Disney is currently in the process of remaking many of its classic animated films with modern visual effects and live-action casts. Some have been more successful than others, but few, if any, have been as highly anticipated as The Lion King. How could it possibly live up to the original, which many consider to be the preeminent entry in Disney’s animated canon? What’s the point of a “live-action” remake without any human characters?
Needless to say, fans of the animated film were trepidatious about 2019’s The Lion King, but as early reactions from critics begin to roll in, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. According to those who saw the first press screenings of the movie, The Lion King not only lives up to the high expectations, but might even surpass them.
Reviews won’t be posted until closer to the film’s release, but thanks to social media, we got a flood of reactions last night as critics left their screenings. Nearly everyone seems to agree that The Lion King is a stunning achievement on a technical level, with several going as far as to say that the visuals set a new high-water mark. As for the storytelling, the response was mixed, but appeared to lean toward the positive side:
Holy smokes, I really loved THE LION KING. I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing. (For the record I’m agnostic on the original movie and have zero nostalgia for it. Anyway, this movie hooked me.)
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is visually immaculate & a game-changer for visual effects. It’s absolutely stunning in every way. The music shines (Glover & Beyoncé take it to another level), the performances are great (Timon, Pumbaa & Scar steal many scenes) & the emotions run HIGH. Truly great pic.twitter.com/lPH9Oo4ybb
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) July 10, 2019
Yes, Beyoncé is good in #TheLionKing — really good! Nala’s role is indeed bigger, and Bey suits it perfectly. There’s a moment when she tells Simba he’s “disappointed” her, and reader, the way Bey bit the “t” in that word chilled me and thrilled me.
The movie? Welllll…
— Adam B. Vary VACCINATED (@adambvary) July 10, 2019
Oh man #TheLionKing delivers. It’s a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time. It’s a true testament to the lasting effect Disney movies have on all generations. Timon and Pumbaa steal the show. And BEYONCE!!! #LionKing
— Beatrice Verhoeven (@bverhoev) July 10, 2019
Just walked out of #TheLionKing. Overriding reaction: SIMBA IS SO CUTE. But really, if you’re hoping this will be a near-exact adaptation of the animated movie with some absolutely jaw-dropping visual effects, you’ll get what you’re looking for. pic.twitter.com/14BydbdhCx
— Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) July 10, 2019
At the very least, it sounds like everyone who was concerned that Disney would ruin their childhood can take a step back from the ledge, as even the critics who didn’t fall in love with the remake still found things to like about it. This is shaping up to be yet another massive hit for Disney, but what else is new?
The Lion King hits theaters on July 18th, 2019.