Out of all the Disney live-action remakes that have come out so far and the ones that are about to come out in the near future, none gets a film fan more excited than Jon Favreau’s The Lion King. While there were pockets of people who were still on the fence when the movie was just announced, all of that changed when the first teaser trailer dropped. The goosebumps-inducing teaser looked ridiculously photorealistic that it very well could’ve been a documentary on animal planet.
Oh, we shouldn’t be surprised though, considering Favreau is the guy who helmed the live-action The Jungle Book remake as well. While Favreau may not have admitted it, many speculate that Favreau used The Jungle Book as sort of an “audition tape” to convince Disney to greenlight his The Lion King passion project. Whatever the case, The Lion King looks to be a unique cinematic experience.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Favreau mentioned that he wanted his film to look as realistic as possible, even if it meant purposely making scenes look uglier and slightly out of focus.
“You evaluate shots differently from the days before CGI. Nowadays, the minute you reach the VFX [visual effects] machine, you instinctually think, ‘Let’s put a perfect sky behind that perfectly lit close-up.’ But though everyone might gasp at the result in the edit, it doesn’t look like something you’d ever be able to shoot.
[He found himself constantly telling his VFX team to] make it uglier… have the fast-moving characters go a little out of focus, cast awkward shadows, muddy the clouds up a bit. There’s a common acceptance that this is how nature looks. So we’re trying to import that sense of realism by borrowing their techniques.”
While there’s no denying the tears that roll down my cheeks every time I watch The Lion King teaser and trailer, I’ve still not made up my mind completely about how certain characters look. Don’t get me wrong, as far as realism goes, Jon Favreau has more than achieved his goal at least from what we see in the film’s marketing campaign. However, realism also sorta makes everything look ordinary. Growing up, I was always fond of the way Simba’s majestic red mane looked or the blackness of Scar’s. However, this isn’t to say I won’t absolutely love the film when I watch it in theatres in a few weeks time.
The Lion King roars into Malaysian cinemas 18 July 2019.