Uncanny Valley and Photorealism: The Lion King (2019)

July 30, 2019 posted by

Over the past couple weeks you may have
seen the phrase ‘Uncanny Valley’ thrown around a lot more than usual. I wonder
why that is… (Simba singing Hakuna Matata). The biggest piece of criticism for the Lion King remake aside
from why is this happening? and who asked for this? Is closely tied to this term. so
that’s what I’m gonna talk about in this video. Now it’s funny because the second
I started writing this, they released the trailer to the movie musical Cats which
is truly on a whole other extreme level of Uncanny Valley, to the point where it
seems kind of ridiculous for me to make The Lion King the focus of this video,
when it is nowhere near as guilty of – well – this. However, I don’t discuss movies I haven’t
seen yet so remind me to make a part 2 of this video at the end of the year
when Cats comes out. In 1970, Japanese roboticist Marsahiro hero Mori published an article with the hypothesis that as robots are given more human features, they
appear more familiar to us. That is up until a certain point is reached where
the mix of extreme likeness, but also subtle differences and imperfections,
invokes a negative reaction within us. Because at this point it starts to look
eerie, unnatural, strange – uncanny. This is the Uncanny Valley and the observation
led him to believe that roboticists should not attempt to make their
creations overly lifelike in appearance and motion. This feeling doesn’t just
apply to robots, if you’ve ever been weirded out by certain dolls or clowns,
it’s likely the same thing. And when it comes to film, it’s with how the
character is designed. It’s not always a bad thing. In fact many times, particularly with horror and sci-fi, they can deliberately
make the characters appear this way because making us uncomfortable is the
exact response they’re seeking. The people involved with Ex Machina designed
Ava specifically to invoke an Uncanny Valley feeling. Your stereotypical robot
movements like that of C-3PO don’t invoke this because they are so far off
from how humans move. With Ava, Alicia Vikander made her movements so smooth
and lifelike while also making sure that there is something off about it. So that
she sits in this zone. On the other hand, sometimes it is not at all intentional
and is instead a result of poor character design, bad costuming or
horrible CGI. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie being one of the best most recent
examples of this. Where a human-like body shape covered in blue fur with human
teeth and creepy eyes created such a negative reaction that the movie, which
was supposed to come out this year, has been postponed to 2020 so that they can
redesign Sonic. So where does The Lion King fit into this? This isn’t a Cats
situation where Donald Glover and Beyonce are acting it out and digital fur
technology (DIGITAL FUR TECHNOLOGY) is added onto their bodies. The characters are
just impeccably done CGI lions that look exactly like real lions. When the first
trailer dropped, no one mentioned anything weird or an cranny about it. Tt
was stunning – but when we eventually did get to see short clips of the lions
speaking – Nala: “Seeing you again, you don’t know what this will mean to everyone!”
Something felt really off about it. The mix of hyper-realistic animals that
aren’t emoting and human voices that are emoting, takes it into Uncanny Valley
territory. Of course not everyone feels this way, I’m sure many don’t care and
aren’t fazed by this. But for me and many others, it was a pretty big hindrance to
the movie – and I’ll explain why. I by no means hated this remake, I wholeheartedly
believe that the creatives involved in making it
cared about the story and wanted to do justice to the original. That being said,
what should have been the best scenes in the movie fell flat for me mostly
because of this uncanny valley problem. And it is directly a result of
decisions they made that could have been avoided. For a movie that looks so
lifelike, it also feels like the life has been sucked out of it. This is most
apparent with the scenes that should evoke the most emotion. Take the Stampede
for example, the shot of the wildebeest running into the gorge looked just as
realistic and incredible as I hoped it would. But it’s not just the image of a
lion cub and his dad trying to survive amongst a giant herd of wildebeest that
makes the animated version one of the most emotional scenes in any Disney
movie, it’s carried on what these characters are feeling. Which is told
obviously through the expressions on the characters faces. The panic in Simba’s
face when he can’t find his dad, the relief when he thinks he survived and
the horror at seeing him fall. The sinister look when scar says – Scar: “Long Live The King.” The look of sheer terror in mufasa’s
eyes at the realization of what his own brother is about to do to him, these are
all vital in making the scene what it is. Yet
these expressions are non-existent in the remake. Scar just delivers the line
with so much less drama then smacks Mufasa in the face and he falls off. I
really wish I had the scene on hand so I can contrast the two in this video. Interviewer: “The Stampede, I mean that’s upsetting enough in the Disney version isn’t it? When did you
first kind of see that coming together and are you slightly concerned it’s
gonna scar a whole new generation of children?” Chiwitel: “It’s such a strange thing in that in a way
because I feel like the animated version for some reason is kind of so
visceral. Whereas, in a way, you know, there’s something slightly more subtle
about it I think slightly gentler for that reason actually. In this
in this version that, it’s not quite as as I suppose, brutal in a way.” Even though
I’m sure Chiwitel meant that in a good way, I completely agree with what he said
there.. but in a bad way. This version of the movie feeling less
visceral is exactly my problem with it. The father-son relationship that was
brutally cut short is the emotional core of the movie and when that emotion is
not shown in the faces of the characters, it feels very bland.
It’s then made worse when the voice acting is added on top of that because
this is of course a very talented list of actors who did deliver with their
performances, but it’s strange hearing these performances overlaid on animals
not showing the same level of emotion. When Simba is crying over the death of
his father, you can hear the devastation in his voice, but what you’re seeing is
just a lion cub that isn’t portraying that on its face. There is a big
disconnect between the two. Compared with the animation where the visual matches
exactly what you’re hearing. Simba “He tried to save me. It was an accident, I didn’t mean for it to happen”. This isn’t the case with
all characters – like I don’t feel this way about Timon who is easily the
highlight of the film for me. Pumbaa too. I think partly what really helps in this
case is meerkats are just as funny in real life as they are in animation, given
their size and overall nature. Like there’s a moment where they show a
close-up of Timon’s face and everyone laughed, not necessarily because he was
doing anything funny but just looking at him is funny enough. Adding Billy Eichner
on top of a little animal that’s scurrying all over the place is perfect casting
and worked really well. The uncanny valley problem also wasn’t there
throughout the movie, I did get used to it at several points. I thought I’d be a
lot more bothered with Zazu’s beak just moving up and down as he speaks but it
wasn’t that bad. However, the points where it bothered me with the lions and
where it was most noticeable, was unfortunately always during what should
