Disney's big budget CGI remake of The Lion King premiered in the US last night, and while reviews are still embargoed for a few more days, the early reactions are coming in on social media.
And it sounds that the studio has done its 1994 Oscar-winning animation justice.
Solo star Donald Glover voices Simba, the lion robbed of his birthright by his evil uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and cast out into the wilderness, where he befriends warthog Pumbaa and meerkat Timon, voiced by Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner.
Beyonce plays Nala, Simba's childhood best friend, with James Earl Jone reprising his role as Mufasa, Simba's father.
Read more: It should be Lion Queen, says zoologist
And thanks to the eye-popping CGI and the much-loved source material, critics have hinted at widespread rave reviews to come for Jon Favreau’s movie. The reactions hint that the film is largely a faithful adaptation of the animated original, with most suggesting that Seth Rogen and Bill Eichner’s Pumbaa and Timon steal the show.
Loved loved loved #TheLionKing. Strikes the perfect balance between devotion and innovation, a technical and emotional achievement that feels downright unparalleled. (Truly you’ve never seen anything like this before.) And @billyeichner steals the movie. pic.twitter.com/6S5h2s3AvN— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) July 10, 2019
Been lucky to have attended a number of world premieres but not sure I've ever heard as much clapping during a movie as I did tonight at #TheLionKing . Was like being at a rock concert. Movie is going to make so much money. pic.twitter.com/rnU4qf92mt— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing has always been my favorite Disney animated movie and this new rendition is a beautiful reminder why. Happy to welcome back familiar chills, emotions and tears. In awe of the visual wizards behind this one. Timon & Pumbaa are everything. pic.twitter.com/IcWHgjHCuF— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is exactly as advertised: a beat-for-beat remake of the original. Impressive animation and some ace casting choices (Beyoncé is a spirited Nala, John Oliver is an ideal Zazu) plus that music is still 👍👍 - but it’s more nostalgic rehash than fresh reimagining— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) July 10, 2019
The Lion King is a wonderful adaptation of an iconic classic. It has a few small changes which enhance what was already great and everything else is right on point. The CG can be slightly distracting at times but the emotion quickly covers that. Loved it. pic.twitter.com/9QmsP3PmNh— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) July 10, 2019
Holy smokes, I really loved THE LION KING. I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing. (For the record I’m agnostic on the original movie and have zero nostalgia for it. Anyway, this movie hooked me.)— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is a breathtaking visual cinematic achievement. I can’t believe this is a CG animated movie. Timon and Pumbaa steal the show. It’s a good Disney remake but was it necessary? Maybe not, but it’s enjoyable and families are gonna love it.— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) July 10, 2019
The film’s stars were out in force for the glitzy world premiere which took place overnight. Beyonce and Donald Glover lit up the red carpet with their sartorial choices, with Glover rocking a plaid red and white suit.
Disney's other recent live-action remake, of the much-loved Aladdin, helmed by Guy Ritchie, has quietly climbed to a near $1 billion box office worldwide with middling reviews.
What the The Lion King might achieve we'll find out in the coming weeks.
Here’s the synopsis: Disney’s The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book), journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
It lands in the UK on 19 July.