Today we review a film that might be the oddest film I have watched from a conceptional perspective. It is a reinterpretation of the story of the Lion King remake, a movie I thought was okay but not much more. But this reframing is the barest framework the film uses throughout to explore everything from religion to music to race and more. This should not work, but it does.
TL;DR – An animated marvel that unfortunately comes off as a disjointed mess at times
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
I’m going to be honest right from the start here, I had some real trepidation
on walking into The Lion King today. I consider the original animated film to
be one of my all-time top
animated films. In the 25 years since I first watched it, it still holds a special
place in my heart, even though those 25 years were filled with hot takes about authoritarianism
and plagiarism accusations. However, something about this remake just was not
jiving with me. Well now that I have seen the full film I am happy to say that
it was not the disaster I thought it would be, but wow does it have issues.
So to set the scene, and if you have seen the original film you can probably
skip this section. We open with dawn breaking on a very special day in Pride
Rock. Because this is the day that the new prince Simba (JD McCrary) is being
presented to the animal kingdom. As Rafiki (John Kani) raised the young cub up
in front of all the animals that have gathered Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and
Sarabi (Alfre Woodard) watch on with pride, but someone is missing. Scar (Chiwetel
Ejiofor) the brother of the king is absent and his absence is notable. He wants
the throne for himself and he will stop at nothing to make that happen. Well,
one day when young Simba and Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph) escape their watcher
Zazu (John Oliver) and take a trip to the elephant’s graveyard an opportunity
lands in Scar’s lap.
One of the issues living in Australia is that the likelihood of me being able
to go to some of these big tent pole events across the world is quite low.
However, in this age of digital connection that is not the problem that it used
to be, as connections become stronger around the world. Today we take a look at
a film that takes this to heart as it explores not only a concert and how it
was made but also the philosophy that went that underpinned it all.
So to set the scene, last year at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival or as
it more commonly called Coachella, history was made. For the first time, the festival
was being headlined by an African-American woman (and only the 3rd
women in their history at that point) when Beyoncé stepped onto the stage to perform.
These performances rocked the music world for their choreography, their musical
strength, their surprise guests, and because they were full of power.