Before we talk about this really wonderful interview that Jon Favreau did with Vanity Fair, I have to admit that I’ve never seen all of the original Lion King prior to this, just parts of it. (I know! I missed a lot of films while I was in college.) So while I knew the gist, the new movie was largely a surprise to me even though the plot was so close to the animated version. As a result I bawled through about half of it. (This mascara held up even though it’s not waterproof.) My friend didn’t cry as much because she knew the original by heart since her kids watched it so much. So that may be part of the reason I loved the movie, a lot of it was new-ish to me. Director Jon Favreau did an interview with Vanity Fair describing his process of remaking Lion King. He said that there were so many memorable parts, because it was so emotional, that he wanted to make sure to include the highlights! In a different interview, Favreau explained, “if you can capture the spirit but show them something new and surprising, that’s the best combo.” Here’s some of what he told Vanity Fair and you can see the video below. I learned quite a bit.
After that Favreau broke down the changes he made in the opening scene and to the visual. He said the visuals were made to appear long lens, with the background not in focus, to make it look more like a documentary. They also put a lot of work into making the fur look real. They tried to follow the laws of real physics for realism and you could tell! (You can see more clips here in this video.) I wanted to pet the lions they were so cute and fluffy. He talked a lot about lighting and physics and it reminded me of this channel of VFX artists describing their work and breaking down good and bad CGI. (My son introduced me to that.)
As for the memorable scenes, I’m a person who feels things deeply and I want to see movies which make me feel too. (Rocketman was like this! It wore its heart on its sleeve.) It sounds like Favreau was true to this aspect of the original and I appreciated that a lot. However I heard people coming out of the theater complaining that The Lion King was “intense.” That’s why I loved it. Intense movies are the best because you remember them as Favreau mentioned. Judging by the reviews, they’re not to everyone’s taste. At least both Lion King and Rocketman killed it at the box office so we’ll definitely get more of these type of films.