The Lion King Review: 3 Ups & 7 Downs


7. The Totally Underwhelming Performances

The Lion King Scar

The Lion King boasts an enviable, top-notch cast of A-list actors, so it's extremely disheartening that so few of them are actually used appropriately.

Generally speaking, most of the focal cast members sound weirdly bored, as though Favreau directed them to tone down their voice work in order to match the more "realistic" and reined-in photorealistic animals.

Where to begin? Donald Glover feels miscast as adult Simba and never quite convinces, while Chiwetel Ejiofor tries to bring menace to Scar, but he can't match the brilliance of Jeremy Irons' original.

Elsewhere, James Earl Jones' reprise of Mufasa feels oddly weary and lacking in energy when the role needs it most, John Oliver's Zazu is a poor substitute for Rowan Atkinson, and Keegan-Michael Key and Eric Andre fall totally flat as hyenas Kamari and Azizi.

It is an epic squandering of talent like few movies in recent times have achieved, and with so many brilliant actors acting so thoroughly disinterested, we can only assume it's a directorial problem rather than one almost the entire cast has individually brought to the table.

And that neatly brings us to our next point...


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.