The Lion King First Reactions: Timon and Pumbaa Steal the Show in Disney's Best Live-Action Remake Yet

Critics on social media say the film is remarkably faithful to the original, with mind-blowing visuals and some incredible voice performances.

by | July 10, 2019 | Comments

Disney is all in with the live-action reimagining of their animated classics. Never mind that the last two have had Rotten Tomatometer scores; these things keep making hundreds of millions of dollars. The latest is The Lion King, and it’s one of the most anticipated movies and most pre-sold releases of the year. Fortunately for the fans, critics are mostly positive on this one so far. The effects and voice performances are all stunning, according to reactions out of this week’s premiere, and while it’s not a necessary redo, it’s definitely worth seeing.

Here’s what critics are saying about The Lion King on social media:

Is this one of the good live-action Disney remakes?

Whatever your feelings on Disney remakes, this one will blow you away.
Jenna Busch, Legion of Leia

It’s easily the best of Disney’s remakes.
Laura Prudom, IGN Movies

Loved loved loved The Lion King.
Drew Taylor, Moviefone

Better than I thought it’d be!
Ben Pearson, Slashfilm

But is it necessary?

It’s a good Disney remake, but was it necessary? Maybe not, but it’s enjoyable.
– Peter Sciretta, Slashfilm

Did we need a live-action version of The Lion King? Maybe not… but this version is beautifully crafted by Jon Favreau…gives me all the feels on being back on Pride Rock.
– Kit Bowen, We Live Entertainment

While it’s a story you know, it’s soooooo well done.
– Steve Weintraub, Collider

The Lion King will be a touching introduction to a timeless story for a new generation, but I’d never rewatch it over the original.
– Laura Prudom, IGN Movies

Walt Disney Studios

So we’ll like it if we like the original?

Really, if you’re hoping this will be a near-exact adaptation of the animated movie with some absolutely jaw-dropping visual effects, you’ll get what you’re looking for.
Terri Schwartz, IGN Movies

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.
Germain Lussier, io9

The Lion King does a really excellent job of honoring the original movie but also adds touches for this modern version. Those touches are a lot of fun and totally welcome.
Brandon Davis,

I still really miss the exaggerated emotions of the characters from the original, but you get occasional flashes in this.
Ben Pearson, Slashfilm

The Lion King is exactly as advertised: a beat-for-beat remake of the original… it’s more nostalgic rehash than fresh reimagining.
Angie Han, Mashable

Nostalgia hits HARD with The Lion King. It’s wonderful to see the story again on the big screen presented in a different way. The cast is amazing and to hear James Earl Jones as Mufasa again put a huge smile on my face. Oh yea, that stampede scene still gets me.
Wendy Lee Szany, Schmoes Know

The Lion King 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.
Perri Nemiroff, Collider

How is Beyoncé?

Beyoncé is good in The Lion King — really good! Nala’s role is indeed bigger, and Bey suits it perfectly. There’s a moment when she tells Simba he’s ‘disappointed’ her, and reader, the way Bey bit the ’t’ in that word chilled me and thrilled me.
– Adam B. Vary, BuzzFeed News

Beyoncé is a spirited Nala.
Angie Han, Mashable

Beyoncé and Donald Glover are fine if underused.
Terri Schwartz, IGN Movies

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

How about the comic relief?

Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa stole the show and made me laugh so hard I almost cried.
Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

Timon and Pumbaa steal the show.
Chris E. Hayner, Hollywood Reporter

Timon and Pumbaa are everything.
Perri Nemiroff, Collider

The vocal performances are largely good enough to make up for the rest [of the criticisms]. Eichner and Rogen steal the movie.
Ben Pearson, Slashfilm

John Oliver is an ideal Zazu.
Angie Han, Mashable

Are there any other standouts?

Chiwetel Ejiofor is brilliant as Scar!
Brandon Davis,

If you thought [Florence] Kasumba stole that scene in Civil War, just wait. In a movie full of great performances, she was the stand out.
Daniel Radford, Screen Junkies

Young Simba JD McCrary stole the goddamn show. He’s so charming and brings great energy to, again, the cutest goddamn baby Simba you can hope for.
Terri Schwartz, IGN Movies

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

How are the visual effects?

It’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

The Lion King is a landmark *visual* experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s going to change how we look at movies forever.
– Adam B. Vary, BuzzFeed News

The attention to detail by Jon Favreau and the VFX team on The Lion King is just incredible. Beyond incredible. It looks so real so often.
– Brandon Davis,

Visually, it’s stunning – an unparalleled technical achievement that’s like watching a nature documentary.
– Laura Prudom, Nerdist

It’s a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time.
– Beatrice Verhoeven, The Wrap

A breathtaking visual cinematic achievement. I can’t believe this is a CG animated movie.
– Peter Sciretta, Slashfilm

My fear was realistic animals wouldn’t have the charisma of the cartoon, but they’re very good.
– Chris E. Hayner, Hollywood Reporter

The Lion King does illustrate the limitations of projecting human emotions onto photorealistic animals that can’t convey human expression.
– Alisha Grauso, Film School Rejects

The CG can be slightly distracting at times but the emotion quickly covers that.
– Germain Lussier, io9

How is the soundtrack?

The Lion King might be the first animated movie to win the same Oscar twice.
Jim Vejvoda, IGN Movies

The Lion King’s story and music are great because they’re the same, and the few minor updates are all smart and well-placed. And unlike Beauty and the Beast, they cast people who can sing without auto tune.
Laura Prudom, Nerdist

For the first time in maybe my entire life as the movie started I got really emotional. Just hearing the music wrecked me.
Steve Weintraub, Collider

Some of the song/choreo arrangements don’t work as well as the original but still a really fun flick.
Chris E. Hayner, Hollywood Reporter

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Are there any problems?

