I was speaking last Friday to a critic acquaintance about The Lion King, and she mentioned something that struck me. She said that there was something dead and soulless in the eyes of certain beasts. I hadn’t been sufficiently interested to catch last week’s all-media screening, but the dead-eye thing woke me. “Really?” I said. “Now I want to see it!”
This view has been widely shared, particularly in the cases of Simba and Mufasa. Time Out‘s Joshua Rothkopf said that the Lion King characters are “akin to stuffed trophies mounted on the wall…they’re lifelike, yes, but somehow not alive.” Forbes‘ Scott Mendelson observed that “the ‘animals’ can’t act, and they sure as heck can’t emote.”
A few weeks ago Martin Scorsese expressed concern about the digital “dead eye” syndrome in the matter of The Irishman, which uses extensive CG to de-age Robert De Niro and other significant characters.
Scorsese’s view were shared in a 5.29 Guardian piece by Caspar Salmon: “[Scorsese] said that there was a problem with keeping his actors’ eyes expressive, adding: ‘Does [the technique] change the eyes at all? If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat? And then how do we get it back? I don’t know.”
Where is the HE community on this aspect? I still haven’t seen it.