The Lion King Roars with Pride as it Crosses $1 Billion

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

No facial expressions. It's not animated. It's not live-action. Of all the criticisms out there about Disney's photorealistic update of The Lion King there's one thing it's not: 

A failure.

Directed by Jon Favreau, THE LION KING has brought in $1 Billion dollars at the worldwide box office. In spite of many criticisms about it being "just another remake" The Lion King updated some parts and expanded some roles to provide depth for certain characters. It features a highly talented cast who, on reputation alone, could command a high box office return. 
Beyonce, the queen herself, has a legion of fans that will most certainly take credit for the tremendous success that THE LION KING saw in under 3 weeks. Her role as Nala features one of those expanded parts as she has to navigate her way out of the pride lands and avoid detection by Scar and the hyenas. In the original, she just shows up and chases Pumbaa. While that scene was much funnier in the original, the updated version offers a bit more gravitas.

Which is a common theme throughout the entire movie, with the exception of comic relief by Billy Eichner (Timon) and Seth Rogan (Pumbaa). They were given the reigns to their characters and much of what they did was off the cuff comedy while staying near the original script. But their efforts did not distract from the severity of what is happening in the movie.

The rest of the cast features all-star talent including the return of James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Donald Glover as Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Oliver (Zazu) and Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari (which serves as a replacement for Banzai played by Cheech Marin in the original). There have been many complaints about the movie, including critics saying Beyonce says "Simba" three times in the movie, each one requiring a different feeling but all sounding the same. Critics have accused the movie of not being nearly as emotional because the Lion's appear less "human" through the lack of facial expressions.

The story still remains. And unless you're into big game hunting, or don't value the life of an animal as much as a human's this movie still hits home with emotion. The stakes feel higher as you see Mufasa's lifeless corpse laying in the gorge after being mercilessly tossed into the stampede by his brother. Simba, confused and alone yells for help as Scar emerges from the cloud of dust that remained in the stampede's wake. The despair that Simba feels when he realizes he has been wasting his life and not living up to his legacy as the heir. The destruction of the pride lands from Scar's poor leadership, and the all-out war at the end when Lion's and Hyena's fight for control of pride rock.

The photorealism alone is enough for fans to keep coming back to the theater as they get to see, what looks like, real lions interacting, pouncing, playing, and fighting. In less than three full weeks, THE LION KING clawed its way to $1 Billion dollars which makes it the most successful of the recent remakes. Domestically, it has surpassed Spider-Man: Far From Home in less than half the time. It passed Aladdin and is well on its way to passing Toy Story 4, both movies now afterthoughts with the release of THE LION KING, in spite of all the criticism and a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of only 53%.

Despite critics best efforts to toss this movie into a stampede of angry fans, hoping to kill it off, it roared into theaters with no worries and took its place as king of the box office. Overall, Disney's photorealistic remake of THE LION KING has been a tremendous hit across the globe and is worth your time to see it on the big screen.