The Lion King

Dazzlingly inert retread

Well, those CGI tech guys at Disney have got their craft mastered. Every hair in Simba’s mane, every bared hyena fang, every drop of Scar’s envious drool, bursts with realism.  But the concept that continues to elude the Mouse House is, “Just because you have the capability to do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.”

In addition, in their efforts to create almost photorealistic animals (that talk), without the usual Disney anthropomorphizing, they’ve created an arid, uninvolving film that almost screams Cash Grab! I was more moved by the 1994 animation (everyone was, apparently, with an 88 on Metacritic vs. this film’s 55). Despite the efforts of an all-star voice cast that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Alfre Woodard, Donald Glover and Seth Rogen, this is a nice-looking bore.

This shot-for-shot, 30-minutes-longer, charmless remake is recommended only for those few who never saw the 1994 animated feature. No, wait. I take that back; I’d encourage such people to instead seek out that memorable toon. Those CGI guys should be given more meaningful work. (118 min)