Mike McGranaghan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I opted not to formally review THE LION KING. The original is my favorite animated movie, and I despise all these live-action remakes Disney is doing (although this one isn't really live-action, it's photorealistic CGI). I simply didn't feel I could approach the film with any sense of objectivity.
That said, I did *see* the movie so that I could at least knowledgeably be part of the conversation about what Disney is doing. With that said -- and with no judgement toward people who like the picture -- here are a few admittedly non-objective thoughts on THE LION KING:
* It's every bit as soulless and unnecessary as I feared. What I didn't expect, though, was for it to be so sluggish. I was bored! It felt twice as long as it actually is.
* Every time I watch the original LION KING, I get goosebumps during the opening "Circle of Life" number. Not here. Didn't laugh at Timon and Puumba, didn't love to hate Scar. Realistic-looking animals don't make this story more special, they make it *less* special.
* Having so many celebrity voices is a distraction. I kept thinking, "That's John Oliver" or "That's Seth Rogen." This made the characters feel less authentic to me. They also seem less expressive when made to look real. The hand-drawn animation made them feel much more alive than they do here.
* I hope Disney starts putting more effort into original films and halts the practice of making inferior versions of its classics.