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LION KING, THE (2019)

SYNOPSIS:
After the murder of his father, a young prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Review by Louise Keller:
Technically brilliant with its hyperreal visuals, there is something mawkish about Jon Favreau's remake of The Lion King. The film's strength is also its weakness: so realistic are the animals and the savannas of Africa, that it feels wrong for the lions, hyenas, warthog, hornbill, meercat and other creatures to talk. And sing. The all-star voice cast simply cannot live up to expectations created by the miraculous imagery. Despite James Earl Jones resuming the booming voice of the old king lion. It is hard for Chiwetel Ejiofor to match Jeremy Iron's sardonic voicing of Scar, the treacherously scheming brother.

But there is something else. While marvelling at technical gee whizzery, the magic of the film's emotional journey takes second place. It made me realise how much I miss the simplicity of Disney's earlier works like Snow White, which prompted our imaginations to soar. The moment when Simba (Donald Glover) understands the notion that 'a true king searches for what he can give others' should be moving; not simply a pivot for the storyline to lead into the final act.

There are sparks of comic relief (namely between Seth Rogan's warthog, Billy Eichner's meercat and John Oliver's wise-cracking hornbill) and I enjoyed the upbeat anthem, 'Hakuna Matata' (No Worries). Generally the music lacks the inspiration this visceral artform should bring. Watch for Beyonce's Can You Feel the Love Tonight. It works well - when Simba and Nala become a love match by a spectacular waterfall.

The film itself is probably bulletproof and all the elements are brought together for a new generation, as this classic tale about the circle of life is retold. At 118 minutes, it is overlong and in the final analysis, there is no roar. Despite the wildebeest stampede and sprinting kudus.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

LION KING, THE (2019) (PG)
(US, 2019)

VOICES: Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, John Kani, Alfre Woodard

PRODUCER: Jeffrey Silver

DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau

SCRIPT: Jeff Nathanson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Caleb Deschanel

EDITOR: Adam Gerstel, Mark Livolsi

MUSIC: Hans Zimmer

PRODUCTION DESIGN: James Chinlund

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studio Pictures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 8, 2019







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