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SMR 254: The Lion King

Rod and Karen review the 2019 reboot of “The Lion King.” We also discuss trailers before the movie and your feedback.



    This iteration of The Lion King was dope. Not better than Jon Favreau’s amazing on The Jungle Book, but as a remake, it gets the job done. The voice acting is superb &, in some ways, is better than 1994 original. The musical numbers are good, visually stunning, musicially pleasant & fun to watch. I’ve read some of the critics take of this movie & I feel they’re highly exaggerated for clicks. It’s a solid by-the-numbers remake. I was glad during my viewing to hear kids really into it, which, at the end of the day, is made for today’s generation, not for millennials like me.

  2. Iman

    Hi Rod & Karen,

    If people don’t like this movie, fine that’s ok. But no one can say anything about this soundtrack! Beyoncé’s The Gift was just that, and it’s made our summer. At least in my house, I can tell when my daughter’s signing “Brown Skin Girl” to herself in her head. It makes me so happy. And I liked the addition of “Spirit” in the film.
    I liked the movie for what it was, the cgi and voice acting was all great! I did have the misconception that the animation was going to be more like the Jungle Book and they would utilize motion capture with the actors. Like they did in The Jungle Book, but I looked it up and apparently John Favreau wanted The Lion King to look more like one of those Disney animal documentaries rather than the more emotive animals in The Jungle Book.
    I also agree with you Rod, sorry Karen, that older millennials like myself who grew up with this movie and other animated Disney films of the late 80’s and 90’s definitely share these movies with our kids and are more endeared to them. Often my daughter will find some of my old favorites on Netflix or amazon and I’ll explain to her that it was a movie I used to watch, often she’s surprised because the animation still holds up really well. It’s the same with the older Disney movies that my parents rented for us at Blockbuster. My daughter thought this version was ok and my husband thought it was boring. Lol, I’m the only one who liked it, but I also managed my expectations before I saw it. I already knew what it wasn’t going to be.
    I loved how they expanded Nala’s story. Her escape from pride rock and her rallying the other lionesses was a nice addition. I also liked the addition of when grown Simba scared that antelope and didn’t get why he was scared. I felt like a Wayne’s brother should have popped out and said “MESSAGE!!”
    My only criticisms is that you can tell that a lot of the actors couldn’t be in the studio with each other, in parts where I think it would have helped bring the emotion out even more, since they couldn’t rely on any facial expressions from the animals. “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” was not as powerful as I feel it could have been. It sounded like Bey and Donald were trying not to over sing, so they wouldn’t overshadow one another. Because they weren’t in the room with each other. I hope they get to re-record it.
    All in all, I’m glad Disney is doing these live action reboots. Non of our kids will have awkward sexual awakenings or crushes on cartoon animals like my generation did. I totally wanted to marry Fox Robin Hood and no one could tell me that Maid Marian’s head covering wasn’t a hijab when I was little. Nala didn’t have those “what we bout to do” bedroom eyes like in the original, nothing sexy about it and Jasmine never showed her midriff. Lol!

    Love y’all!

  3. Anzidavis

    Had a question for Rod & Karen, are ya’ll going to review Rocketman ( the lead guy from Kings men is playing Elton John)? Yes it is a musical but done in such a way that moves the story along and gives new meaning to the songs. I think ya’ll would like it but I understand if ya’ll say no because it is a musical which is not ya’ll usual jam….. Lion King was a great re-adaption – i felt like I was watching National Geographic show with actors giving the animals human voices. thanks again for all you and Karen do

  4. Felix

    Hi yall, Felix here. Man I feel yall on the Disney remakes but it always hurts my heart a little when folks say CGI is better than 2D animation. As 2d animator, I can appreciate the CGI since I know how much work goes into that art but the approaches arent really comparable. Being 2D also doesn’t make the old movie inherently corny. I know you probably didn’t mean it like that but just hearing those words made me a little sad. I wish Disney were more conscious of how they word things all the time that makes it seem like CGI is the evolution of 2D when it’s just another valid way of making movies that doesn’t invalidate 2D. 🙁

    I dont agree with all the shade animator Twitter has been throwing the past few months about the movie, the original had flawless animation that was so expressive so sticking to such a low key approach with only the mouths really moving here was disappointing. It could have used a little more movement. Being “realistic” doesn’t have to come at the expense of expressive animation but I guess they really wanted to try and fool folks with the “live action” tagline.

    I will not sit here and act like this movie is bad like all those folks tho. It’s good. I enjoyed it. The cast is good and I think certain folks may just be mad its noticeabley more black than the older one. Also I think some 2D folks just don’t appreciate the ridiculous amount of work modeling and rigging the fantastic 3D characters and environments you see throughout the movie is and the feat that was accomplished here on a technical level. Like bruh they modelled all this shit in computers. That is insane. And the fur and muscle definition on all the animals man, we have come such a long way. The shit is beautiful.

    I never saw the original until I was about 18 because it was on the BBC. I’ve always enjoyed it but I was always bothered by how much of the main cast was white and couldn’t even pronounce some of the African words they’d use correctly. That’s something this remake fixes for me and I loved how Donald and Beyonces songs sounded. The originals were fine but didnt have the punch these new versions did. Chiwetel was great. I wanna see him beat doctor strange’s ass in the sequel so bad now. Hes such a good villain. John Kani I just love because whatever western movie my boi is in he always represents for us Africans. Always blows my mind hearing fluent African dialogue in mainstream movies. Even if it’s not a language I know because I’m from a different country on the continent. Hes always a treasure.

    Lastly, (apologises for the long comment) I was really happy at how good the mulan trailer looked. I was worried. I love the original and while I didnt know any of the offensive stuff they did in the original until recently I’m glad they are fixing it and doing a bit more of a serious take. Mulan really is one of the only ones that can get by without the songs as much as I love them. I remember listening to a podcast by one of the co directors of the original that they did with ming na wen where they just came across as overly defensive and self congratulatory about some of the criticism of the movie and that kinda irked me. The also defended not hiring more Asian actors for the originals so theres that also. Just glad Disney is doing right by China because if they brought those dudes back it would not have gone like this. Ok have a good one yall. Felix out.

  5. WriterChick

    Hey Rod and Karen

    I wanted to thank you for the Toy Story movie review. I took my 2 1/2 year old grandson to the theater and after he finished his chicken tenders and soda he was ready to go so I missed the last 40 minutes of the movie. I really wanted to know how the rest of the movie turned out but I wasn’t sure about going to see it again (without his little ass). Thanks to you and Karen I now know what happened and I can finally be at peace.

    Thanks again for everything that you do.

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