“The Lion King” (Disney)
By Catholic News Service
Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the 1994 animated musical uses a blend of live-action techniques and computer-generated imagery to tell the story of a lovable young lion (voice of Donald Glover) with a royal destiny.
While his birth is greeted with joy by most of the animals over whom his parents (voices of James Earl Jones and Alfre Woodard) benevolently rule, the evil uncle (voice of Chiwetel Ejiofor) the young prince replaces as heir to the throne successfully schemes against him, eventually convincing him to go into self-imposed exile. Two friends (voices of Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen) he takes up with during his absence urge him to pursue a carefree existence, but his best pal from childhood (voice of Beyonce Knowles-Carter), with whom he ultimately shares a deeper bond, remains resolute that he should fulfill his weighty responsibilities.
Although the two outlooks on life presented in Jeff Nathanson’s script are strictly secular, it is the more ethically respectable view that prevails. The struggle to achieve a happy ending, though, involves animal combat that would likely prove upsetting to small kids. And some parents may not care much for the momentary gastrointestinal humor in which Nathanson dabbles. As for diehard fans of the original, they may find the whole project redundant.
Considerable stylized violence among animals, characters in peril, nonscriptural rituals, fleeting scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.