Dissecting the 2019 Version of 'The Lion King'
Are here to talk about the twenty thousand nine hundred film the Lion King which is also one thousand nine hundred four film called the Lion King. This is a photo realistic digitally animated reimagining though not quite so creatively reimagined version of the lion king which is of course one of the Canonical Disney new golden teenage classics that has been remade in this series of remakes and boy. There are a lot of things to say about this film. They're not a lot of things to say about. The plot of this film because the plot is exactly the same as the original yes for the most part but Amanda. Let's start this conversation by talking about one thousand nine hundred four wow take take me back to Amanda Dobbins in one thousand nine hundred four entering a movie theater and experiencing the lion king so I would have been nine years old at the time of the release police and I'm trying to remember. I don't remember this actual theater day experience because again I was nine I don't know what are you going to say children children but I have probably seen seen this movie after the fact as much as any other Disney movie that I've seen and I think this soundtrack definitely became a part of my life. We have spent a lot of time on this five guys talking about how much I love Elton. John and I think this was my entry way into Elton on John. <hes> so I the music and those opening notes you make me emotional every single time and I think I'm trying to remember we were talking I went to they were released the lion king the nineteen ninety-four Lion King about ten years. There's an I actually went to see that in theaters which is strained. It's not something I normally do. I don't go in for that type of nostalgia usually but this became the central Disney tax for Amihai for a lot of other people in my generation I think because it's not about princess and it's not about a boy either I mean obviously there are male and female lions but it's just about animals. I think it's about more than just a love story which which is great it brings in a larger audience and I think probably both in terms of story musical achievement. I think it's the peak of the new golden era of Disney I would agree with you and I think that that has evolved over time. This up in this movie was obviously massive box office success. Yes it was later adapted Julie Taymor into a very successful Broadway adaptation. This new version is directed by Jon favreau. Who is one of the I think one of the signature blockbuster film makers of his era so you know this meaningful the movie the original movie was nominated for the two Academy Awards which actually feels quite low in retrospect this is before there was a best animated feature category was not needed for best original score and best original song for can you feel the love tonight? I definitely saw the lion king three or four times in the movie theater really and I was I think I was eleven when the film was released so maybe a little old but I also I think I was very I think Aladdin ensnared me and I got very excited about people like Robin Williams and so the <unk> Immonen Puma aspect the movie. I've done very appealing. I was not quite aware of the Shakespearean hamlet intonations or the biblical Joseph and Moses Story but at the same time I think that this movie is pitched a little older than say Aladdin for that the reason because there are those generational and canonical overtones in it's about fathers and sons and family what we leave behind and responsibility and larger issues. There's there are no oh princesses in this movie which I think is one of the other things to that is significantly different from so many of the classic Canonical Disney movies that we talk about this isn't Cinderella. This isn't sleeping beauty. This isn't even Aladdin in that respect. It's a very male movie. All of the main characters are very male and I wonder if as a kid I I was responding to that unconsciously somehow. I'm sure you were. I think it is also somehow it is very male but somehow feels like less masculine that a lot of I have been handed a lot of male focus. I've caught her throughout my life and especially as a kid and I do think that this opened up a little bit more than it is. Also there are female characters. Nala is not as developed as you might right like but at the end of the other lions you know they're lions can see yourself if you're going to see yourself in an animal. You're going to see yourself in an animal. There's kind of less gender stuff to work with. I'm glad we agree that. This is the peak of the Disney neo golden era the decision to remake. This movie is complex on the one hand. If you listen to our episode about alive and you know that there is really one reason why they're doing this which is money. These movies are making a lot of money. These live action remakes. Some of them are more successful than others. Yes I think Dumbo came out earlier this year and has already been forgotten. That was not very successful these from financial perspective I think creatively there's kind of some cool things in dumbo happening. It's Tim Burton applying his Tim burntness to the Disneyworld which is kind of a kick unto itself. We may look back on in ten years ago. That was interesting. I found beating the beast for example to be utterly dull and pointless and I thought Aladdin was strange and a little bit unnerving and a little bit sexual and why why are the only person person who's like let the genie have his life. Why not I want to be a human? That's part of being a human. Let's make this a sex positive podcast. Okay thank you. The Lion King is different from those movies. Those movies star the sex in this movie. There's there's has no sex in this movie and there's no humans in this movie at all and all those other movies all of these other live action remake Cinderella Kenneth Branagh Cinderella Stars a human being Willy James. The Lion King is completely digitally animated and there are some brilliant people I think chief among them Rob Llegado who is the sort of digital overseer of this whole film the person who has conceived a lot of this new has worked on a great many films Steven Spielberg and Maureen Scorsese in his widely considered one of the premier digital architects of the modern era of movies but there's something you know the the phrase the Uncanny valley has been used frequently in aggressive reviews of this movie because Sedna Valley and there's something unnerving about looking at real life photo realistic ish lions <hes> talking and singing and nuzzling and conquering <hes> the actual physical Ram like manifestation of this movie. How did you feel about it? I think I'm the only person who is really pro. I honestly it's like a nature documentary with Elton John Songs. I'm not mad. I do think I turn to you within ten minutes of this movie starting and was like we should be high right now. We shouldn't in a band because it was a professional experience in the middle of the day and it's important to have boundaries kids in that theater yes exactly so we made the right responsible decision but in terms of the attitude with which I would enjoy seeing this movie I thought it looked looked amazing and I I really do think that as a technical and visual achievement it's beautiful and there and I wanna say two things about that. One is in terms of the it's. It's competition and comparing it with all of the other effects that