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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Loved The Lion King? Watch these movies next

If you are among those who loved Disney's The Lion King remake and want to watch similar movies, here are some recommendations.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
July 22, 2019 6:43:40 pm
The Lion King alternatives Here are some The Lion King alternatives.

Disney’s remake of 1994 animated feature The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, has divided critics and the audience. Almost everybody agrees that the film makes full use of cutting-edge technologies to create lifelike onscreen animals complete with realistic movements and behaviour. One critic said at times it looks like one of David Attenborough’s wildlife documentaries.

The disagreement is on many fronts, foremost being whether the film was needed at all. Another factor is since most animals, including lions, cannot emote, the film depicts them in a similar way. And it kills the experience that the original gave of expressive, snarling, teasing, laughing, threatening lions and other animals.

However, if you are among those who did love The Lion King remake and want to watch similar stuff, here are some recommendations:

The Lion King (1994)

This one is a no-brainer. The Lion King, inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Japanese manga character Kimba the White Lion, was lovely and joyful despite a couple of heart-rending moments (one in which Simba tries to revive his dead father). It was a nice twist to a typical hero’s journey. The film also has a diabolical villain in Scar (voiced by the great Jeremy Irons), a ruthlessly ambitious lion who relies on his wits to conspire and gain power.

The Jungle Book

If you have not seen it already, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (which was also a remake) is a much better movie than The Lion King, despite the latter being technically superior. The Jungle Book, for one, had a human character Mowgli (Neel Sethi) and it became easier for the moviegoers to suspend disbelief. Most importantly, the film was not a nearly shot-to-shot retread like The Lion King.

The Secret Life of Pets

The Illumination Entertainment 3D animated feature was an unexpected success in 2016. Though it is not live-action and does not feature realistic animals, almost the entire cast of this film consists of animals (pets, not wild animals) and their idiosyncratic life that is hidden from humans. It is an enjoyable movie.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

This one is for the younger audience. Alvin and the Chipmunks features three chipmunks who can not only talk but can also sing. The three characters, who are brothers, do not look realistic in the slightest, and emote like humans do with large eyes, grins and grimaces. And it is all good because realism is good — but only up to a point. Too much, and it might descend into the uncanny valley.

Kimba the White Lion

Disney has long been accused of ripping off this character and its story. The Lion King did not acknowledge Kimba and at least a few parts of the film seem to have been inspired by the Japanese character. So if you are looking for The Lion King alternatives, this is worth watching. Based on a manga written by Osamu Tezuka, Kimba the White Lion was adapted as an anime, which ran from 1965 to 1967, and also a movie. There are quite a few stunning similarities down to the common theme of circle of life. Kimba and Simba are similar names. Similar to The Lion King, Kimba grew up wanting to be like his father. Both have evil lions, hyena sidekicks and so on.

Matthew Broderick, who voiced the adult Simba in the original, actually thought The Lion King was related to Kimba the White Lion. He said once while speaking to Austin American-Statesman, “I thought he meant Kimba, who was a white lion in a cartoon when I was a little kid. So I kept telling everybody I was going to play Kimba. I didn’t really know anything about it, but I didn’t really care.”

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