If you’re in the UK and you have 2 ears (even if you don’t, actually) you will have heard that last week in London the mouth of hell opened and we all had to go to work in 40 degree heat, on our chosen mode of transport – a tiny, hot, sweaty tube that travels deep underground.
The whole City was bathed in some sort of vague hysteria, and as a woman who constantly lives in some sort of vague hysteria I found the whole thing as comforting as I did thrilling. Apart from the bit where I could feel beads of sweat rolling down my chubby sausage legs while I was sitting still. In the shade.
To further cement my belief in one of the 10 cinema commandments: ‘Thou shalt go to the cinema in all weather conditions, as for in the cinema the air is only bound by the will of the great Director‘…. myself and my beautiful friend Laura had decided to go and see The Lion King long before the sky accidentally left the oven on, so we stuck to the plan and headed off through the smog to what we hoped would be an air conditioned cinema (the Odeon took 2 days to reply to my tweet asking if their air con was working – 2 days! Just you wait until I’m in charge, Odeon).
Not one to arrive unprepared or sober, I stuffed my handbag with one fuck off massive ice pack from my freezer at home, one bottle of wine and two plastic wine glasses that I obtained in some sort of way from some sort of cinema chain and WILL NOT be returning until they admit they need me and instigate me as CEO.
So. The Lion King is not a Disney film I remember very well, since when I saw it at the cinema as a kid I fell asleep, and then when leaving the screen later I was so dozed from being recently awoken that I fell down the stairs and my hat blew away. Why, Mum, was I wearing a dramatic yet lightweight hat to the cinema as a 4 year old? Why!
Basically I don’t think I’ve seen the film since then, but I did get super in to the soundtrack during that weird faze in year 8 when everyone got really regressively into Disney and Bratz dolls, so I’m hot on the songs at least.
I’ll save you a plot synopsis, anyway. The gist is this is a questionably ‘live action’ (how fucking good would it be with real lions?) remake of the 1994 animated classic, starring a host of mega famous voices including goddamn Beyoncé, as well as Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa. Fun.
Well I definitely wasn’t bored! The emotional rollercoaster of the story lives on, with the sadness hit you’re waiting for arriving perfectly on queue. Is Scar the meanest bad guy in any Disney film? I think so.
As for the rest of the film…I don’t know what happened to us, but we seemed to lose our grip on reality just after the BIG SAD happened, and the film moved on to the happier, Timon and Pumbaa based chapter. From the end of Hakuna Matata, we started laughing hysterically and basically did not stop. Laura especially kept breaking down into giggles at the smallest thing, which would set me off and in turn we would sit there, drinking our tepid wine and laughing like this was the funniest film of 2019.
Everything that Timon said felt like a stroke of genius. I don’t know if Billy Eichner is the greatest comedy voice actor of his generation or if we were desperate for a laugh after the previous tragic section, but when I rehashed some of jokes later on to my boyfriend he looked at me as if I had truly lost it. Which isn’t unusual, but still notable. I’ve also slagged off Seth Rogen a lot lately, but he was excellent! Maybe it’s the heat! Who knows.
Donald Glover is also great as Simba, but doesn’t really get a chance to shine due to a reason I will continue below…
I love Beyoncé. Was I there at Coachella? Yes. Did I cry the first time I watched Lemonade? Yes. Have we had rows on girls holidays because someone said they didn’t think she was that great. Yes!
Do I think she was a good choice for the voice of Nala? Er, not really.
Forgive me this idiot sentence: she sounds too much like Beyoncé. I KNOW. But she does!! It pulled me too far out of this very immersive film about talking animals. The saving grace is that as soon as the songs start, you forgive everything because she is killer when she’s singing Can you feel the love tonight? etc, though she does completely overshadow everyone she is singing alongside. But that’s kind of her vibe.
Aside from that, I also found the connection between the voice over and the animals quite jarring at first – one of the opening scenes between Mufasa and Scar felt weird to the point that I’m surprised it reached the final cut. Maybe it just takes a while to acclimatise, as I found I didn’t notice it so much by the end.
Also, Zazu is SO ANNOYING. I hate John Oliver and I hate bloody Zazu. Stupid bird.
Billy Eichner is life.