I did not want to see this movie. I did not want the Mouse to think that I in any way support this new trend of simply remaking old Disney classics with wooden actors and sparkling CGI. But alas, I was dragged into the movie theatre anyway, and here I am, telling you that I'm deeply ashamed that the Great Black Mouse of Disney has my money. Yet again.
Because I was right in not wanting to see this film. Because this is the bottom of the barrel. The other movies have kind of been shot for shot remakes, but every single one of them has had at least something new. Some other angle, some twist, to make it interesting. This, one the other hand? Holy cow in heaven, is this bad. The beginning, for example. You know, The Circle of Life, one of the most recognizable and striking movie openings in history. The exact same. Shot for shot, camera angle for camera angle, the exact same. Except, you know, not as colourful, iconic or fetching. Because it's supposed to look real. Which in this case apparently means that everything looks either more wrinkled, dusty and/or dirty in general. Because that's Serengeti for you. According to the film makers.
Luckily they stopped with the exact shot for shot soon after that, thank heavens, but that was only a minor relief. Because you know what else happens, when you try to make everything look as real as possible? Aside from everything looking like it's going to give you fleas. It makes everything look emotionless! Lions are not exceptionally renowned for their wide range of facial expressions, you know. The reason you can make animated movies with animals as the main characters is because animation doesn't care that lions can't have facial expressions. You can go outside the realms of biology and what's strictly speaking possible. You can exaggerate, emote and play loose with the rules. You can use colours, shapes and perspectives to compensate, to make it look interesting. This film has none of that! It's a dull, emotionless, flat table reading of dialogues we all know and love, but which are given nothing to support them.
Not helping the matter is the fact that they hired celebrity voice actors. These people are talented entertainers, yes, and they look fetching on a poster, but none of them is exactly renowned for their voice acting capabilities. And boy does that show! Even James Earl Jones sounds like he's about to keel over and pass beyond the veil at any moment. There's very little of the majesty and gravitas of the original Mufasa left in his performance.
And I actually misspoke earlier. This thing has one new thing in it. A song. A song by Beyonce, named Spirit. Because apparently that was the price of getting her on board. Or perhaps Disney wants an Original Song Oscar nomination. I don't know, but the song is awful and feels exactly like what it is. A forced, jammed in last-minute addition.
Saints in heaven, was this a bad movie. It's a bit over a week after I saw it, but writing this review actively ruined my morning. I feel awful even thinking about this. About the fact that Disney has made incredible amounts of money with this. That they're going to keep making these.
And I contributed to it. I think I might be sick. Excuse me.