have been the most emotional scenes in the movie. People’s snarky response in
defense of the movie, tends to be “Well what do you expect? Lions can’t emote.”
Which i think is a cop-out. This isn’t a documentary and it isn’t something like
Homeward Bound where real animals are being filmed. This is CGI, if they wanted
them to emote they could have easily done that and still make the lions look
real. We’ve seen a ton of CGI animals in movies that show real emotion, Paddington
being my favorite example of this. Despite him being a walking talking bear
that looks really realistic, there’s nothing weird about seeing him speak
because his facial expressions match exactly what he’s saying and how he’s
feeling. Real-life bears can’t emote the way Paddington does but that doesn’t
make Paddington any less believable as a bear. And it doesn’t make the CGI any
less impressive, it makes it more so. I really wish they went in a similar
direction but they didn’t and it must have been a conscious decision not to.
which brings me to what I think is the crux of the problem and that is their
commitment to photorealism went way overboard. I get it, this is a remake. They
are already copying so much directly from the animation that if Jon Favreau
wanted his movie to feel special and stand out, making it look like you’re
genuinely watching the African savannah is what they had to do. And I’m not
arguing against that part of it. There were scenes in this that looked so real
and so stunning that it literally made my jaw drop. Especially seeing the night
sky completely covered in stars. I loved that.
and sometimes this commitment to realism made them get creative.
Like sure we didn’t get to see Timon dress and drag and do the hula, but the
alternative of him singing ‘Be Our Guest’ was just as funny and caught me by
surprise. Or like in the original, how Rafiki finds out Simba is alive is just
through a bunch of leaves traveling from Simba to him and then he does some
voodoo stuff. In the remake, I really like how we went through a little journey
seeing a piece of Simba’s mane travel from bird, to tree, to giraffe, to dung
beetle, to ant, then to Rafiki. You get to experience much more of the animal
kingdom and details of the landscape in this version and I like that. But when I
say they overly committed to this idea of photorealism, I obviously don’t mean
that I hate how great the CGI is and how realistic it all looks. It’s that this
commitment prevented them from straying outside that box and having fun with the
movie. There’s a quote from the indieWIRE review that perfectly explains how I
feel. “The Lion King demands that we suspend our disbelief at the same time
that it tries to convince us that we don’t have to, and the resulting
dissonance is so draining that it becomes hard to remember how special
this story once felt.” They didn’t have to do it like this. This is a movie with
talking animals and musical numbers. They needed to give themselves room to stray
from photorealism during the scenes that needed it most.
Doing so wouldn’t make the CGI any less impressive, and it wouldn’t make it
less stunning. Letting the animals show the emotion that the voice acting
demands would eliminate this uncanny valley feeling. Letting the characters and
landscape do more than just run around during the musical numbers would inject
life into this movie that was desperately needed. In the original, when
‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ is sung, it’s not just that it’s a great catchy song
which makes the scene. It’s also the animation style that changes and you’re
plunged into a colorful world with surreal visuals that goes perfectly with
the song. You get taken into Simba and Nala’s mischievous and childlike world
that is really fun to watch. Whereas in the remake, they just run around the
watering hole. And something I kept thinking, aside from how boring it was,
was all the wasted potential. It also made me think of Mary Poppins Returns. If
you haven’t seen it, there is one scene or section in the movie in particular
that gets a lot of praise from people – even those that didn’t like
movie. And that is when the children were taken into a world of a ceramic bowl. The
integration of 2D animation among the live-action was incredible and so
impressive. It doesn’t take you out of the movie, it does the opposite. It
becomes so much more immersive. I’m not necessarily saying that I wanted them to
do exactly the same thing here but it just shows the world of possibilities
they had in making the musical numbers creative and interesting. They didn’t
even let themselves change it up for just a single song, the song about a kid
fantasizing about the day he gets to be king. The same applies for ‘Can You Feel
the Love Tonight’. In the original, that whole scene takes place during sunset
and twilight – because you know, it’s literally in the title of the song.
Whereas in the remake, it takes place during the afternoon and the setting is
isn’t anywhere near as beautiful or romantic as it should be. Simba and Nala are
again just running around the place not doing much else.
No cheeky smiles, no cheeky close-up looks, because they insisted on it
looking like we’re watching an episode of Planet Earth. I thought for sure we’d
at least got to see them tackle each other into the river and get to see what
their fur looks like in a different state – like King Paddington gets all the
time – but nope, it’s just a very boring scene because they boxed themselves in with
always choosing photorealism over anything even slightly more interesting.
To end this video, I’ll talk about the character that I think was most
negatively impacted by this unnecessary obligation to photorealism, and that is
Scar. What makes scar such a great villain is
not just that he killed his own brother, it’s his personality and how
over-the-top he is. Mufasa: Sarabi and I didn’t see you at the presentation of Simba.” Scar: “That was today? Oh I feel simply awful.” But
because of their duty to having it look so real, his personality had to be toned
down significantly. This isn’t a knock on Chiwitel Ejiofor
who was really good in the role, and it’s not at all his fault. It’s the fault of
photorealism, they can’t have him sing ‘Be Prepared’ with the same sort of
flamboyant nature of the original because as established, they don’t want
the lions to be expressive. So overlaying an extremely expressive song over an
expressionless lion would make the uncanny valley problem so much worse. The
result is a villain that is stripped of all that chaotic evil energy and we’re
instead left with one that just has a single emotion – anger.
In conclusion, I do really admire the technological achievements of the Lion
King remake, I have loved the original for literally all my life. It came out
before I was born and I’ve lost count of how many times have seen it. And even
though I would much rather they leave the original to stand on its own ,if
there had to be a remake I’m glad it wasn’t a complete and total disaster, and
that it had some redeeming qualities. But the movie still has major problems that
prevent me from giving this a high rating, and what’s most disappointing
about it is that these aren’t accidents, the problems are a result of decisions
they made, and had they just given themselves the space to experiment
beyond photorealism – particularly with making expressive yet realistic animals,
I think this remake could be a million times better. Thanks for watching this
video I hope you enjoyed it, please thumbs up if you did and subscribe if
you’re new here. Follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up to date with my
opinions and what I’m working on. Again, thanks for watching bye. 🙂 Sonic: “Meow.”


