‘The Lion King’ 2019: The Top 3 Reasons Viewers Were Disappointed

The Lion Kingthe 2019 CGI spectacle that is – is yet another box office triumph for the media conglomerate (and owner of everything) Disney. However, aside from its predestined box-office success, the film — in terms of critical and audience reception — has not lived up to expectations. 

'The Lion King' World Premiere
‘The Lion King’ World Premiere | Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

The remake of The Lion King was slated to be the next live-action Jungle Book, which featured breathtaking visuals alongside a compelling narrative and modernized take on a classic Disney tale. However, to critic and fan dismay, Jon Favreau is capable of missing the mark. And, many who have seen the film, are not impressed, at is currently boasts a 53% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes (one of Disney’s worst critical averages ever). 

So, what went wrong with the remake of The Lion King? Why are so many people up in arms? Let’s dive into the three main factors that are surging across the internet concerning this film’s disappointing nature.

1) The Lion King remake lacks originality  

Described as a “creative dead end,” The Lion King remake — afraid to veer too far from its predecessor — grows mimetic, as opposed to emulative. Many feel that, as a result of the near word-for-word match to the original, the film fails to present a needed contemporary spin. 

While subtle changed are introduced, one critic described the film as a “near shot-for-shot replication of the 1994” take, which had led many to feel that this remake has served no meaningful purpose, other than to bring tons of money to an already loaded media conglomerate. If it’s just about money, the art fails.

2) The animals in the CGI version of The Lion King cannot emote

There are certain liberties of expression that good ole animation promises (and CGI dispels). If scar cannot lift his eyebrow in condescension, is it even The Lion King? From cross-eyed confusion to stiff upper lips and pensive head tilts, the 1994 take on The Lion King features expressive, human-like animals. Many argue that the new take, though beautiful in its own right, feels like a nature documentary with some songs thrown in for good measure. 


One critic argued, “Where the animated original had an endearingly cheery anthropomorphism, with wide eyes and cute expressions, this lacks that…” And, as a result of lacking expressions, the new Lion King lacks heart.

3) “Be Prepared” was butchered

In the original Lion King, Be Prepared” was Scar’s character-defining moment; he took to the screen with equal parts sass and seduction – bringing his “meticulous planning” forward, as his cunning nature oozed from the screen with a palpable ferocity. 

This time around, most of the lyrics have been adjusted, as to fit the coyote’s newfound intelligence. And, Scar’s personality remains in typical villain territory, lacking the captivating nature of his original tail-swishing predecessor. 

Aside from “Be Prepared,” many felt that the new take on Scar – in an attempt to update an originally queer-coded villain – missed the mark, falling flat of the fabulous lion we remembered.

In summary:

When it comes to the new version of The Lion King, the three main disappointing factors combine to tell one cohesive narrative: it lacked heart. It lacked the nostalgia that fans wanted to feel once more. Putting spectacle before story, many felt that the new version of The Lion King was visually stunning but narratively stunted.