.
At first look/listen, this film was almost line-for-line like its 1994 original.
And the music was solid and similar to the 1994 original. And with Beyonce assisting Elton John and Tim Rice (both from the original) on the soundtrack, the music is a winner.
Yes, it was visually marvelous as others have noted. And the great colors and CGI effects were awesome to behold. The golden locks of Mufasa’s mane, the swaying leaves on the trees, flowing water of the river and stampede of the wildebeests were extremely realistic.
But that may have overshadowed the rest of the movie and made it too much to digest.
Thankfully, James Earl Jones reprises his role from the original animated version as the Pride Lands’ leader Mufasa. Chiwetel Ejiofor voices Mufasa’s brother, an unredeemable Scar who schemes with some conscience-less hyenas to take over the Pride Lands.
Once Scar manages to chase off Simba into the jungle, things get a little more upbeat.
It had a few great comedic moments — but they were just moments.
The audience needs Timon the smart-alecky meerkat (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa the always farting warthog (Seth Rogen) to provide some laughter after the shocking and thunderous loss of Mufasa.
We watch Simba grow up as he joins with Timon and Pumbaa sings “Hakuna Matata.” These are the good times and as they walk off singing and riffing, you feel all warm and fuzzy. Simba’s newly discovered and nontraditional meals are a little creepy in their realism as well.
On the dark side, we have the pack of mean-spirited — and lazy — hyenas who are led by the voice talents of Keegan Michael-Key, Florence Kasumba and Eric Andre. This dastardly trio offer a few laughs as Scar’s allies.
There’s a part where Pumbaa teases someone and calls them “chubby” and it made me cringe, that there would be body-shaming in a Disney production.
Unfortunately, the humorous lines and wonderful sights and sounds can’t carry the film. Something was just missing from this tremendously beautiful looking production and I left needing to see almost any other movie.