100 Replies to “Uncanny Valley and Photorealism: The Lion King (2019)”

  1. Siddhi Desai says:

    "For a movie that looks so life-like, it also feels like the life has been sucked out of it," basically every live-action remake these days. Well said.

  2. ana123apple says:

    Digital furry technology

  3. Kin Hamid says:

    Money + Nostalgia + "Realism" – Soul = This Monstrosity

  4. RGB Crafts says:

    This reboot/remake wave is gettinh annoying.
    It doesn't matter if technology is much more present and helps out a lot in the development, if the minds behind the production are dull enough to not recognize it's not gonna even match the original work. Funny thing is, a bidimensional animated version from the past far overshadows this hightech photorealistic CG based uncanny valley presentation. I don't blame tech, but I do blame the lack of reasoning from the people who thought they could even try something better than the original.

  5. christmastiger says:

    I had to go watch videos from the Lion Whisperer after this because I swore remembering lions having tons of emotion you can read easily (Being apart of the big cat family myself I can attest) and yeah they are basically far more emotive in real life than this dead-eyed photoshop-looking movie, kind of a bummer.
    But it has Eric Andre in it and seeing him doing anything with Disney does have me intrigued….

  6. Cam Lee-Brown says:

    This is spot on

  7. Zwarte Zeurpiet says:

    Wow those 239 people are really not getting it are they.

