This is the most extraordinary piece of cinematography I have ever seen. I simply cannot imagine (until you sit through the endless rolling credits) just how huge the effort has been for Disney to produce a computer-generated, all animal film as good as this. It is truly humbling to appreciate the incredible authenticity, not just of the environment, but of every single creature you encounter. I’ve heard that the Disney crew spent 8 weeks just filming Pride Rock in Kenya itself.
I watched it yesterday, with my children, just as many other families did. The little girl sitting with her mother to my left was around four and loved it, my little girl and boy to my right, 23 and 19 respectively loved it just as much. This is a film for everyone – they might have spent $250m making it, but there is no question they will recoup those costs. This story of good overcoming evil and everything else in between is timeless and perfect in every way.
I felt emotional the whole way through – even though you know what happens having no doubt seen the 1994 animated Disney classic, so there’s no spoiler alert in the Circle of Life tragedy – but still…..it was poignant and beautiful and you felt like you were there with them, could almost reach out and touch them. It’s just as rich in jokes, songs and action as the original version, but on another level of virtual reality.
Mufasa’s voice is James Earl Jones, Beyoncé as Nala is wonderful, Donald Glover, the grown up Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor is perfect as Scar – all the characters were perfect – loved Puma (Seth Rogen) and Timon (Billy Eichner). Disney has nailed it with a rich and diverse cast – a very African experience and one I could watch over and over again.
I have nothing more to say other than just go and see it and be blown away – even if you just allow yourself to feel that you are in a real place and then try and get your head around the fact that it is entirely constructed. Just look carefully at every hair, every light angle, shadow, time of day, every image and you won’t be disappointed. It is pure genius.