This so-called live action remake has got some extra footage of action, but it is not alive.
Favreau, as I have always said, calls for authenticity in his films. His methods remind you of the old filmmaking style. I have never seen him go for some avant-garde style and never have I left the screen feeling that he should have. Even the close-up shots, how he zooms in, how he pans back for a wider shot and how he edits those flashbacks into narrations, it feels outdated but also comforting to revisit those shots. Another plus point in Favreau’s account this time, is an adaptation of a beloved Disney feature that I think is the closest that comes to define the intentions of those films to its younger audience. Just like the moral tales used to contribute in a child’s upbringing, the ’94 version captured some heavy themes and foliated as a lesson into narrative unlike most of the Disney world. It persists on preaching, like some lecture, the film runs from one class to another, with a musical score in the background and words sung roaringly, commanding us to hum along.
And as far as Favreau’s world is concerned, it may coax and cojule but it gets to those notes noted in one big lesson eventually. Those detours are not something you are or will be excited for. Sugar-coated or crisped, the humor as anecdotes remains the highlight in its entirety but never takes part in the event. Another issue that I couldn’t figure out in The Jungle Book is clearly visible here, since it is in much larger scale. And that is the empathy. Emotions didn’t communicate with me.
Primarily because of the visual effects. I prefer the animated version. As in ANIMATED in capitals. They express their state not just physically, facially too. And at times in here I found it difficult to swallow that they were worried or glad or tensed or emotionally broken about something. Which begs the question what has been this obsession of remaking the Disney classics into live action films- this one’s not particularly live action.
Why are we so obsessed on watching the same events occur to our beloved celebrities? I mean, the success rate has been surprisingly low for Disney- quality wise of course, not commercially. And still among those, I feel Jon Favreau, the director, has got the enigma decoded with the closest possible answer. He understands the unity and teamwork aspect of Disney features like no other filmmakers of this series does and has.
But this is eventually a work of art. There is no correct answer. No matter how much analysation and homework you have put into a feature- and Favreau has definitely worked hard on observing the wildlife- the material, the execution remains the final verdict. And someone like me who didn’t nod along with his Jungle Book theory will find it more difficult to sing along in this kingdom. The Lion King adapts to the commercial line along with the obligation of being politically correct, as a result, somewhere in between, we lost the connection, the friendship.