  8. trans rights ! says:

    no one:
    the lion king 2019: -_-

  9. Kandice M says:

    I really didn't like the lion king remake. It was awful. I was so uncomfortable in the cinema, I wanted to leave……PLus the songs were awful 🙁

  10. Paulo Mangano says:

    The movie felt so rushed… i wonder if that's the reason.
    I was really expecting the musical bits and they just were not there.
    Scar is just depressing, pumba is boring, hakuna matata felt like a poor audition, little to no rafiki-simba connection.

    And that's pretty sad, the music is awesome, the cgi is amazing, the locations are stunning the 3D is so seamless and well integrated that you might be watching something happening outside a window. But they simply don't connect.

    This is disney-pixar ffs they are ablo to insert emotions into a mute robot (wall-e) and even in a headless piece of cloth (the flying carpet) . Trying to make the film "adult" was a poor choice, the lion king without the silly "childish" bits is just a short story with no real content.
    I liked the Hyenas tho, the song contrasting scar and the hyenas showed how poor was scar's design. Even when super excited or afraid he just looks depressed.

  11. SuperGranock says:

    I think the biggest issue for me, they didn't have any expression. Great animation, great effects, but just lacked heart.

  12. CommanderTaco says:

    I thought it would be a silent movie when the first trailer dropped

  13. Damarah Bryant says:

    All they needed to do was add emotion to the eyebrows, it would have been way better. But still, I loved the movie.

  14. Samata Das says:

    Why did Jungle book work better than this? Animatronics? It didn't fall quite in the uncanny territory as this one did. Why was Narnia soo good?

  15. JustAnArrogantAlien says:

    13:37 There DIDN'T have to be a remake, though. None of the Disney remakes NEEDED to exist. The technical achievements of the Lion King retread, however impressive they may be, are utterly wasted.
    At best, Disney is making these movies to milk a few quick bucks out of people's nostalgia. At worst, Disney is actively trying to pave over its own legacy, and everyone's memories of the animated classics, with this inferior, "live-action" drivel.

  16. StellarMinatureStarfish says:

    Could not agree more. Decent film but my god I hated the lions talking so much

  17. Duco Darling says:

    IDK what Disney was thinking.
    Have you ever felt bad for seeing an animal die on animal planet?
    We don't cry over animals doing animal things. This "more like reality" thing is going nowhere.

  18. AccelRailgun506 says:

    Once the resolution of VR headsets gets better, I would really want to watch this movie just for the photorealistic setting on my headset.

  19. Curious Wars says:

    Honestly all that aside I fully expected them to turn it into a "girl power" movie or "males are bad guys and girls gotta keep them in line" movie like they have been doing lately. I haven't watched it yet because it's my favorite Disney movie by far and I don't want to see it ruined thoufh

  20. RiiDIi says:

    I guess what you are saying is that cartoon-style animation has a lot more flexibility than a live-action style movie and that there's no comparison? Then, why did you compare them?
    I like the recent life-like movie as I had dismissed the original. Of course, maybe you are from a younger crowd who grew up watching The Lion King cartoon version over-and-over like I watched Kimba. Perhaps if you have a fresher memory of the cartoon version of The Lion King, you are more critical because you can't as easily dismiss it and just enjoy the live-action version for what it is?
    I felt the emotions were well-portrayed with artistic subtle nuance versus overly-dramatic caricatures it seems you might have been hoping for. I don't need an overly-panicked jaw-dropped Simba to convey his personal horror and shock. Perhaps you and others do, but I saw this remake twice and felt all the emotion each time. Most of the time, I barely noticed the animals talking, and I was watching for it. A few times I thought, "Hey, they didn't move Mufassa's lips." But I was ok with that. In other words, I think there should be an honest appreciation for the wonderful balance the makers of the live-action Lion King brought with artistic expertise not seen before. Truly ground-breaking, in my opinion.
    In this context, I am saying this was done quite well, while I'm not agitating that it was perfect. On the other hand, there's no need for me to compare it to the original since comparing apples and oranges is fruitless.

  21. Autumnpixx ASMR says:

    Great points. The Circle of Life part with Simba’s mane tuft was so moving tho, as you pointed out. Love the Paddington comparison.

  22. sirfailalotful says:

    “For a movie so lifelike, it feels like the life has been sucked out of it.” My feelings in a nutshell.

  23. Jack Jack says:

    It's a bad movie

  24. Melo says:

    I agree with you completely. I did like the movie and I loved seeing how realistic the lions looked. However, throughout the movie I found myself being distracted by how often the animals were blinking. They almost felt like animatronics. I don't know if that was just me. If they wanted to leave out human expressions then they should have over exaggerated the animal's body language. For example, use the lions ears to show fear and anger, have the mouths open more, show their teeth while they're speaking, and have their tails whipping around when they speak with emotion. When you animate people you have to over-exaggerate facial expressions because subtly doesn't come across. It's the same with animal body language.

