Lion King (2019) review
I watched the new Lion King (Lion King 2019) recently. It is certainly an amazing feat of computer graphics. However, I feel the photorealism of the film hindered my ability to suspend my disbelief. I certainly feel the new Lion King is not as magical as the old Lion King (Lion King 1994).
The animals in the new Lion King show relatively little facial expression. This is because in real world, most animals do not have the ability to express rich facial expression. The lack of facial expression in the new Lion King is done to maintain the photorealism. In contrast, the old Lion King is 2D animated, the animators prioritise artistic license over realism. The animals in the old Lion King is rich in facial expression, you can feel the emotion the animals are experiencing by simply looking at the pictures. The lack of facial expression makes the animals in the new Lion King impersonal. Some people even say that the photorealistic animation of the new Lion King puts the animals in the wrong side of “uncanny valley” 1).
The photorealistic animation of the new Lion King makes it feel like a David Attenborough Documentary, except every animal talks, dances, and behaves in an unrealistic way. The mismatch between the photorealism and the behaviour of the animals makes me feel odd about the film, whereas the 2D animation of the old Lion King makes it clear that the film is an allegory.
Finally, I just want to add that lions live in savannah. They do not live in jungles, as the Lion King suggests. In real life, lions are certainly apex predators, however they are certainly not invulnerable. Buffalos are known to trample lion cubs 2).