Cert PG 118mins Stars 5
Your cubs will go wild for this royal remake of Disney’s animated classic which is exciting, funny and cute, as well as a technical triumph and a perfect summer treat for the whole family.
Disney’s 1994 Oscar winning animated coming-of-age tale has been roaringly reimagined using fabulous photorealistic CGI, and powered by a top drawer voice cast and glorious new versions of Elton John’s tremendous songs such as ‘Circle of Life’, and ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’.
With the opening shot of the gorgeous African savannah we’re reminded we’re in the safe of hands Jon Favreau, also made 2016’s swinging remake of The Jungle Book. Once again he directs with great humour and emotional depth, so when I wasn’t grinning away I was moved to tears.
Respectful to the point of being a shot by shot copy of the original, we follow the adorable lion cub Simba, whose father King Mufasa is murdered, which leaves Simba outcast from his country and his wicked uncle Scar on the throne.
However the real coup here is the use of next-level special effects, with every hair and feather lovingly created by special effects team operating at the top of their game and from the tiniest ant to the tallest giraffe it’s a non-stop visual feast.
Every creature is so brilliantly rendered I’m still not convinced I wasn’t watch a troop of terrifically trained circus animals.
Plus it’s an uplifting hymn to the natural wonder of our world with an emphasis on respecting our environment, and if David Attenborough made Disney films it would look and feel like this.
Everything is amped up which means the elephants graveyard scene is scarier, the wildebeest stampede is more thrilling, the hyenas are more frightening, and the warthog and meerkat sidekicks are funnier. And there are more fart jokes than before, though you may have to explain to your kids what a dung beetle is.
Heavyweight Brit actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is magnificent as the voice of Scar, with Donald Glover and Beyonce charming as Simba and best friend Nala, and James Earl Jones is once powerfully regal as he reprises the voice of Mufasa.
This is Disney’s third remake this year, and after the disappointing Dumbo and a much better than anticipated Aladdin, they’ve saved the best till last, with a new Lion King which reigns supreme.