  25. sammy3212321 says:

    I think this is also caused by a disconnect between the emotive voices and the non-emotive characters in the sense of sound objects. Like hearing a backing chorus without seeing the singers, or watching Homeward Bound

  26. ShadedK9 says:

    The issue is theres no life with this movie. Their intention was to feel like a movie we all loved was brought to life and yet everything was drained from it. The colours from the original were needed. The bright colours of the savannah contrasted with the dark colours when mufasa is thrown from the cliff or in the elephant graveyard are what set the tone or mood. The single thing i remember from high school english is pathetic fallacy. (The attribution of human emotions onto non human things). The mood and weather. The colours and plants. The other animals. They all help set a tone. Rain during a funeral. Sunset during a wedding. They give you an emotion before the characters step on screen. Take for example up. The bright flashy colours throughout their life help paint a fun and upbeat picture. However when ellie is in the hospital. we’d already seen the hospital before when carl had broken his leg. In the broken leg scene everything is bright because its funny. In the final scene of ellie there is a distinct change is tone. Not only in the music but in the light. It shines onto the back of carls head and onto the front of ellies face. It gives us an understanding of the mood despite not a single word being said. Colours and light help us feel what the directors intend us to. And yet. The new lion king just… doesnt have that. And the issue is colours like those DO exist in the real world. Catch a sunset at the beach and you’ll see basically every colour of the rainbow. The movie needs a serious shift in colour grade. And dont get me started on the emotions. Eyebrows (even if not visible) are important. They convey emotion. The lions were ANIMATED. And a rule of thumb for animation is that eyebrows are your best friend. Exaggerated emotions are wonderful. And although the lions dont need to look like bugs bunny or daffy duck with their expressions. They should still raise their eyebrows and convey emotions. Humans tell emotions by looking at faces. All animals do. Thats why even if you dont tell someone how youre feeling, they can tell somethings up. Demeanour and emotions are important. Idk. Im rambling. This film just needs so much to help it be better.

  27. wisegamer says:

    i didnt have any problem with this and didnt experience uncanny valley while watching

  28. iggy bae says:

    the animals in homeward bound did somehow look emotional to me though its so weird

  29. IndieTraufe says:

    Eh in few years even the cgi will look Bad. Movies like this just age badly and there isn't anything "good" about this movie left.

  30. lordvore says:

    Pedantic point I know but Sigmund Freud wrote about the uncanny in his treaties on the 'Unheimlich' (uncanny) some fifty years before the person you mentioned.

  31. Dragoonsoul7878 says:

    Graphic racing is pointless, high graphics actually negatively impacts things but first… In the case of birds not invoking that with their talking in movie, it isn't too different in real life. While it can be off hearing them speak in your own voice, their movements make sense per how they make noise. Cats/Dogs don't hold or make sounds the way we do while speaking with their body, and being common pets, this feels VERY wrong especially since they lack personality real cats/dogs have. That being said letting them emote as a human would with these bodies… would be EVEN worse. It would feel even more wrong.

    Back to the Graphics Race and negative impacts, watch when Pumba runs from Simba and turns. He turns slowly, it takes time. This is a huge issue with 3D entities. 2D "rotating" is very easy due to the visual trickery it can happen quickly, but feel nice. In 3D you'd see clipping or various issues. You'll see the same in video games as well where physicals become realistic as someone jumping 1,000 feet looks wrong to our brains. You can't have someone morph into a dragon, it looks wrong for a real body. It would look wrong in real life.

    Try suspending disbelief with real objects, like believe that rock could go through that barn wall without damaging it. You'd know something is VERY wrong and feel it. A magic show though tricks you, so you never see it phase through an object so it never feels wrong.

    The more realistic something becomes the more like every day life it becomes.

  32. JustSimple A.H says:

    I liked mufasa's voice..

  33. Mellow Baton says:

    Around 4:40 , when the interviewer accidentally calls the original version the 'Disney version', I think it really hits home how these live-action remakes simply don't capture the magic and creative vision of their source material.

  34. Karen Sanchez says:

    “*scene not available* (it wouldn’t change much anyway)” LMAOO

  35. k hornig says:

    i rlly was hyped for this and havent watched the irl version yet but now im kinda feeling like shit that this is probably is a lame movie ;(

  36. Top Doc says:

    People complain about the Sonic look but not the Lion King.

