Aladdin has barely left our collective consciousness and already we’re being whisked off to the digital serengeti in Disney’s new ‘live action’ reimagining.
The most accurate, shot for shot remake since Gus Van Sant’s wholly unnecessary Psycho, this shiny new Lion King takes all the cues and hits all the beats from the 1994 classic. Elton John’s beautiful melodies and Hans Zimmer’s sweeping score remain intact. The Hamlet inspired story should be pretty well known by now, and here it’s largely unchanged: Lion cub Simba is set to inherit his father’s throne, but tragic (even traumatising) events leave Simba cast out and fending for himself.
Admiration towards the film lies with its astonishing level of detail; this technical marvel pushes pixels to their absolute limit, to the point where I half expected David Attenborough to chime in at some point. And that’s maybe film’s only real foil; the expressiveness of the cartoon is replaced with dead-eyed realism; so when Simba belts out that he can’t wait to be king, something feels a little off. Still, the template of the original is strong enough that this version still delights. (Jack Whiting)