Tuesday night marked the premiere of The Lion King, director Jon Favreau’s next photorealistic CGI approach to a Disney classic. With the first screenings came the first wave of reactions from press, and they all overwhelmingly bowed down to the new king.
“I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen,” UPROXX’s Mike Ryan writes on Twitter. “Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing.”
For The Wrap‘s Beatrice Verhoeven, The Lion King, featuring the voices of Donald Glover as older Simba and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as older Nala, is “a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time.”
BuzzFeed’s Adam B. Vary called the film “a landmark visual experience,” but teased, as an emotional experience, “lions can’t really emote.” Mashable’s Angie Han writes that it’s “a beat-for-beat remake of the original” with “impressive animation,” while IGN’s Terri Schwartz remarked, “Beyoncé and Donald Glover are fine if underused but honestly I thought the comedians and especially young Simba JD McCrary stole the goddamn show.”
In The Lion King, J.D. McCrary voices young Simba, Shahadi Wright Joseph voices young Nala, James Earl Jones again voices Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor voices Scar, Alfre Woodard voices Sarabi, John Kani voices Rafiki, John Oliver voices Zazu, Billy Eichner voices Timon, and Seth Rogen voices Pumbaa.
Featuring songs, like the classic “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” the film retells the story from the Disney animated original of Simba’s uncle Scar orchestrating the death of his father, Mufasa, and casting the lion cub out into the wilderness so he can rule the animal kingdom at Pride Rock. As an older lion, it takes guidance from a carefree meerkat and warthog, and a push from old friends, for Simba to return home and claim the throne as its rightful heir.
See more reactions to the film below.
The Lion King will open in theaters on July 18.