  37. Dylan Cross says:

    I made the joke about Scar in the original. The whole point about Scar is he's cartoonishly (hahaha) evil. Without him being that kind of evil it lacks the impact and atmosphere of Scar himself

  38. Izo-Ink says:

    on top of all of this the director refuses to call it animation, slapping the animators he was so brattily like "no fun for you!!" who still made an incredibly realistic movie in the face. The movie just looks bad. I have more excitement watching planet earth tbh the Galapagos islands with the iguana running for his life? intense d00d.

  39. MezzoForte4 says:

    I have to disagree with you on the scene where Simba's tuft of mane reaching Rafiki being better. It was not. This just proves how much they wanted to make it photo-realistic and removing the 'magic' and mysticism that made the original good. Rafiki being severely nerfed role in the remake is proof of that. That scene was way too long imo.
    I've seen the original movie so many times as a kid, I know it scene-by-scene by heart. I was mortified at how much of it was copy and pasted into the remake, THEY COPIED THE FUCKING SOUNDTRACK TOO!! Nothing original, nothing derivative from the original. This remake has no business existing when the original is as timeless as they come.

  40. Salacious Candy says:

    Got the same feeling from the live action Jungle Book.

  41. Stephen Beers says:

    They’re both animated films. Which means if they made the expression the same as the cartoon version, it would almost be a direct replica.

  42. Andre A says:

    It’s not uncanny valley.the lions don’t even emote.

  43. Dre :D says:

    Turn me on music video by Nicki Minaj was the first time I remember that I was so negatively impacted by uncanny valley. I didn’t get the courage to watch the music video until 2 years after it’s release.

    Creeped me out so much man

  44. Jamie Bennett says:

    You worded exactly how I was feeling wonderfully~. Their faces are so expressionless. They could have added more expression and been okay. It wouldn't have looked bad. Idk what they were thinking…
    Not to mention the bland color pallet on the lions. Real lions exsist with black manes and red tints in their fur, but these ppl were like "naw, beige everything!".
    So disappointing that they got too caught up in the "realism".

  45. Patricia Sarkkinen says:

    Well made review 🔥 I agree on every point

  46. InAliensWeTrust says:

    I think the movie is nice.

  47. Oh Geez says:

    They did scar so fuuuuucking ugly I was so upset.

  48. Error 404 not found says:

    This movie would’ve done SO MUCH more better if certain scenes were as powerful as the original, and having the photorealism included would have made this movie a masterpiece peace

  49. Nich White says:

    Narnia did a CGI lion better in 2005.

  50. Umar Butt says:

    Moral of the story is: don't ruin the villain that exudes villainy through facial expressions.

  51. ChaireFace says:

    The amount of fur, tiny muscle movements, and changing shadows a real animal has will never be replicated perfectly in CGI. Stop trying to beat reality. Just do artistic stuff again ffs. I’m sick of all this shitty CGI. Its never convincing.

  52. Gonzalo Garreton says:

    It's not just uncanny valley. I think it has to do with audio. I've gone over this in my head over and over again after watching the movie multiple times, but I think I have a good hypothesis. Because of the voice acting being extremely expressive and human, it doesn't match up with the anatomically correct animals in the film. Western audiences are more partial to lip sync than most to the point where we hyper scrutinize actual humans singing to see if they're actually doing it. More than 10ms off per micro facial movement and we get totally detached from the emotion of the film or music and we hyper focus on that. The voice acting in Lion King creates an expectation that just doesn't meet with the animation. Especially with Timon and Pumba, where the voice acting of Timon is so over the top and is on a real animal. It feels like one of those nature Geico commercials where animals talk. It's obviously less high-stakes than recreating a childhood classic which makes it easier to pass off for comedic effect.

    As for the uncanny valley, I think the movement of the bodies is the biggest tell in terms of uncanny valley. It's not quite right. The muscles don't quite interact with the fur and it seems to be a limitation of a film totally in CG. I'm sure it would have to spend exponentially more time in rendering to get that extra 1% difference, however I don't think this really killed the movie. Audio lip-sync has nothing to do with uncanny valley, it has everything to do with the voice acting and the direction. Especially when Beyonce isn't even in the same room as any other actor when her character's emotional connection with Simba is the foundation of the movie. You don't "feel the love" as much as the original with their dialogue. it just kinda doesn't land at a perfect 10.

    Lastly, the biggest artistic problem in this movie that made it less was it's limitation as a "live-action" remake. To make things not too jarring for audiences, I'm sure they chose to shoot it in a manner that audiences are really familiar with, which is a nature doc format. What I'm getting is that Scar's deal with the hyenas wasn't ominous and green and spooky and artsy. In this it was literally an elephant graveyard lol. There wasn't any color to tell the story, which Disney did masterfully in their drawn animation, it was purely carried by voice acting, which again has issues.

    Just my 2 cents, I wonder if anyone picked up on the same.

