The Lion King (2019)

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After the death of his father, young Simba leaves Pride Rock to run away from his responsibilities, only to realize that running away doesn’t fix everything, and he must return to take his place as the rightful king.

The latest installment in Disney’s series of live-action remakes, The Lion King is good. It paid homage to the original, but it wasn’t the same. Some of the differences are to be expected, and even welcomed: Young Simba and Nala (JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph, respectively) were adorable. Wright Joseph is no stranger to playing Young Nala – she’s been doing it on Broadway for years.

Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, respectively) were hilarious. And, they can sing. Billy Eichner was just as good as Nathan Lane, and he got Nathan Lane’s blessing to play the character.

The one voice they didn’t replace – and it would be a tragedy if they had had to – was James Earl Jones as Mufasa. His voice is iconic. Although it does beg the question of why they didn’t bring more of the original voices back.

Donald Glover was excellent as well. Beyoncé, however, left something to be desired. Yes, she can sing, but “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” sounded strange. And her acting fell flat, even though she only had to use her voice. She makes a lot of money for a reason – ostensibly because she’s talented – but that doesn’t mean she can do everything. She’s good at making her own music; she should probably stick to that.

The animation was as realistic as it could be, which was really cool. And, the crew used virtual reality to help them visualize where they were. All in all, this movie is satisfying. Slimy, yet satisfying.

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