The Lion King

The Lion King2

By Joanna Langfield

A true visual accomplishment, what really makes this one roar, when it does, are its very human stars.

Yes, it is a wonder to watch what Jon Favreau and team have done with the look of this Lion King 2.0. A computer generated, photorealistic world of lions and other jungle beasts kicks animation up to its next level, presenting a stream of one beautiful scene after another, with wow-look-at-that characters that are most often as lifelike as a crowd pleasing animatronic in, whaddya know, a Disney theme park. Curiously, some are just about as gut-punching emotional, too. I am still recovering from the first time I saw what happened to Mufasa, back in the 1994 original, traditionally animated film. Here, I was impressed watching the way it all played out, no hankies necessary.

Let’s not forget that this storyline, one laden with all sorts of morality tales and life lessons, is, at its heart, a pretty heavy one. While we may blithely remember the catchy fun of Hakuna Matata, the aim has always been more Circle of Life, reminding us of our responsibilities and legacies. In this version, Donald Glover and Beyonce bring warmth to the gravity, but it’s John Oliver, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner who are a lot more fun to hang with. And that’s not just by design. These voice actors are, indeed, a hoot.

It is worth noting that the almost 3 D quality of the whole non 3 D image is very cool and brings even more dimension, in its many definitions, to what we’re seeing. We may acknowledge the scariness of Scar, the awesomeness of Mufasa, but the real visually stirring winner is the cub Simba, who is so omg adorable, I want one.