Disney's next remake experiment takes one of its most beloved stories and recreates it in live-action photorealism--but still technically animated--for the new generation, while though it still feels all too familiar. Director Jon Favreau goes from the jungles of India to the lands of Africa to explore the legacy of Simba and how he has to find himself to become the new king.
So first off, I'll say the film is visually great, given into rich detail with shots that look more like what you often see in a nature documentary. But if there's a main issue I might have it's that if you know the original quite well, you're practically getting the same movie. I can see it's really been their goal to recreate it shot-for-shot (and being released on the original's 25th anniversary), but of course I've had to see what's coming and I couldn't help but draw comparisons. Like in its more emotionally impacted scenes for one, the characters tend to look more like actual animals compared to the more expressional cartoon version. From there, it might not feel as impactful.
There's also the musical numbers, if you look back at songs like I Just Can't Wait to be King, they were made in such a more creative fashion only because they could get away with so much in Disney animation. But when you look at it in live-action, I guess they had to keep it a bit grounded.
One of the film's strengths though, really comes from its voice cast. Like when I first read about who's starring, I thought they brought up the perfect recasting for this version. With the exception of James Earl Jones, because who else as Mufasa? So to sum it all up, I see the film work in its own form, but if I had to choose between this and Jungle Book, I'd still go with The Jungle Book because they remixed a few things to make it feel fresh while it stayed true to its source material. In the end, how I felt about the film may be the same as with the past remakes, while it was done pretty well, it will still be the original people will look back at and remember. B-