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Snowballs 2019: Worst Director – Jon Favreau (The Lion King)

Written by Film

There have been a lot of bad movies in 2019, from Dark Phoenix to Godzilla, but none are as lazy as The Lion King, the most blatant cash grab in Disney’s recent history.

Jon Favreau killed it with Elf (2003) , Iron Man (2008), The Jungle Book (2016) and, more recently, The Mandalorian TV series, but when it came to this remake, it felt as though he was a puppet and Disney were pulling his strings – there was none of his charm or style bleeding through, and the entire movie was a shot-for-shot copycat of the brilliant animated flick.

Even the original animators voiced their anger, as he more or less took their work and ‘updated’ it with a ‘live-action’ coat of paint. It’s essentially the same film with worse voice acting and far less personality. The animals are emotionless and are dipping their toes into the uncanny valley and the songs are hollow. Everything about this film feels like a soulless take on the original, and how that happened under Favreau’s watch when he did wonders with The Jungle Book is beyond me.

Many critics were unhappy that the film was almost a shot-for-shot remake of the 1994 original. Image:IMDB

The colour palette is drab which stems from its attempt at being overly realistic but when you take an out-there cartoon and try to make it gritty and grounded, with no changes to the story or the way in which it’s shot, it doesn’t work. He clearly knew this when making The Jungle Book, and so seeing him stumble into the same pitfalls as the other directors behind other remakes is curious – why did he regress, making the same errors as Aladdin and Dumbo?

No matter the case, what is certain is that this is an entry into his portfolio that he should be embarrassed about. I’m not too sure how much he really did on the film, because you could’ve just told the CGI artists to remake the scenes and you’d get a very similar result.

Last modified: 4th December 2019

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