Beyoncé speaks as Nala in the latest TV spot from Disney's The Lion King remake. The Mouse House's practice of remaking its own animated classics in live-action/CGI has picked up of late, following the success of movies like The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast. Disney has already released two such films this year (Dumbo and Aladdin), with The Lion King retelling set to follow in July. And much like the re-imaginings before it (sans Dumbo), The Lion King is projected to be a big success at the box office.
Directed by Jon Favreau (who also helmed The Jungle Book), the new Lion King features an A-grade voice cast that includes James Earl Jones back as Mufasa, Donald Glover as adult Simba, and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Only a handful of the film's cast have spoken in the trailers and TV spots released so far, with Jones and Chiwetel Ejiofor (who voices Scar) getting the most screen time, as far as voice work goes. Now, thanks to a new clip, audiences can see and hear what Beyoncé's like as the movie's adult Nala.
Disney has released a Lion King TV spot online that features Beyoncé speaking as Nala, along with footage of Rogen and Billy Eichner speaking as Pumbaa and Timon, respectively. You can check it out in the space below.
While The Jungle Book's photorealistic CGI visuals were widely praised by critics in 2016, the mouths on the film's talking animals was often singled out as a weak spot. Three years later and it seems The Lion King may end up suffering a similar fate, as far as its live-action style animation is concerned. Indeed, Beyoncé voice feels decidedly out of sync with Nala's moving mouth in this footage, and Rogen and Eichner's voices only line up a little better with Pumbaa and Timon. This also explains why Disney has been holding off on showing The Lion King's characters talking, up until now. Clearly, the movie's effects crew and animators are going to be ironing out this element until the last moment. It'll surely look better in the final film, but right now the animals' mouth animation is fairly rough around the edges.
This calls attention to the larger issue people have raised with The Lion King remake so far: as gorgeously detailed as the CGI animation looks on its own, it lacks the expressiveness and beautiful impressionism of the 2D Lion King's visuals and character designs. Of course, Favreau's movie is far from the first Disney remake to attract this criticism. The live-action versions of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin were similarly taken to task for appropriating the more fantastical settings and characters from the 2D animated movies and trying to make them seem realistic in 3D, to awkward results. Still, so long as The Lion King is up to snuff in other areas (namely, the storytelling), the clunky mouths shouldn't be a dealbreaker on their own.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019