Mini Reviews: The Lion King, Crawl, Stuber

The Lion King

Disney’s original animated The Lion King is a beloved movie. It has been celebrated as one of Disney’s best works and as most peoples favourite animated movie. So, of course, Disney remade this movie, because it’s going to make a lot of money. In fact at the time of writing this, just in 10 days, The Lion King has made 1 billion dollars. And that’s exactly what this movie is, a cash grab. The Lion King is essentially a shot for shot remake of the original. It forces me to ask the question of, what was the point? Was this movie just made to make money? If you’re going to remake The Lion King at least give us something new or do your take on it. Instead, we have a lifeless and honestly boring rehash of a much better movie.

Now I’m not a big fan of The Lion King, it’s never been one of favourite Disney movies. I much prefer Aladdin, Tarzan, or even Treasure Planet (which is highly underrated). So I didn’t go into this remake with nostalgia glasses on like I feel most people going to see this movie will. From purely a technical level The Lion King is a technical marvel. The animals and the scenery are completely photorealistic. We have come so far that we can completely recreate animals and places and have it look completely realistic. Another great addition (and probably the only other great addition) is the voice work done by John Oliver, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen. These three actors added a lot of levity to the film and some fantastic comedic lines. Other than that, this movie is bland and boring.

We’ve seen this movie. I don’t think I will ever feel the need to ever see this movie again. If I want to see the story of The Lion King, I’m just going to watch the original 1994 movie. The biggest problem with the 2019 remake is there is no life in this movie. The animals are made to look so photorealistic that they don’t emote any kind of personality. When the big emotional scenes happen, I felt no weight to them as the character design didn’t allow for any emotion to be shown through the animals. The Lion King (2019) is completely unnecessary.

Rating: C-

Crawl

I am a sucker for any kind of creature feature horror films, especially ones with underwater creatures. Obviously, Jaws is the best of the bunch, far above every film in this genre. With movies like The Shallows and The Meg being released and doing well at the box office, we are seeing a bit of a resurgence of quality underwater creature features that have now made its way to Crawl. Crawl is an intense, edge of your seat kind of movie that will grip you until the very end. Crawl was everything I wanted it to be. It takes itself seriously, it has great kills and genuinely thrilling sequences. The story goes as a father and his daughter are trapped in their house in Florida during a hurricane, the water starts to flood the house and alligators start to sneak their way in. It’s a simple story with a great pace and building tension. There are a few fairly unrealistic moments. Characters sustain some serious injuries throughout that incapacitates them for a portion of the movie, but when they are needed to move to a different part of the house to keep the story moving along, it’s almost as if their injuries disappear as they are now able to swim or move around. And sometimes characters make dumb decisions to look over open spaces or go investigate something when they should run away. Other than that, Crawl is a simple and contained story with a great pace and rising stakes. This is a blast to be had at the theatre and in a lot of ways, a perfect summer movie.

Rating: B+

Stuber

So apparently this movie was originally supposed to be Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, but I’m really glad they took the risk on Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanijiani. Stuber was okay at best. The comedy is hit or miss. Kumail Nanijiani had moments where his joke wouldn’t land and then the next moment he had me laughing pretty hard. It was a consistent cycle throughout of unfunny things and hilarious moments. Dave Bautista is someone I’m rooting for. I’ve enjoyed him most all of the projects I’ve seen him in and he genuinely seems like a grateful person just happy to be apart of whatever project he is in, but he does have a limited range. In Stuber, I think he shows he’s not quite ready for that leading man role. While he does have his moments, he is unable to carry this film as well as I had hoped for. There is a surprising amount of action and violent action at that. They bring in Iko Uwais from The Raid as the villain of the movie and his pretty much wasted for the most part. His skill as a fighter does get displayed for a little bit but is never fully utilized. He is also a very good actor, but the character is never given anything interesting to do other than just being the bad guy. Stuber might be a fun night at home to watch on Netflix or whatever streaming service it may end up on, but it’s nothing special and is not worth your time in theatres.

Rating: C

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