‘Lion King’ leaks: Early reactions rave about visuals, voice actors

The creators of Disney’s CGI-action “Lion King” remake are surely kicking back and humming “hakuna matata” as advance glowing reviews roll in.

Donald Glover as Simba and Beyonce as Nala “take it to another level,” as Fandango editor Erik Davis puts it, and several echoed that Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumba “steal the show.”

While some are disappointed the CGI animals’ lack the “charisma” of their animated forebears, fans and critics are roundly praising the soundtrack, which leans heavily on the highly acclaimed original, produced by Hans Zimmer. On the premiere red carpet, the legendary composer even told Variety that when he sat down with director Jon Favreau ahead of the release to watch the opening credits, he got emotional.

“It made me cry,” he said, “and it was extraordinarily moving and I didn’t think that could ever happen, that I who have lived with this for so long could still be moved by it.”

Here’s what else the internet’s speediest film critics had to say:

“#TheLionKing combines gorgeously realistic CG with heart, humor and the same story/beats of the original. It also captures the same magical feeling of the animated movie and remains faithful to its spirit. Most of the voice acting works well and the music once again stands out,” wrote Dennis Tzeng, host of Collider’s “Movie Talk.”

Others were equally glowing, though there’s a sense of overwhelming nostalgia for the 1993 cartoon.

“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,” said IGN.com editor Terri Schwartz.

In a follow-up tweet, she added, “I found myself walking out immediately wanting to watch the original.”

However, several reviews couldn’t help but feel distracted by the CG animation, which has not yet achieved true-to-life realism.

“The uncanny valley for animals took me out too many times. But it’s the Lion King so it’s always great,” admitted Constance Gibbs, writer at Time for Kids.

Overall, as Zimmer explained, this adaptation manages to take a film that defined a generation of Disney fans and handily do it all over again for a new audience.

“I was most impressed by the way @Jon_Favreau & team recaptured the lasting magic of a movie that I’ve seen 75 times,” wrote Variety producer Angelique Jackson.

“Oh man #TheLionKing delivers,” said Beatrice Verhoeven, film reporter at The Wrap. “It’s a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time. It’s a true testament to the lasting effect Disney movies have on all generations.”

“The Lion King” will be in theaters nationwide on July 19.

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