Following “Dumbo” and “Aladdin,” it appears Disney has saved its best remake of 2019 for last with “The Lion King.” The first reactions for Jon Favreau’s adaptation of the 1994 animated classic began pouring in after the movie’s July 9 world premiere and to say they are positive would be an understatement. Critics are already hailing the film as a “visual masterpiece” that quite possibly has the best visual effects in film history. Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” won the Best Visual Effects Oscar and now “The Lion King” looks like the clear frontrunner for 2020.
“‘The Lion King” is a landmark visual experience,” wrote Buzzfeed’s Adam B. Vary. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s going to change how we look at movies forever. As an emotional experience, though…I’ll put it this way: It turns out lions can’t really emote.”
Favreau recruited an all-star voice cast for the film, including Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce Knowles as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Billy Eichner as Timon, John Oliver as Zazu, and Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, among others. Original Musafa voice actor James Earl Jones returns to voice the character in the 2019 remake.
Disney has already enjoyed massive success this year with its live-action “Aladdin” adaptation, which has grossed over $920 million worldwide. “Aladdin” managed to be a massive box office hit with middling reviews, so the sky could be the limit for “The Lion King” based on these first overwhelmingly positive reactions.
“The Lion King” opens in theaters nationwide July 19. Check out the first reactions below.
Holy smokes, I really loved THE LION KING. I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing. (For the record I’m agnostic on the original movie and have zero nostalgia for it. Anyway, this movie hooked me.)
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) July 10, 2019
Oh man #TheLionKing delivers. It’s a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time. It’s a true testament to the lasting effect Disney movies have on all generations. Timon and Pumbaa steal the show. And BEYONCE!!! #LionKing
— Beatrice Verhoeven (@bverhoev) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is exactly as advertised: a beat-for-beat remake of the original. Impressive animation and some ace casting choices (Beyoncé is a spirited Nala, John Oliver is an ideal Zazu) plus that music is still 👍👍 – but it’s more nostalgic rehash than fresh reimagining
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is a landmark *visual* experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s going to change how we look at movies forever.
As an *emotional* experience, though…I’ll put it this way: It turns out lions can’t really emote.
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) July 10, 2019
Been lucky to have attended a number of world premieres but not sure I’ve ever heard as much clapping during a movie as I did tonight at #TheLionKing . Was like being at a rock concert. Movie is going to make so much money. pic.twitter.com/rnU4qf92mt
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) July 10, 2019
The Lion King is a wonderful adaptation of an iconic classic. It has a few small changes which enhance what was already great and everything else is right on point. The CG can be slightly distracting at times but the emotion quickly covers that. Loved it. pic.twitter.com/9QmsP3PmNh
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) July 10, 2019
Absolutely blown away by #TheLionKing. Incredible visuals and voice work. Cried all my makeup off. Timon and Pumba brought me back from the edge. Would die for baby Simba. pic.twitter.com/YBpncCVowz
— Rachel Heine (@RachelHeine) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is absolutely breathtaking! Every frame of that movie is something to behold. One of the best films of the year. pic.twitter.com/eWm0xDgcGg
— Umberto Gonzalez (@elmayimbe) July 10, 2019
There’s enough new content to make it feel fresh (plus some genuinely hilarious new jokes from Rogen/Eichner — no one made me laugh harder) and they really nailed recreating the most iconic sequences. I found myself walking out immediately wanting to watch the original.
— Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing has always been my favorite Disney animated movie and this new rendition is a beautiful reminder why. Happy to welcome back familiar chills, emotions and tears. In awe of the visual wizards behind this one. Timon & Pumbaa are everything. pic.twitter.com/IcWHgjHCuF
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) July 10, 2019