Critic Reviews



Based on 54 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Director Jon Favreau's The Lion King is a worthwhile reimagining that relies on nostalgia over risk-taking.
Favreau’s most important responsibility in overseeing the remake was simply not to mess it up. Which he doesn’t. Then again, nor does he bring the kind of visionary new take to the material that Julie Taymor added when staging the Broadway musical. That makes Favreau’s “The Lion King” an undeniably impressive, but incredibly safe entry to the catalog — one whose greatest accomplishment may not be technical (which is not to diminish the incredible work required to make talking animals look believable), but in perfecting the performances.
“King Redux” has just a couple of more laughs than the first Disney cartoon, but being 30 minutes longer, that’s not much of a plus. The original vs. remake comparison is hard to get away from here, but I have to say I was moved just once by this remake — that lovely opening note of African song/chant still thrills.
Time Out
Always effortful and desperate to impress, The Lion King may serve as a virtual substitute for going to the zoo (don’t slide down the Black Mirror cynicism of that idea), but let’s hope it never replaces such outings, nor its 1994 forebear, a passport to something far more sublime.
By and large, very few remakes, other than Gus Van Sant's shot-by-shot reproduction of Psycho, have adhered as closely to their original versions as this one does. Everything here is so safe and tame and carefully calculated as to seem pre-digested. There's nary a surprise in the whole two hours.
The ’toon still rules when it comes to heart, but this shot-for-shot remake is an impressively mounted, visually breathtaking nostalgia rush.
In the end, it’s less the Circle of Life and more the Line of Indifference.
Ultimately, only Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, as slacker sidekicks Timon and Pumbaa, make much of an impression; their funny, possibly ad-libbed banter feels both fresh and true to the spirit of the characters—the perfect remake recipe. Just don’t look too hard at their character designs. They’re realistic, hideously.
Slant Magazine
There’s something very cheap at the core of this overtly, ostentatiously expensive film, reliant as it is on our memory of the original to accentuate every significant moment.
It’s the work of a studio that’s gobbled up the rest of the film industry and is still hungry for more. The Lion King feels less like a remake than a snuff film, and a boring one at that.

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