Earlier tonight, Jon Favreau’s The Lion King had its world premiere. The “live-action” adaptation of the 1994 Oscar-winning classic uses photoreal technology to provide a new take on the story of Simba (Donald Glover), who must fulfill his destiny and return from exile to take the throne from his evil uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The Lion King is one of the most beloved animated films in the massive Disney library, so there’s a lot of pressure coasting on this one, especially after divided reviews to this year’s other remakes Dumbo and Aladdin.
Now that the film has been seen by some critics and junketeers, they’ve tweeted out some brief reactions to the movie and, Hakuna Matata y’all, the news is good. Now, these first reactions are usually pretty positive so make of that what you will, but you can usually catch the vibe if the reaction is more mixed. So far, the reactions seem genuinely positive across the board, especially for the film’s visuals, which are being touted as another game-changing VFX win for Disney and Favreau (who previously pushed the envelope with Iron Man and The Jungle Book.) Other recurring themes include lots of praise of Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Timon and Pumba, lots of love for the musical vocals, and generally just people who seem pretty hyped about the movie they just got out of — though there are a few folks noting that a beat-for-beat remake can’t quite live up to the original.
Check out the first reactions in the tweets below.
Been lucky to have attended a number of world premieres but not sure I've ever heard as much clapping during a movie as I did tonight at #TheLionKing . Was like being at a rock concert. Movie is going to make so much money. pic.twitter.com/rnU4qf92mt
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) July 10, 2019
A few other things on #TheLionKing
The visual effects/animation in the film is INCREDIBLE.
For the first time in maybe my entire life as the movie started I got really emotional. Just hearing the music wrecked me.
While it's a story you know, it's soooooo well done. pic.twitter.com/1Vr9pe8vf4
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing has always been my favorite Disney animated movie and this new rendition is a beautiful reminder why. Happy to welcome back familiar chills, emotions and tears. In awe of the visual wizards behind this one. Timon & Pumbaa are everything. pic.twitter.com/IcWHgjHCuF
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) July 10, 2019
That being said, #TheLionKing does illustrate the limitations of projecting human emotions onto photorealistic animals that can't convey human expression. More in my review when the embargo lifts!
— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) July 10, 2019
Just finished #TheLionKing! I absolutely loved every second of it. The VFX on the animals were incredibly detailed and the music was on another level. This might be my favorite Disney live action adaption this far! pic.twitter.com/1CExxs6kAB
— Dorian Parks (@DorianParksnRec) July 10, 2019
I just got out of #TheLionKing and really dug it. My fear was realistic animals wouldn’t have the charisma of the cartoon, but they’re very good. Timon and Pumba steal the show. Some of the song/choreo arrangements don’t work as well as the original but still a really fun flick. pic.twitter.com/mOrODQ0vHI
— Chris E. Hayner (@ChrisHayner) July 10, 2019
Loved loved loved #TheLionKing. Strikes the perfect balance between devotion and innovation, a technical and emotional achievement that feels downright unparalleled. (Truly you’ve never seen anything like this before.) And @billyeichner steals the movie. pic.twitter.com/6S5h2s3AvN
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) July 10, 2019
The Lion King is a wonderful adaptation of an iconic classic. It has a few small changes which enhance what was already great and everything else is right on point. The CG can be slightly distracting at times but the emotion quickly covers that. Loved it. pic.twitter.com/9QmsP3PmNh
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) July 10, 2019
— Rachel Heine (@RachelHeine) July 10, 2019
Holy smokes, I really loved THE LION KING. I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing. (For the record I’m agnostic on the original movie and have zero nostalgia for it. Anyway, this movie hooked me.)
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is visually immaculate & a game-changer for visual effects. It’s absolutely stunning in every way. The music shines (Glover & Beyoncé take it to another level), the performances are great (Timon, Pumbaa & Scar steal many scenes) & the emotions run HIGH. Truly great pic.twitter.com/lPH9Oo4ybb
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing might be the first animated movie to win the same Oscar twice. Favreau nailed it. Great voice cast. Eichner, Rogen & Oliver steal their scenes. Beautiful visuals. Two paws up. pic.twitter.com/TTpDHinIdu
— Jim Vejvoda (@JimVejvoda) July 10, 2019
— Jenna Busch (@JennaBusch) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing: Better than I thought it’d be! I still really miss the exaggerated emotions of the characters from the original, but you get occasional flashes in this, and the vocal performances are largely good enough to make up for the rest. Eichner & Rogen steal the movie.
— Ben Pearson (@benpears) July 10, 2019
Ultimately #TheLionKing will be a touching introduction to a timeless story for a new generation, but I’d never rewatch it over the original
— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is a breathtaking visual cinematic achievement. I can’t believe this is a CG animated movie. Timon and Pumbaa steal the show. It’s a good Disney remake but was it necessary? Maybe not, but it’s enjoyable and families are gonna love it.
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) July 10, 2019
Just walked out of #TheLionKing. Overriding reaction: SIMBA IS SO CUTE. But really, if you’re hoping this will be a near-exact adaptation of the animated movie with some absolutely jaw-dropping visual effects, you’ll get what you’re looking for. pic.twitter.com/14BydbdhCx
— Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) July 10, 2019
The embargo for full reviews lifts Thursday at noon EST, so be on the lookout for our review then.
The Lion King opens July 19th and features the voices of Donald Glover (Simba), Beyoncé (Nala), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), James Earl Jones (Mufasa) Billy Eichner (Timon), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), John Oliver (Zazu) Keegan Michael-Key (Kamari), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), and Eric André (Azizi).
Here is the official synopsis for The Lion King:
Disney’s “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. Staying true to the classic story, Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way. Also featuring James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon, Disney’s “The Lion King” opens in U.S. theaters on July 19, 2019.