Disney's Lion King remake is beat for beat. Director Jon Favreau explains why

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July 18, 2019 02:08:59

Disney's Lion King remake it is this: "Why?"

Lion King movie if you just recreate the original shot for the shot?

Why not take it in a new direction?

Director Jon Favreau has a simple answer.

"I think this story has been enduring now since it first hit the screen as a 2D animated film and then through the theatrical run of musical production and people know it very, very well," he told the ABC

"So millions and millions of people know it, have grown up with it, have seen it over and over again and certainly know the music.

"I know we felt that it wasn't appropriate for us to take the title and make our own story."

Film critics have been quick to talk Favour's reboot for its technical prowess, which brings the Savanna to life in stunning photorealistic fashion.

Yet for some people, their effects are matched only by their frustration.

"Very few remakes, other than Gus Van Sant's shot-by-shot reproduction of Psycho, have adhered to their original patterns. Everything here is so safe and carefully calculated to seem pre-digested" Hollywood reporter

"It's cutting-edge animation minus inspiration, a leaden, literal-minded rendition of the 1994 classic with computer-generated images that simulate live action and a narrative structure that frequently follows Wall Street Journal

"It's the latest example of Hollywood's enduring love affair with familiarity" – Sydney Morning Herald

"Favreau's The Lion King is undeniably impressive, but incredibly safe entry to the catalog" – Variety

Far from shy from this, Favreau leans into the similarities.

"He said," What it is that people do the originals is so, and original.

"However, there was an opportunity using this new technology and new cast to reinvent it for a new generation.

"And so we are trying to stick to the traditions of having a new way to tell the story."

Film critic Zak Hepburn said he understood the sentiment, but that rather than find it comforting many could find the similarities disconcerting.

"The best way I can put it is it's like you're watching a cover band that's really technically proficient and really impressive, but just don't have any soul or passion that the original source material has," he said.

Don't expect Disney to care

Disney has been raiding its archives for the past few years, releasing live action remakes to mixed reviews but maximum reward.

(Aladdin and Dumbo this year), for the most part of the audiences have lapped them up.

MOVIE CRITIC SCORE (%) AUDIENCE SCORE (%) BOX OFFICE ($ m)
Maleficient (2014) 54 70 $ 1,081
Cinderella (2015) 84 78 $ 774
The Jungle Book (2016) 95 86 $ 1,377
Beauty and the Beast (2017) 71 80 $ 1,801
Dumbo (2019) 46 52 $ 501
Aladdin (2019) 57 94 $ 1,368
The Lion King (2019) 59 TBA TBA

Critic and audience score based off Rotten Tomatoes averages. Box office takings are worldwide, measured in $ AU millions, sourced from Box Office Mojo.

"I think you've got a fantastic collection of titles and stories and obviously longing is very big business for the audience," Hepburn said.

"I know you are seeing audiences who grew up with these films, now having their own families wanting an experience with their family in the cinema."

What's more, while critics might rail against the remakes, Hepburn said the small target strategy might ultimately pay off for Disney.

"When filmmakers take an original concept and remake it and something different with it, the risk of trashing the legacy of something is higher then," he said.

"What these Disney 2019 adaptations feel like they are sort of just reheated versions of the original content and I don't feel they're taking any major risks."

And it is not ending any time soon.

Disney has already announced versions of Mulan and the Little Mermaid, with reboots of Pinocchio, Lady and the Tramp, Lilo and Stitch and The Hunchback of Notre Dame also expected.

Topics:

arts-and-entertainment,

film-movies,

movie,

Australia

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