There is no doubt that The Lion King is a film of exceptional craft work, made by a studio at the height of its technical powers. The photorealistic characters are almost as breathtaking as the stunning vistas and backdrops that the action takes place in. Every tuft of fur looks real enough to touch and the attention to detail, from the insects to the elephants, is testament to the creators that must have worked tirelessly on the production.
However, there are problems.
I really try to like The Lion King, and to that extent I overlook the fact that these animals look like the real thing, but talk and sing and dance. I mean, if you can create animals that look so realistic you could mistake them for live action, then to make them talk is surely a paradox in itself. Can you imagine how freaked out you would be if your pet cat suddenly started talking to you? No, I can forgive that, after all to remake the animated original without talking and singing would only cause further problems. No, for me there is a huge failing in the actual premise of the film that I just cannot forgive, and I blame Richard Attenborough for it.
You see, prides of lions just dont operate in the way the film wants us to think they do, and as a result the whole plot just falls apart.
Like Beyonce herself has said, “Girls run the world,” so you think she would have said something about the strange turn of events in The Lion King, where the males seem to be doing all the ruling, while the women are left in the background.
Just watch the Discovery Chanel and get a real insight into where the real power lies in the pride. The women pretty much run the territory and the men tend to move around. This leads to the males hanging out together and the ladies chilling with the kids. The girls will stay in the pride pretty much their whole life, and are usually related; it takes a major mistake for them to push a member out the inner sanctum. The men stick around for about three years before moving on to see a bit more of the world for a couple of years, then when they are about 5, they take over a pride or start their own. Once they get too old, no longer father material, they get the boot from the ladies, So with that very basic knowledge of the social structure of lions, you can see why The Lion King just looks silly, and even more silly when the lions on the screen are as lifelike as they are.
It looks so real, yet it seems so wrong that I have trouble wrapping my head around it. For me, the whole thing reads more like a Shakespeare play, and I am not even going to mention the fact that lions cannot survive on a diet of grubs, and Pumbaa would have been eaten before the start of the second act.
So the paradox for me is to have realistic creations on the screen, that do not behave in any way, shape or form as the real things would. I can forgive it in an animated movie, but when so much work has gone into convincing the audience that these are real animals, then let them follow a narrative that makes no sense, is like watching Spider-Man Far from Home, and a caption comes up on screen saying it is based on a true story.
The funny thing is, in the current woke society, there perhaps was a chance to make this The Lion Queen, at least then the story might have made sense. Who would have thought Disney would drop the ball on that one?
Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk. He currently runs his own business in between watching films.