The story we all know, retold with stunning photorealism. With the tragic murder of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones – Rogue One), a young lion prince, Simba (young Simba JD McCrary and older Simba Donald Glover – Solo: A Star Wars Story, Spider-Man: Homecoming), flees the kingdom on the advice of his uncle, Scar (Chiwetel Ijiofor – Doctor Strange, Triple 9). Now he must learn the true meaning of responsibility, bravery, his place in the world, and the circle of life.
For those who grew up with the animated version of The Lion King (1994), enough time has passed that one avoids the risk of having a fun childhood memory spoiled. The songs we all know and love are all there, all the characters present, yet we are treated to a new line-up of voices. New voices, that is, apart from the legendary James Earl Jones, playing Mufasa in both films.
While the graphics and detail in this latest incarnation are great, they do pose the problem of disconnecting the viewer from the story. The animals feel more akin to the watching of a nature documentary, with actors reading lines, rather than being connected to the voices and emotion they should contain.
The story remains sound, the music evokes excitement, and there are a good many laughs. But apart from the graphics upgrade, this version of the film comes second to the first outing of the lovable lions. A good try, but falling a little short of the mark.
The Lion King opens 19 July 2019 in South African cinemas.