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Despite enthusiastic initial reviews, Disney‘s latest live-action adaptation, The Lion King, is not enjoying an overwhelmingly positive response from the critics. In fact, many of the latest write-ups have panned the remake for its creepy realism and lack of imagination.

Critics seem to be split into two camps; the first was blown over by the incredible visuals, touting it as the best live-action adaptation to date. The latter was creeped out by the anthropomorphic cartoon animals and the failure of Jon Favreau’s film to push the original narrative in new or more challenging directions.

With a score of 59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 57 percent on Metacritic, it’s uncertain whether the film will crack the $1 billion mark many had anticipated.

Revisit the trailer above and keep scrolling for our review roundup below.

It lacks the magic of the original

“It’s distracting in a way that’s not ideal — it’s uncanny and disjointed at the same time, as if real zoo animals are being anthropomorphized.”

Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

A herding of “digital ‘Cats’”

“A big-screen celebrity-voiced musical trying its best to look like a television nature documentary.”

A.O. Scott, NYT

It’s the world’s longest and least convincing deepfake

“This soulless chimera of a film comes off as little more than a glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate — a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail.”

David Ehrlich, Indie Wire

Be prepared for the photorealistic cruddiness

“Joyless, artless, and maybe soulless, it transforms one of the most striking titles from the Mouse House vault into a very expensive, star-studded Disney Nature film.”

A.A. Dowd, A.V Club

If you nerd-out about CGI, it might still cut it

“It’s imperfect; you can tell you’re watching a hyper-realistic cartoon. But from a cinema-geek standpoint, that at times can be more wondrous.”

Kevin Fallon, Daily Best

Purely based on the visuals, it’s astonishing

“Each hair and whisker on a mandrill’s face is defined. Every creature moves with seeming weight and realism, every landscape looks straight off a postcard.”

Kevin Fallon, Daily Best

Die-hard fans might appreciate the film’s faithfulness to the original

“There’s understandably no interest in reinventing the wheel — or the circle of life.”

Brian Lowry, CNN

And, of course, voice performances from Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and John Olive won over some critics

“Blessed with some excellent voice performances, this new King is familiar but still lively enough to encourage audiences to emotionally invest again in a story they are already so familiar with.”

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

Discover the early reactions to The Lion King here.

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