Nants ingonyama, y’all! It’s been a minute since I last snuck coffee and booze into a movie but the call of photorealistic animals singing the songs of my youth was too much to resist. Sprudge may have slightly ruined a few filmgoers’ Saturday afternoons by sending T. Ben Fischer and me to get caffeinated and a little sloppy at a matinee of the reanimated The Lion King, but like an even gayer Statler and Waldorf, we ventured into the Cobble Hill Cinemas in Brooklyn, NY armed with Stumptown cold brew stubbies and rosé and ready to work out all of our emotions while we watched with different expectations. I’m a hardcore modern Disney skeptic while T. Ben’s favorite movie is Frozen and his Disney shareholder certificate hangs proudly in our apartment. What follows is a conversation we had after we sobered up:
ERIC J. GRIMM: Well, T. Ben, I told you you couldn’t possibly get me to see this flick and now you’ve gotten your wish. Are you happy?
T. BEN FISCHER: NO! It was horrrrrible! I’m so angry we watched it!
EJG: But my Disney princess, it had all of your favorite songs! Mind you, with the exception of Beyoncé’s, they were all sung terribly…
TBF: Ter-rib-ly. I wanted to throw my coffee at the screen during “Be Prepared.” Who was Scar? He was the worst.
EJG: Chiwetel Ejiofor. He was nominated for an Oscar.
TBF: For this?!?
EJG: No, you can’t be nominated for an Oscar until the year is over. He was nominated in 2014.
TBF: Can he be un-nominated and never nominated for anything else ever?
EJG: I’ll make some calls. He definitely took Scar to the most boring depths imaginable. Jeremy Irons was so deliciously evil and campy!
TBF: I don’t know who Jeremy is but the old Scar is fabulous. All of the old characters are fabulous. Why were the new ones all so boring?
EJG: That definitely bugged me the whole time. It was as if they were mostly directed to tone it down so it wouldn’t sound the same as the original even though the script is almost identical. John Oliver (Zazu), Billy Eichner (Timon), and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) all sounded like they had someone whispering into their ear while they were recording, “Don’t have fun. Pleeeeeease don’t have fun with this.”
TBF: They should’ve just reused the voices from the old movie. They would have saved so much money!
EJG: It definitely would’ve accomplished the same goal. But then you wouldn’t have Beyoncé as Nala or Donald Glover as Simba!
TBF: That new Beyoncé song was the only good part. Can we talk about how ugly the movie looked?
EJG: Wha– sure. So ugly. The original is so pretty and the musical numbers all have cute gags and some dancing. This one just has animals kind of running around while they badly sing our faves.
TBF: Badly? Try, ter-rib-ly.
EJG: Pretty much the same thing, but go on.
TBF: “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” was an abomination. Young Simba [JD McCrary] was totally off-key. I sound better in kara’oke.
EJG: Well, you’re probably both equally… alternative in your understanding of musicality. That number definitely stuck out as a low point. Nothing like dead-eyed animals to take the joy out of the most exciting musical number in the movie. A lot of people think the movie looks technically amazing.
TBF: IT LOOKS TECHNICALLY TERRIBLE. Why would I want to see real animals just do the same movie when I could watch the old one? It just looks like they put the Snapchat puppy filter on all the animals!
EJG: The real animal concept doesn’t even make sense. Real lions don’t conspire to overthrow their kings with hyenas or befriend warthogs and meerkats and abandon their carnivore instincts.
TBF: They just did all the same things from the first one. The only thing I can think that they changed was that the women lions got to be hunters and fighters.
EJG: Which is cool, I guess, except when you realize that the plot of the movie hinges on a pride of all female lions who need their stoner estranged prince to save them from the sloppiest and most easily overthrown dictator.
TBF: They should have had Beyoncé just murder Scar and all of the hyenas. Why couldn’t we just get a Beyoncé Lion King?
EJG: Well, we kinda did! She recorded a whole Lion King inspired album. It’s pretty tight!
TBF: She did?!? Did she record all the songs?!?!
EJG: No, she made a bunch of new ones. It’s basically Lionade!
TBF: Okay, I’m done talking about the stupid movie. Let’s listen to Beyoncé.
EJG: You got it.
TBF: Oh, and you’re taking me to see Frozen 2 at least five times to make up for this.
EJG: Yes, dear.
T. Ben Fischer is a coffee professional, US Barista Championship Finalists, and creator of Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp. This is T. Ben Fischer’s first feature for Sprudge.