I love “The Lion King.” The story is emotional and gripping, the comedy is witty and clever, and the music is out of this world. It has always been one of my favorites, and as some of my fellow Unleashed contributors learned at our monthly meeting, I will vociferously defend my opinion that it is the greatest animated movie of all time.
That is why I won’t be seeing the new version of “The Lion King” that is now in theaters.
Yes, the voice cast is spectacular, featuring some of my favorite actors and comedians. Yes, the animation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And yes, Beyoncé is singing Elton John’s iconic “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
But for all the things that should make this movie great, there are two factors that have killed any enthusiasm I may have had.
The first is a fundamental flaw with the concept of this remake. Because the faces of the animals in the new “Lion King” are intended to look as realistic as possible, they will not be able to convey the range of emotion that the cartoon animals did in the original.
Consider the loss that characters like Timon and Pumbaa would suffer through de-anthropomorphized faces. Sure, they can still deliver witty zingers here and there, but the visual gags and physical comedy that truly sets the characters apart will be completely lost. Even worse, consider what will happen to Scar! Gone are his sly, slinky gait and sultry facial expressions, the very things that make Scar such a great villain!
And the second factor is a frustration not only with this movie, but with the movie industry in general. Over the last few years, we have seen remake after remake of movies that are neither antiquated nor in need of improvement. “The Lion King,” “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” as well as the soon-to-be-remade “The Little Mermaid,” are all very good movies in their original forms. Why should I pay to see a movie that I’ve already seen?
Disney’s movies have always been close to my heart, and I have an immense amount of respect for many of the films that the studio has created. And that is because of the creativity and uniqueness that shines through in the stories that are told through their films.
But I don’t want the same story that I already know and love. I want something new.