The movie is the latest in a long line of Disney animated classics being given a retelling, and it’s already the third this year; after Dumbo and Aladdin.
Reviews have just been published, and seem – thus far – to mostly be three and four-star verdicts.
Boasting an all-star cast such as Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyonce, James Earl Jones and Seth Rogen, it’s certainly got the star power behind it.
But just how well does it square up against its beloved 1990s animated original?
According to Forbes, not well. Calling it a “crushing disappointment”, Scott Mendelson writes: “Yes, the technical talent and artistic intent on display is quite impressive.
“[But] it exists only to remind you that the original movie is still, nitpicks and cultural issues aside, pretty great, and that they made most of the right choices the first time around.
“At almost every moment, this version is almost intentionally less urgent, less enchanting, less passionate and less operatic.”
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave a three-star review, saying: “This is a virtual shot-for-shot reproduction of the original, and some credulous souls have been excitably posting side-by-side images on social media, showing the cartoon and its digital duplication.
“Have these people quite grasped that this just is an animation as well, and that director Jon Favreau has not in fact trained real animals to imitate scenes from the 1994 film? Maybe not.”
He added: “Basically, this new Lion King sticks very closely to the original version, and in that sense it’s of course watchable and enjoyable. But I missed the simplicity and vividness of the original hand-drawn images.”
The Independent gave four stars, with Clarisse Loughrey hailing a “technological marvel of unprecedented hyperrealism”.
“If anything, The Lion King uses nostalgia as a springboard for experimentation, finding new ways to tell old stories, while reminding us what makes those stories feel truly timeless in the first place,” she added.
Collider gave a C grade, saying: “The Lion King is slightly better than Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin if for no other reason it doesn’t feel too bloated and the additions largely make sense.”
Vox said the new effort is “just like the original, but without the magic”.
“As an expansion of the 1994 film, The Lion King says and adds little,” Alissa Wilkinson argues.
“It’s a half-hour longer than the original, but for no discernible reason. Scar has gone from being creepy to some kind of beta incel. Some of the campiness of the original, particularly from the hyenas, is gone, and even a (very) slightly expanded role for Nala still fails to offer anything interesting.”
The Lion King is out on July 19.