I forgot to attend last night’s Lion King all-media screening. Apologies. We all understand that “forgetting” to do something is usually a result of a lack of interest in same. I know it’ll be slick and “satisfying” to the serfs and make a lot of money, but what’s the point, really, of sitting through another CGI reboot of another Disney animated feature from 15 or 20 years ago? I felt so Lion King-ed out back in the mid to late ’90s (two viewings of the 1994 original, a viewing of the Broadway musical in the fall of ’97) that 20-plus years later I’m still reluctant to revisit any further permutation. Make that deeply reluctant.
It has always struck me as ludicrous that the dominant predators of Africa could somehow be re-imagined as possessors of royal blood. Not to mention the idea of various species of prey bowing their heads in respect to the lordly Simba…please!
Every day on YouTube I watch at least one African wildlife killing **, and each one is cruel and horrific. The poor victim cries and howls in terrible agony and death is never quick. In my humble opinion the daily YouTube murder channel (which of course didn’t exist in the mid ’90s) has not only desanitized but fundamentally altered our understanding of what predators actually do and how they operate. Predators are part of the nature’s natural order, of course, but try watching hundreds of these videos and see how it affects your basic outlook. A quarter-century ago I found myself half-investing in the Lion King mythology, largely out of deference to the kids. But no longer.
My lack of interest is such that I wasn’t even interested in reading Lion King reviews. But now I feel differently. Because I’ve been revived and rejuvenated by what Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich has written:
“Unfolding like the world’s longest and least convincing deepfake, Jon Favreau’s (almost) photorealistic remake of The Lion King is meant to represent the next step in Disney’s circle of life. Instead, this soulless chimera of a film comes off as little more than a glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate — a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail.
“With the possible exception of 2015’s Cinderella, which was touched with just enough magic to feel like a new wrinkle on an old fairy tale, all of Disney’s live-action rehashes have been faint echoes of their animated predecessors. But The Lion King isn’t an echo, it’s a stain. This zombified digital clone of the studio’s first original cartoon feature is the Disney equivalent of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho.”
** I usually watch predator killings after writing a difficult article. Writing is a very tense and strenuous process, and watching the YouTube murder channel cleans out my system on some psychological level. I haven’t really figured it out, but it’s somehow relaxing.