A fan-made video of 2019's The Lion King makes the animals more expressive through animated eyes and faces. Director Jon Favreau brought everything he learned during his work on 2016's The Jungle Book to create a contemporary retelling of the beloved 1994 animated film. But unlike his initial foray into Disney's ongoing trend of remaking their classics, his second project was received with significantly less enthusiasm.
Boasting a star studded cast of voice actors such as Donald Glover as Simba, John Oliver as Zazu, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Kani as Rafiki, Beyonce as Nala, Seth Rogen as Timon and Billy Eichner as Pumbaa, there was a lot of anticipation for The Lion King. This was bolstered by the fact that the legendary James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa. Sadly, while it's a box office smash, earning more than $1 billion at the global box office, reviews of The Lion King were mixed. Criticisms were mostly rooted on the lack of new narrative elements and the dulled emotions brought by wanting a more realistic depiction of the animals. However, there may have been a way to resolve the latter issue evidenced by a new fan edit that made the film's characters more expressive.
Coming from digital artist Nikolay Mochkin is an edited version of the trailer for The Lion King with the animals having more animated eyes while maintaining the rest of the character designs from the flick. The result makes them more expressive and reminiscent of the original film without losing the photorealism of their bodies. The clip is attached to the original version of the promo video for easier comparison. Check it out below:
They Started to Move!!!— Nikolay Mochkin (@ellejart) August 8, 2019
@jonty_pressinger X @ellejart
Thank you for the amazing animation 🙏
Hey guys, do you also want to watch this Fan-Made in the movie?🦁🎥#TheLionKing #fanmade #animation #ellejart https://t.co/NnkMP7B7Bt
The majority of the fans in the comment section are more than onboard with this design, some of them pointing out that they rather have a less realistic depiction of the animals if it meant they conveyed the right emotions. The primary difference between the 1994 film and its retelling is that the latter does not have the quirks and facial expressions their predecessors had. So while the film's narrative remained as emotional, the viewers didn't respond much to it considering the animals barely changed their expressions throughout The Lion King. The voice actors all did their part to bring to life their respective characters, but that wasn't enough to evoke the same feelings with regard to what's happening on screen.
It's a shame that 2019's The Lion King didn't live up to expectations. Some were already skeptical about whether or not they can pull off its contemporary remake considering there's no human character in the story like The Jungle Book. But as it turned out, the film's biggest problem was not the technology available to make the animals as realistic as possible. If anything, Favreau and his team did a tremendous job in that aspect. However, as they focused on the looks of the movie, they somehow forgot to make sure The Lion King evokes the same roller coaster of emotions as its predecessor, and frankly, that's a more important element.
Source: Nikolay Mochkin