Alright, before we get into the bulk of this post, which is going to be me talking about The Lion King musical, first I have a special announcement, oh boy! Tomorrow, Friday the 23rd, I’m going to be streaming Barbie in a Christmas Carol over on my Rabb.it at 3PM Pacific / 6PM Eastern. I’m sure there’s nothing else important happening at that time, so feel free to pop over as we enjoy a holiday classic. The movie’s about an hour and a half, so it’s going to last until like 4:30 PM Pacific / 7:30 PM Eastern, unless I decide to pop in another Barbie holiday movie. We’ll see.
Anyways, time for me to start reviewing this musical I saw. As an important sidenote, I’m not much of a critic and tend to be extremely biased, so here goes.
Alright, time to start off with an Unpopular Opinion of mine: I don’t enjoy The Lion King movie. Well, it’s more like I watched it once as a kid and haven’t been interested enough to watch it ever again. I mean, I played a video game version of it a bunch of times, but I never watched it again. So, I didn’t really have high hopes for the stage version.
I was… kind of right in my assumption. The costumes are impressive, the acting and dancing is incredible, the sets are amazing, but the plot… I was kind of lost. I mean, it hit all of the beats of the original, but it didn’t quite work. The songs don’t help advance the plot, they’re just kind of… there. A lot of the time, they actually slow down the plot! For the entr’acte (the overture of a musical but after the intermission), they randomly have the entire ensemble going around in traditional African clothing while singing and dancing. I mean, it looked cool, but aren’t we focusing on the animals? It has literally nothing to do with the rest of the plot, other than they put those costumes back on again at some point in the second act for again, no discernible reason at all.
As I said, the costumes were pretty good. The way they did animals was really impressive, and I enjoyed it a lot. Until we got to Timon and Pumbaa. They… they were terrifying. Especially the Timon puppet. Oh wow. To me, it seems like they don’t know whether they want to go with humanoid with animal-esque features or full on animal puppets for the characters – we’ve got the lions with lion heads on top of their heads and some lion clothing, but then we’ve got Zazu who’s a full-on puppet. What are you guys going for?
The actors weren’t bad, they were great. The kids who played young Simba and young Nala were a little weak, but they’re kids, so I can’t really blame them. It doesn’t help that I just hate the character of young Simba. He’s a twerp.
Oh, back on the sidenote of weird musical numbers. “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” or whatever it’s called makes absolutely no sense with it’s staging or setup. It’s just kind of like a weird sugar-high-induced dream.
More on costumes – most of the lions have the lion heads remaining on top of their heads, except for Scar and Mufasa for some reason – those move down to dangle in front of their heads sometimes for some weird reason. I don’t know why, but they do. That’s kind of weird.
This really hasn’t been a cohesive review. I’m sorry, I’m not much of a critic.
Well, plot-wise, it turns out I just hate kid Simba’s personality. A lot. He’s a brat. A complete and utter brat. Once we got into the second act it was a little more tolerable. He was still a bit of a twat though.
I feel like I should talk about staging – they do some pretty cool things for staging scenes. It’s all pretty impressive. The climax is a little poorly executed, but it works, I suppose.
Oh, another thing! The first act just kind of… ends. Usually at the end of the first act there’s some sort of big number to close it out on a bang. Here we get adult Simba swinging onstage from a vine to show he’s aged up (that was not well done honestly), and them singing Hakuna Matata as the curtains close. Not much of a show-stopper there.
Also, I feel really bad, but all throughout the opening number all I could think of was The Book of Mormon. (Kiddos, don’t watch that show. It’s from the creators of South Park. Don’t watch it.)
My sister pointed out during intermission that most people refer to Disney musicals as being less of a story and more of an experience, but she sees this one as the only one that fits that description. Granted, the only Disney musicals I’ve seen are Beauty and the Beast and Newsies, but I think they carried a plot much better and didn’t just try to wow the audience with cool puppets and effects.
So basically, if you want to see some cool costumes and a POC cast performing Lion King, feel free to see it! Just don’t expect much of a flowing story here.
Usually most reviewers would go put a number here, but I have a lot of trouble summarizing qualitative data into a quantitative value. So I’ll just rate this an “eh”.
Anyways, now that we’re done with that, again, tomorrow, on Friday the 23rd, I’m going to be streaming Barbie in a Christmas Carol over on my Rabb.it at 3 PM Pacific / 6 PM Eastern. I’d love to see you all there!