The Lion King premiered a few hours back and first reactions to the movie are beginning to emerge. While full reviews are still embargoed until later, critics have been given free rein to share their preliminary, non-spoilery thoughts on the movie, without going too deep. The reactions are pretty much unanimously positive, with special praise showered toward the movie’s visual effects and music as well as the performances of Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa respectively.
One of the most commonly asked questions has been how different is Jon Favreau’s Lion King remake to the 1994 animated classic? Some critics have given vague answers to this, with the general consensus being that while there are new additions, it’s not much different from the original and the movie is all the more better for it. It’s tough to remove or change elements from an already iconic childhood movie so frequently relished on television and Favreau seems to have understood the pulse of it.
Here are some spoiler-free reactions to The Lion King. Reviews, as mentioned, will come in later. Not that there’s anything to spoil here.
From the very first trailer featuring an almost shot-by-shot recreation of the Circle of Life sequence, practically no one doubted The Lion King too fall short on VFX. Jon Favreau has already helmed several VFX-heavy movies such as Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and 2016’s hugely successful The Jungle Book, which paved the way for his recruitment to helm The Lion King remake. He brought all his expertise to the movie, at times expanding on it, using new tools like virtual reality to assist in filming the movie.
There were a few negative, or rather non-favorable tidbits since negative is a bit too harsh. Very few reactions opine that the photorealism of the animals takes some of their expressiveness away, that was so a hallmark of the animated movies. This is a few voiced by many online when viewing trailers for The Lion King in that the quest for realism does interfere with giving Mufasa, Scar and everyone else the ability to emote. Simba especially looked a lot more stiff compared to his animated counterpart.
Because the premiere has just happened, the reactions are steadily coming out. There should be more in the next few hours but I believe this list summarizes the general sentiment coming out of the movie. As and when I do see reactions expressing a different point of view or contributing something new, I’ll add them to the list.