Film Reviews

THE LION KING (PG)

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 15:40 pm
The Lion King. Pictured: Mufasa. PA.

Director Jon Favreau employs the same photorealistic computer wizardry which served him well for The Jungle Book to transport us to the sun-baked savanna for a virtually word-for-word remake of The Lion King.

Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson appropriates most of the original dialogue and tempers the animated film's more extravagant flourishes.

Consequently, scheming uncle Scar is no longer a scene-stealing pantomime villain, his Machiavellian call to arms Be Prepared loses the goose-stepping hyenas, and the Busby Berkeley-style fantasia of I Just Can't Wait To Be King is now a scamper around a watering hole.

Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen riff to hilarious effect as meerkat Timon and flatulent warthog Pumbaa, tucking into a banquet of bugs with gusto ("That's what I call umami!") and cheekily referencing another Disney classic when they are asked to cause a distraction.

PAVAROTTI (12A)

Near the beginning of Ron Howard's documentary, which incorporates footage from concerts and interviews to recount Luciano Pavarotti's journey in his own words, the ebullient Italian tenor is asked to imagine his legacy.

"I'd like to be remembered as a man who took opera to the people," he replies modestly, flashing the camera a pensive smile. There are plenty of reasons to grin at Howard's affectionate portrait of flawed musical genius, which loudly celebrate the qualities which elevated a baker's son from Modena to the dizzy heights of global superstardom. Pavarotti's well documented faults are largely glossed over before Bono offers his typically forthright opinion on the appeal of Pavarotti. "He is one of the great emotional arm wrestlers," comments the U2 front man, "and he will break your arm."