THE LION KING

★★★★★

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - YOUR WEEKEND -

Mu­fasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) and mate Sarabi (Al­fre Woodard) main­tain a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween var­i­ous an­i­mal fac­tions.

Their proud leo­nine blood­line con­tin­ues with the birth of Simba (Don­ald Glover), who is in­tro­duced to the world by shamanic man­drill Rafiki (John Kani) on top of Pride Rock.

Mu­fasa’s em­bit­tered brother Scar (Chi­we­tel Ejio­for) plots to seize con­trol of the grass­lands by forg­ing a frag­ile al­liance with the hye­nas.

The de­spi­ca­ble plot­ters lure Simba into a canyon dur­ing a stam­pede and Mu­fasa dies sav­ing his boy from be­ing crushed un­der clat­ter­ing hooves.

Over­whelmed by guilt and grief, Simba flees and the tear­ful cub is be­friended by care­free and at times hi­lar­i­ous duo Ti­mon (Billy Eich­ner) and Pum­baa (Seth Ro­gen), who are ea­ger to share their “prob­lem-free phi­los­o­phy”.

Mean­while, Scar’s tyran­ni­cal reign re­duces the lush pride lands to a bar­ren sprawl of rot­ting car­casses where Simba’s sweet­heart Nala (Bey­once Knowles) feels pow­er­less to op­pose despotic rule.

The Lion King em­ploys the same pho­to­re­al­is­tic com­puter wizardry which served di­rec­tor Jon Favreau well for his rol­lick­ing reimag­in­ing of The Jun­gle Book to trans­port us to the sun-baked sa­vanna for a vir­tu­ally word-for-word re­make, which trades heav­ily on tech­ni­cal ex­cel­lence to jus­tify its ex­is­tence.

Mu­fasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) and young Simba (JD McCrary)

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