Review: The Lion King

At the movies: Lions, red-billed hornbills, and many other animals star in Disney's The Lion King, in cinemas now. Photo: Supplied.
At the movies: Lions, red-billed hornbills, and many other animals star in Disney's The Lion King, in cinemas now. Photo: Supplied.

Disney's latest live-action 're-imagining', The Lion King, had everything going for it - a strong director, a top-notch cast, and almost all of the world's visual effects artists.

It hurts me to say this...but the remake disgraces the memory of the much-loved original.

This one immediately throws us into the pride lands of Africa.

A rousing opening scene introduces the crown price, Simba (JD McCrary), and his parents, King Mufasa (James Earl Jones, returning from the original) and Sarabi (Alfre Woodard).

With Zazu (John Oliver) and Rafiki (John Kani) by their side, Mufasa, Sarabi, and Simba seek to protect the 'Circle of Life'.

Mufasa's brother, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is less than impressed with the current and future kings.

The Lion King's biggest problem is that there's absolutely nothing to spoil.

Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) put a fresh, fun spin on The Jungle Book three years ago.

Here, however, he delivers an almost shot-for-shot remake of the 1994 animated gem.

Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson copies and pastes almost every line from the original, as well.

The remake's amazing array of actors deliver mixed results.

Donald Glover and Beyonce Knowles-Carter - as adult Simba and love interest Nala - succeed with the musical numbers, but flounder with the dialogue.

Oliver is just fine as Zazu, while Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, and Eric Andre are all enjoyable.

Lacking the menace of Jeremy Irons' performance from 25 years ago, Ejiofor is wholly miscast as Scar.

Credit belongs to the hundreds of behind-the-scenes folk whom worked tirelessly to bring Africa to the big screen.

Every beam of sunlight, blade of grass, and tuft of fur has been rendered to a pain-staking degree.

Tragically, their time and energy was given to a pointless remake fuelled by nostalgia.

Following on from Dumbo and Aladdin, The Lion King continues Disney's run of forgettable, uninspired cash-grabs.