(2019) 118 mins
No, this is not Disney's 1994 film but a complete remake, updating the original hand-drawn animated cartoon to today's photo-realistic standards and, as The Times says "it's better than the original"!
Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub's arrival. Scar, Mufasa's brother -- and former heir to the throne -- has plans of his own.
The battle for Pride Rock is soon ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba's exile. Now, with help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba must figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, as well as James Earl Jones reprising his role from the original film.
The music is here too, front and centre, and the action opens with a full-throated rendition of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Circle of Life and continues, in sync with the cartoon, beat for beat, rattling through classic hits such as I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Hakuna Matata (a standout)
The Times: "Scar is not the only character improvement. The comedy sidekicks Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and Timon (Billy Eichner) have beefed up their banter and enjoy numerous ad-libbed asides." (4 stars)
The Independent: "At times, it’s hard to believe that everything we’re seeing on screen is an artificial creation – each frolicking creature, every blade of grass, and all the cracks that line Pride Rock." (4 stars)
The Telegraph: "The scenes between pride leader Mufasa (rumblingly voiced again by James Earl Jones) and his jealous, power-hungry brother Scar (a tremendous Chiwetel Ejiofor, going full Claudius-in-Hamlet) have a Shakespearean splendour that feels intensely flesh-and-blood." (4 stars)