Zaya The Playa: The Lion King (2019) review

By Isaiah Gessner, Social Media Editor

This is part seven of a nine-part entertainment review series by The Easterner. Isaiah Gessner, author of this article, is the social media editor for The Easterner. His opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Easterner, its staff or Eastern Washington University.

There is nothing more heart-warming and comforting during this stressful time than putting your feet up, grabbing some buttered popcorn, pouring yourself an ice-cold beverage and putting on one of the greatest Disney films of all time … “The Lion King” (1994).

And then there is Disney’s soulless and bland 2019 remake that destroys all of the elements that make the original so special to so many people around the world.  

This remake isn’t the first time that Disney has opted to redo original films in hopes to fill their pockets up with nostalgia money as opposed to actually coming up with new and innovative ideas. They have already remade “Cinderella,” “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” “Lady and the Tramp” and many others in recent years, with plenty more set to be released in the foreseeable future.

So yes, you could say I had a slight grudge with this movie before even seeing it.

But with all of this built up animosity that I held for this movie before it had even started filming, I went into it hoping for the best. After all, how bad could a movie that involves an accomplished director such as Jon Favreau, a very strong cast that is headlined by the multitalented Donald Glover as Simba, the Queen Bey herself as Nala, and James Earl Jones returning to the helm of Mufasa, possibly be?

And then the movie began … and my eyes endured one of the most infuriating films I have ever seen in my entire life. 

Now let me make myself clear before I completely tear apart this movie. Is the “Lion King” remake the worst film I have ever seen? Nope. But what this movie represents to me is just how lazy and uninspired Disney has become when it comes to this new trend of remaking classic Disney movies. 

Within the first few minutes of the movie, it had become blatantly obvious that all of the voice actors involved within the project were doing the absolute bare minimum that they could possibly do in order to cash in a check. 

Which honestly isn’t even their fault, as all of the actors could be delivering their most impressive performance of their entire careers. With such bland and boring ideas on screen the entire time, there is absolutely no way for the audience to connect to what they’re saying.

Another major gripe that I have for this film is how it can possibly be labeled as a live-action movie when literally every single character in this film is made with CGI. In addition to this, every character barely opens their mouths or beaks when they speak, and they all look completely out of their environment (no pun intended) within the landscape of everything that is happening in the background behind them.

If you want to learn more about how animals interact with one another, turn on some Planet Earth, not this mess.

You would think that after all of these years of becoming the financial powerhouse that Disney has grown into, they would be more excited to take risks and come up with some new enticing characters that children and families could fall in love with. 

But why do all of that when you can make some easy money microwaving old ideas?

And once the film hits the point where I feel as though there is absolutely nothing else that could possibly go wrong … “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” begins to play. And do you want to know the most ironic part of it?

It’s playing during the afternoon. 

Yes, you read that last line correctly. A song titled “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” is playing while the sun is out in the middle of the daytime.

After that scene happened, I just sat back and gave up on any hope of the movie having some type of value to it. 

The movie ended, and for weeks on end all I could think about was how disappointed I was that I wasted two whole hours of my life sitting down and watching a train wreck of a remake of one of my favorite movies of all time. 

So please, if you haven’t seen the film: don’t. Just put on the original and enjoy the ride.

Even when life goes back to the “normal” that we all miss so deeply, you will never catch me in a theatre wanting to see another one of these subpar Disney remakes.

The only thing that could ever get me in the theatre would be a “Ratatouille” remake where Gordan Ramsay himself plays Chef Skinner … In that case you have my full-blown interest.

Sorry Nala, but this movie did NOT make me feel the love.