"Reel Reviews: ‘The Lion King’ computer-generated remake longer than necessary" by: Jessica Shepard

   The Lion King is a photorealistic computer-animated musical film directed and produced by Jon Favreau, written by Jeff Nathanson, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures.
   It’s also the remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name.
   Currently ranked at No. 1 worldwide, it’s generated over $543 million and is rated PG for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements.
   Now, I wasn’t head over heels for the original, but this shot-for-shot remake is lacking for me.
   The musical numbers were depressing for me since I was expecting more choreography like the old animated movie – instead, they were boring.
   It also seemed to drag on longer than the original when Simba’s growth from cub to adult was shown, though there were more jokes between Timon and Pumbaa.
   If you’re really a fan of the original, then you’re going to love this one more than me.
   The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre, Keegan-Michael Key, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.
   In the Pride Lands of Africa, lion king Mufasa (Jones) rules over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock.
   King Mufasa’s and Queen Sarabi’s (Woodard) newborn son, Simba (McCrary), is presented to the gathering animals by Rafiki (Kani) the mandrill, the kingdom’s shaman, and advisor.
   Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the “circle of life,” which connects all living things.
   Mufasa’s younger brother, Scar (Ejiofor), covets the throne and plots to eliminate Mufasa and Simba, so he may become king.
   He tricks Simba and his best friend Nala (Joseph), to whom Simba is betrothed, into exploring a forbidden elephants’ graveyard, where they are attacked by spotted hyenas led by Shenzi (Kasumba), Kamari (Key), and Azizi (Andre).
   Mufasa is alerted about the incident by his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu (Oliver), and rescues the cubs.
   Though upset with Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba.
   Meanwhile, Scar visits the hyenas and manages to convince them to help him overthrow Mufusa in exchange for hunting rights in the Pride Lands.
   Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample him.
   He informs Mufasa of Simba’s peril, knowing that the king will rush to save his son.
   Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge’s edge. 
   Scar refuses to help Mufasa, instead sending him falling to his death.
   He then convinces Simba that the tragedy was Simba’s own fault and advises him to leave the kingdom and never return.
   He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes.
   Scar tells the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede and steps forward as the new king, allowing his three hyena minions and the rest of their large pack to live in the Pride Lands.
   From there the plot follows the original nearly word for word, but fleshes out Simba and Nala’s parallel living situations and growth to adults. 

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