we have seen. I find it so strange that people don't seem to like this because we have sat through so much true visual garbage in the last two three five years so many blockbuster movies that we see look like trash and their garbled and there's so much C._G._i.. And that's I mean that is certainly true. I think of Superhero movies which I just have stopped taking into account visually because I've just give it up but also a lot of now that we're using more C._G._i.. And Action Movies and honestly just for location stuff so much stuff looks really bad all the time and you can tell that it's fake and I saw that this looked beautiful. I agree with you to an extent. I think that if you look at a lot of the early reviews of the film what you'll see is this kind of phrasing the lion king is an extraordinary breakthrough comma but and the but what is this is creatively dead end and I think you're what your feelings are. I remember this kind of conversation around Avatar. It feels very similar to the one that you're having right Avatar. which is that habit to see Avatar in theaters? I don't know if you saw it in theaters. I assume you did okay you like most humans saw. There is a blizzard in New York and I'd better my house for today's and I gotta go right so Avatar. I remember being completely blown away. I it was a very similar situation where I was not really thinking terribly hard about the world that James Cameron had created but I was inside side of the world and it's sort of movie that when you watch on television does not stand up in quite the same way but it has this ability to surround you an envelope you in what it has created which is from whole cloth the line this lion king. I think is somewhat similar. The problem is we know where the movies going the whole time and so if you are not stoned and you can't fully just appreciate the digital presentation it feels like you're on a road to nowhere and end. I like the I like the story of the Lion King a lot and there are things about this version of the lion king that I think are interesting in well done but I couldn't just help but feel like they stretched out something that I didn't need this moves thirty minutes longer longer than the original film I would say that the voice performances some of which are good most of which are less good than the original which is not what you want true they meet an interesting trace to <hes> interesting choice but I understand how it happens they spent all of their time on the visuals <hes> and it looks spectacular and they did not update this script they they seem to have extended the story little and I think they spent a lot of extra time. Is the the Hyena seen in the chase scenes. Which I think are pretty scary? Yes and I'm curious to see how kids handle they're going to be tougher for your old. I mean that was a little scary in the cartoon yeah because I mean and that's dealing with parent death and real serious stuff but this genuinely mainly frightening an immersive and so I thought that was a great achievement and I think that's where the time goes but they didn't update the actual scripts like there are still lines being said that were written for a children's cartoon soon version of these people and there is a difference between a an what if if is the non pejorative way of saying children's cartoon well how would you you're well but I'm trying to distinguish kind of the nineteen ninety four animation from the new enemy that is something that I wanna talk about a little later in this show but but there is a difference in presentation and style and it's two different types of art and they both require skill and artistry but you expect to different things to come out of the mouths of the nineteen ninety-four Lion and the photo realistic two thousand nine hundred nine no doubt the original film you go back and we watch it and last week on the Internet there was a twitter account that very predictably did a side by side of the ninety four version of the Lion King <hes>. I believe it was the performance of a Kuna Matata. I can't recall specifically which song it was. I think it was gonna Matata and then the new version of accoutrements auto and what you see in the animated version is this almost busby Berkeley. Ask musical execution. The characters are like whirling dervishes. They're doing flips. They're swinging from vines. They're not just walking through the jungle and in the new Kuna Matata it's just a warthog and Amir cat and a lion walking singing and that is just less visually dynamic and it's more difficult to do this sort of photo realistic digital animation that they've done but it's not as fun and the original Lion King is really fun and there's something intellectually absent from this in a way. It's like the in an attempt to be more real. They have lost sight of what was ultimately truly great about the movie. I think that is that is where my head is. I I think that's true. I don't think that this movie like does it to borrow sports metaphor that I barely understand like carried the baller cross the goal line if he will done that state football yes right they don't they don't get there but I I also watched that clip of the side by side and my first thought was wow I nine and was really young and I was at child when I saw this movie and this is a movie it is it does have childlike wonder and what I responded to in this New Lion King and you and I had this conversation after we saw it is it's like it's a different type of imagination. I mean here's my thing what if lions could talk that would be cool as shit if like lions could actually talk and you could just watch them have an actual shakespearian drama and it's not even amber narrating narrating it it's them actually talking and it looked as and it was real life and it looked beautiful and it was shot beautifully as this is that is more exciting to that type of imagination is more exciting to me than total made up worlds ads and total out of nothing fantasy things I just did the things were spinning reality and suddenly it's like these majestic creatures could speak to you. I I find that really exciting and I liked that approach to this movie i. I don't think they leaned into it fully enough. I'm going to ask you unanswerable question. Let's say that there was a movie in Twenty nineteen called the Lion King <hes> that was written designed executed in exactly the same way but the nineteen ninety-four version of the lion king did not exist and this was the first time you're seeing this movie <hes> this story. Do you think you would like it well because you typically do not like quote. Unquote Animated Films Right I. I don't like things that are for children because I'm a grownup and I know that that's like really hard for you to here. It's just unnecessarily. It's just it's just I'll bet you asked me unanswerable Kushner and I'm trying to be very honest if if I could sense and this movie so for children <hes> you know and so much of this stuff where they didn't make it they made it pretty scary but then they're still kind of the goofy numbers and they don't explore a lot of a lot. AWW questions number one. There's no sex had a lot of questions about like the demographics of a Lion Pride yes you there. There are larger political issues that they kind of leave on the table because you got it just like have a a little lion singing a song about you. You know I just can't wait to which I by the way have memorized and I just forgot the title there