  53. Javier Mercado says:

    Great explanation. I agree.

  54. YouTube God says:

    It looks so fucking boring.

  55. AmpleConfusionify says:

    This totally nails how I felt watching the movie.

  56. Christian Vondruska says:

    Wait a minute, which one's Scar? Oh, the slightly grey one? Ah, got it

  57. ABC Bass Face says:

    I saw this movie in Turkey and over there they have intermissions. During the break, the disappointment on some of the kids faces I saw was more memorable than any scene from the movie itself. Sad.

  58. 31415 2635 says:

    The movie was beautiful! I watched it yesterday in the cinema. Very emotional and just beautifully done.

  59. Odile Mwaro says:

    I knew there was something wrong when they held off on showing the animals talking when the CGI genie was in every trailer for Aladdin.

  60. Zach Khan says:

    I could tell it wasn't real, but I didn't feel like it fell in uncanny valley. I did feel more attached to Simba as a likeable cub.

  61. Nathan M says:

    Am I the only one to say that the lack of facial expression pushes it away from the uncanny valley? Or is it me? Because I rarely ever notice someone’s emotion from their facial expressions in real life cause it just isn’t accurate and I don’t ever see people with facial expressions more dramatic than the lions in the new movie

  62. Aspie Aunty says:

    My sister and I had similar complaints about the remake- how the new Scar looked horrible and he was also incredibly miscast, how Zazu looked horrible, and how most of the characters weren't expressive enough for us to be suitably emotional for the stampede, how Rafiki didn't have his staff until the very end, although I did tear up a bit during the intro song

  63. Fighting Faerie says:

    I liked the animation itself. And appreciated some of the story tweaks, "I wouldn't challenge you… again", Mufasa saying why exactly he let Scar stick around instead of exiling him, dropping a line about Sarabi leading the charge to drive the hyenas out, making Shenzi more of a leader in her own right, even the tuff of hair literally going through the Circle of Life until it got to Rafiki. But I agree the emotion just wasn't there, at least where it counted. And like most of the remakes, it felt like they were just hitting each plot point and moving on, some scenes just don't feel as impactful or feel like they moved past too quickly.

  64. Emily Veronica says:

    I haven’t seen it yet but this is something I definitely worry about, though I wonder if giving them more expression and more human like movement might actually make the uncanny valley worse.

  65. Dirk Weis says:

    Thank you, I thought the exact same thing when I saw the movie but you just put it into words

  66. 77xDivaOkurrr7ATSymbol says:

    1994 Disney: We know how to make magic
    2019 Disney: We know how to make money.

  67. Truone1980 says:

    i feel like nobody cares ..and its weird cuz some people used to care…. at some time

  68. Truone1980 says:

    cgi is garbage…. thank for reintegrating that

  69. Luy says:

    I believe it is intentional, but their agenda is literally changing the face of animation, as we know it.
    The sheer power base of Disney makes this possible. And no matter how many people feel disillusioned or get an "uncanny valley" feeling from it, it WILL NOT FLOP. Mark my words.
    Remember: There is no such thing as negative publicity. As long as you get attention and people go see the movie, you're good.
    From a cultural standpoint, I find this whole thing fascinating.
    Addendum: I am in no way a Disney fanboy. Farthest from it, actually. But I did grow up on Kim-, sorry, Simbas' stories and was mesmerized by the movie and the resulting animation spin-offs until my late childhood.

  70. abhi dev says:

    cmon if they had given more human like expression u will be making a video criticizing hw unrealistic it is!!

  71. Seung Lee says:

    I feel like the Andy Serkis planet of the apes movies used similar amounts of cgi but the apes can emote way more than what I saw

  72. Jabari Lion says:

    Exactly what I think about the remake! Its not a bad movie, but it could be much, much, much better.

  73. Faerral says:

    I think the problem is that most people are not used to reading animal expressions. Animals DO emote, just differently and more subtle than humans. And I believe that those who didn't mind the realism are those who are used to reading the subtle animal facial expressions.

  74. beatjunkybg says:

    This one will definitely not be a classic for todays's kids. It doesn't feel special in any way….. and also they have like a million franchises and characters to follow

  75. BambiSaur says:

    I must add the editing was terrible.
    The death scene which they tried to replicate almost shot for shot was so janky, it completely threw me.
    It was like they had animated it in normal speed and then slowed it down? Instead of animating the extra needed frames to compensate for the slowed motion, which of course gave it this clunky, janky feel. When mufasa falls and the shot zooms out of Simbas emotionless "Nooo!", I almost laughed it looked so terrible, its something I would have expected to see in an animated film with the smallest budget. Not Disney…

    Also what was the soundtrack? They turned one of the best soundtracks to any animated film into something distorted and forgettable. They rehashed it so much for the sake of difference that it didn't tell a story.
    There were parts which were of course from the original, but they just placed ever so slightly differently by a few seconds that I think it's another reason the movie fell flat.
    It had a meaningless soundtrack which lacked timing and punch. Listen to the original Lion King soundtrack and it clearly walks you through each scene.
    There was a bit in the film, where Simba runs away from the gorge to never return where they used a piece from the old soundtrack which completely didn't fit the scene. In the original film that piece of music almost represents a feeling of slight hope, it's very relaxed. It doesn't translate to fear, or terror, desperation, loss of hope or hopelessness. Absolute shambles.

