Disney’s live-action CGI makeover to The Lion Kingis set to hit the silver screen on July 19, 2019. One of the most highly anticipated upcoming films – likely only rivaled by Avengers: Endgame– fans are anxious to see whether Jon Favreau can pull off another Disney reimagining, as he did so beautifully with The Jungle Book.
While The Lion King boasts an impressive ensemble – with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa and Beyonce Knowles and Donald Glover coming forward to play Nala and Simba respectively – the voices should be up to par. However, the cast is not the issue fans are taking concern with. Rather, after watching the trailer, many fans fear that CGI will strip the movie of its original spirit and appeal.
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Why fans argue CGI will take away the spirit of The Lion King characters
By stripping the characters of the exaggerated facial expressions akin to animation, many fans fear that the characters will lose their sense of magic at the cost of pixel-perfect realism. The question is: is realism more important than character accuracy?
To explain, fans have taken to various social media outlets and digital forums to discuss their concerns regarding the new Scar. Scar – while very melodramatic, pompous, and wildly condescending in the 1994 animated film – seems to have lost his flair for all things over-the-top in Disney’s remake.
Some argue that he’s not “sexy” enough while others imply that the live-action transformation has stripped the characters of their ability to portray the entire emotional spectrum. Regardless, fans feel that the heart of The Lion King has been removed and replaced with the heart of cinema’s current trend: making everything darker and “more real.” What’s more important? Realistic-looking lions or the character depictions you have come to associate with The Lion King?
While most of the backlash focuses on Scar, comments surrounding the entire Lion ensemble and coyote crew are also amassing, as fans come to realize that a CGI makeover implies the same thing for all characters.
With CGI stripping away particular abilities that old-school animation retains, most of the characterization work will fall on the actors (and their vocal dexterity). Which, given the cast, should not be a problem, but nothing is guaranteed.
Will ‘The Lion King,’ CGI and all, live up the original?
While many fans have stated that they will not see The Lion King remake, many more still plan to flock to theaters to see the live-action rendition. A hyper-realistic version of The Lion King does have its perks, as it’s likely to feel more serious, and a bit scarier (which will likely please the older kids in the audience).
Given Jon Favreau’s talent for transforming Disney classics into live-action movies, many feel that he will once again rise to the occasion; however, is The Jungle Book as iconic as The Lion King? Will expectations for the latter be higher?
Whether or not the remake comes to satisfy skeptics and supporters alike remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: with just one trailer, those behind the film already have a significant strike against them, as they have stripped a fan-favorite character of his identity. So, be prepared for the cinematic hit or miss of a lifetime (pun intended).