In the entire history of the film medium, there’s no question that The Walt Disney Company reigns supreme. On top of being the parent company to Pixar, Disney also owns Lucas Films, Twenty First Century Fox and Marvel.
It’s one heck of a slate.
But while Disney has an incredible track record for producing great films, the first reviews for “The Lion King” are in and it’s incredibly shocking.
Rotten Tomatoes is the premier review site of films and television on the internet.
The gargantuan website has a “Tomatometer,” which signifies if the movie is fresh or rotten; and has the power to make or break a film at the box office.
Studios, producers, actors, and industry insiders turned their backs on the site. Disgraced film director Brett Ratner once called Rotten Tomatoes “the destruction of our business.”
One major movie-company chief told the New York Times “his mission was to destroy the review-aggregation site.” A few studios, like Sony, are notorious for withholding reviews until just before a film’s release to lessen the impact of Rotten Tomatoes scores on the opening-weekend box office.
You wouldn’t think that with Disney films though, because they are known for making some of the best quality content Hollywood has to offer and Rotten Tomatoes coincidentally got their first spike in internet traffic when “A Bug’s Life” came out.
A representative from Rotten Tomatoes once said, “Pretty soon after the launch, we noticed a big spike in traffic. It was the day that A Bug’s Life came out. And when we looked into the IP addresses, we realized it was actually coming from Pixar. From what we could tell, someone at Pixar probably found our page, sent it to everyone else at Pixar, and they were just refreshing like crazy to see as we added more reviews. We were like, ‘Hey, you know, people in the film industry are actually using the site. Maybe we should run this as a business?’”
Enter Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King,” which features an all-star cast including Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keegan-Michael Key and John Oliver.
Wrong. There are 111 reviews (at the time this article was written) on Rotten Tomatoes and it is certified rotten at 59% so far. Also, 338 people have voted on IMDB and it currently rates at a 5.4, which is horrendous.
David Ehrlich of IndieWire wrote, “A well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail.”
A.A Dowd of AV Club wrote, “It’s as if every creative decision were subordinate to the film’s misguided insistence on realism, on keeping the mannerisms and movements of these magically intelligent creatures ‘believable.’”
Jake Coyle of the Associated Press simply said, “’The Lion King’ is missing something. A purpose, maybe, and a heart.”
This seems to be the consensus amongst film critics. In fact, Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus literally reads, “While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved–though for some fans that may just be enough.”
So basically the graphics are incredible, but everything else is terrible.
This is probably one to skip. Or you can just stay at home and watch the original 1994 movie.