  76. Ali the Writer says:

    My own cat emotes more than simba does in this movie. And she's on heavy epilepsy drugs that make her sleep all day.

  77. Arthur Huizar says:

    The Lion King would be better if the characters mouths didn't move.

  78. Ryaquaza 1 says:

    I’m not sure if I’d call it uncanny valley but the lack of facial movements on the lions does bother me, I mean lions are pretty expressive animals anyway so I really don’t know why they made them so stiff.

  79. Ian Dog says:

    Beyonce and the guy who voiced Simba were not very good at all, Jeremy irons and mathew Broderick were so much better in the original.

  80. hulk says:

    We’ve seen so many movies (mostly bad) with with taking realistic animals. At this point, the uncanny valley of talking animals, I think, is not that unsettling.

  81. Inhyuk Lim says:

    Oh I totally forgot about Paddington. The two films made a talking bear really believable.

  82. Spork says:

    When Mufada died I laughed at how much the moment was ruined by uncanny valley

  83. Katiegreatie4 says:

    *if Cats come out

  84. John Peric says:

    The new lion king was one of the few movies I have fallen asleep to in a movie theater.

  85. Adam Nelson says:

    I think too much is being made about the whole "Uncanny Valley" thing as it relates to this movie. I think people just like saying the term honestly because it's hip. Most of the VFX work in the Lion King is astounding. I think the main problem with it is just lazy narrative execution. The magic that was the foundation of the original is nowhere to be found and many of the scenes in the remake felt phoned in, which is a surprise given Favreau's fantastic execution of the Jungle Book.

  86. Essential Asa says:

    If you just go watch Jungle Book they managed to convey emotions there just fine, especially with Sher Khan. I don't understand how they managed to go backwards.

  87. Michael Kevin Millet says:

    Why do you call it live action, when it's not.
    You are talking about two animated movies, not one.

  88. Steppe Inder says:

    Was never a fan of real action or realistic animations adaptions. It's just not what these original animated movies where about. Really sad to see so much animated stuff these days is just dulled down or over realistic. Like it lost its soul in kind of.

  89. Mitchell Coovert says:

    Judging by the comments I guess I was the only one who enjoyed the movie

  90. Jean-Luc Canas says:

    Definitely passes the point of uncanny and into the Beverly Hills Chihuahua/ air bud valley.

  91. FrodoScrodoFaggins says:

    instead of watching the new movie i just bought icecream and watched the original and it was amazing. i havent seen it in 10 years

  92. Sir Sayaka Miki the 3rd says:

    It's almost like animation is not a lesser art form and doesn't need to be remade. If only Disney would realize this. Great Vid by the way.

  93. Amazing Charizard says:


  94. gearsofwargamer4life says:

    you realised when the 1994 version came out . no one asked for that . it has nothing to do with who asked for it. yes it cost 12$ to go see this film. you dont have 2. so the it cost you 0$ . if they want to make it for whatever reason . cash grab . at least I got to see my childhood come to life as live animals. and I loved it. they have freewill. they can make what they want. then u can choose to see it. if it was for a cash grab at least to me . I enjoyed it.

  95. Øath betrayer says:

    New lion king sucks ass.

  96. Jonassoe says:

    It shouldn't have had voice acted dialogue. The whole thing should have just been narrated by David Attenborough.

  97. foodice11 says:

    So it boils down to: the cg brought nothing and there wasn't a point.

  98. Agent Exeider says:

    Seriously? people are defending the movie saying "Lions cant emote"? Bullshit, I just got one response for that "Rocket Raccoon." THe animators of Rocket Raccoon make him emote, it matches Bradley Cooper and he looks real. So much so that people are asking for a stand alone Rocket movie, think about that, a movie FOCUSED on a CG raccoon, just because it's done SO well and the character is so likeable, relatable and emotive.

  99. Michael Byrd says:

    They did Scar dirty, and I am big mad. He was so flamboyant and eccentric, and all that was removed. you can't just do him like that, Disney.

  100. Likeafoxow says:

    When are they gonna remake Kimba?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *