It’s a wonderful achievement creating a model that looks exactly like a real meerkat, but this is a family film, not a mockumentary
How ever many efforts there now are in the Disney live action remake series, it’s evident how weak the CGI versions are compared to the originals. The lack of personality in the character creation is devastatingly weak, purely because there’s an obsession with realism, rather than character. It’s a wonderful achievement creating a model that looks exactly like a real meerkat, but this is a family film, not a mockumentary. There needs to be a shift towards making these creatures look like more than just the real thing.
Lion cub Simba (Donald Glover) is born into royalty, becoming heir to the entire plain of his father Mufasa’s (James Earl Jones) kingdom. But when his Father is killed, Simba believes it to be his fault, running from his life, leaving behind all he knows for a simpler life.
Even harking back to March’s Dumbo, the character looked different to a real animal. There was more design, more imagination, placed into what Dumbo looked like. Remove that, and add multiple animals, especially ones of the same species, and suddenly the film becomes a documentary with songs. And that’s strange.
Naturally it’s easy to see this as a positive, the animation is truly incredible at times, opening a view that could easily be genuine documentary footage. But that’s removes almost everything that worked about the original, and a remake cannot throw away everything that made what came before. Even when an idea is scrapped and there’s an effort to ‘start from scratch’, the basics have to be kept for it to remain an actual remake.
2019’s Lion King doesn’t do that, and without animals looking like individual characters, and often mouths not moving when they talk, there’s a distinct level difference between the audio track and the visuals. If you’re going to make a talking animal film, make one; don’t cop out and leave behind a mediocre piece of average filmmaking.
There’s obviously a strong voice cast, and some of the songs are given a great fresh spin, but that shouldn’t be the purpose of these remakes. They need more meaning than pure money making, and as it stands, none of them are doing that, at all.
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