As an *emotional* experience…I’ll put it this way: It turns out lions can’t really emote.
Adam B. Vary, BuzzFeed News

The hyper realism wasn’t a problem for me at all, the characters were still expressive, but your mileage may vary.
Danielle Radford, Screen Junkies

Are audiences going to respond to this?

Families are gonna love it.
Peter Sciretta, Slashfilm

Not sure I’ve ever heard as much clapping during a movie as I did tonight at The Lion King. Was like being at a rock concert. Movie is going to make so much money.
Steve Weintraub, Collider

The Lion King opens everywhere on July 19.


The Lion King (2019)

Adjusted Score: 71.614%
Critics Consensus: 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.
Synopsis: From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau's all-new "The Lion King" journeys to the African savanna where a future king... [More]
Directed By:

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

serial killer dceu discovery boxoffice transformers Mindy Kaling nature APB Women's History Month cats Shondaland Superheroes richard e. Grant 2019 Fox News Tomatazos name the review BBC America BBC Infographic Action Lifetime comics History MTV spider-man SundanceTV Disney Plus Nominations DirecTV spain TruTV Winners Oscars movies Film DC streaming service ESPN The CW San Diego Comic-Con Lifetime Christmas movies Stephen King Warner Bros. crossover Watching Series 2017 Emmy Nominations crime thriller screenings casting Comics on TV zero dark thirty DC Comics free movies Elton John Food Network canceled TV shows Rocketman YouTube Red New York Comic Con First Reviews Spectrum Originals game show Avengers The Witch elevated horror LGBT Rock comiccon Musicals Interview IFC TV Land ratings 2018 Cannes kids President Amazon Prime Video game of thrones Fantasy jamie lee curtis natural history Video Games Universal police drama true crime Marvel Pet Sematary USA Musical Ellie Kemper movie dogs GLAAD Opinion DGA Year in Review Star Wars Schedule Toys joker werewolf Ghostbusters TV renewals Horror Tarantino cooking Lucasfilm Pirates Music documentary Syfy batman crime Star Trek WGN festivals 20th Century Fox CBS All Access CBS Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Freeform YA blaxploitation talk show Apple TV+ Quiz romance Winter TV Certified Fresh technology anime Hallmark Sundance Now animated Shudder Biopics The Arrangement canceled television Sundance TV spy thriller Mystery binge hispanic streaming Amazon Studios golden globes Turner Classic Movies slashers Rom-Com Logo RT History cancelled TV shows Bravo Funimation NYCC Academy Awards Arrowverse Best and Worst reviews cancelled television dc Mary Tyler Moore Hallmark Christmas movies Acorn TV disaster travel E! TV Set visit breaking bad Trophy Talk Epix YouTube vampires IFC Films Netflix Christmas movies Song of Ice and Fire HBO Max robots stand-up comedy Marvel Studios green book cancelled composers BET Kids & Family zombie Cosplay Thanksgiving psychological thriller Apple TV Plus Marvel Television AMC sports Pixar Election Ovation docudrama FOX biography GIFs Family TIFF ABC space miniseries Lionsgate cancelled TV series Awards Tour Chernobyl Disney streaming service TCA 2017 Western Sneak Peek GoT Black History Month 007 Reality Competition universal monsters Anna Paquin Disney+ Disney Plus Drama National Geographic Film Festival cops cartoon finale Teen halloween Starz cinemax supernatural Mary Poppins Returns sequel south america SXSW 24 frames rotten movies we love Marathons CNN Grammys CMT franchise Polls and Games facebook Box Office PBS spinoff award winner TCA Countdown Rocky A24 Superheroe Holidays sag awards Travel Channel 2016 Brie Larson Showtime crime drama American Society of Cinematographers cults Valentine's Day Trivia X-Men USA Network TNT Hulu Columbia Pictures Britbox Disney Channel singing competition 45 Fall TV Reality Podcast WarnerMedia TLC FX on Hulu Adult Swim dragons Holiday Paramount Network mutant science fiction toy story Paramount children's TV Sundance doctor who Captain marvel social media medical drama Amazon TCM period drama zombies Pop TV sitcom adventure MSNBC TCA Winter 2020 Comedy Central latino mockumentary screen actors guild Character Guide Apple Classic Film dramedy ABC Family Animation 71st Emmy Awards Nat Geo The Purge strong female leads indie war comic psycho Cartoon Network See It Skip It OWN Masterpiece Super Bowl RT21 Endgame Television Academy FX spanish language FXX romantic comedy thriller Spring TV Creative Arts Emmys Christmas Premiere Dates ghosts Comedy OneApp political drama Trailer directors 2015 CW Seed hist Disney Calendar foreign based on movie Country Spike Pride Month YouTube Premium PaleyFest The Walking Dead Photos Dark Horse Comics Sony Pictures LGBTQ quibi cars Comic Book video Awards E3 Discovery Channel diversity politics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Binge Guide Mary poppins TBS scary movies what to watch Nickelodeon Crunchyroll anthology Mudbound Peacock SDCC 21st Century Fox Sci-Fi Red Carpet versus Tubi MCU Extras witnail reboot First Look revenge 2020 Crackle Tumblr HBO VH1 adaptation Martial Arts Vudu theme song justice league harry potter VICE Walt Disney Pictures aliens Turner Amazon Prime El Rey Netflix series historical drama book Emmys Baby Yoda tv talk christmas movies Summer teaser NBC DC Universe A&E unscripted Esquire Black Mirror ITV renewed TV shows independent Writers Guild of America blockbuster Pop Heroines