Last week, I wrote about how humans are helping robots take over the world, in one case by teaching them to write horror stories and, in another, by giving them breasts.
I’m not referring to a Turing Test here. Named after Alan Turing, star of the movie The Imitation Game in which he played Benedict Cumberbatch during World War II, the Turing Test is a way of determining a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior like that of a human.
Of course, considering the humans currently leading our country, that’s a pretty low bar.
Anyway, this post has nothing to do with all that. It’s actually about The Lion King.
The Lion King is a beloved 1994 Disney animated film in which a lion has the same voice as Darth Vader. It’s a long-running Broadway show, too, just like Cats, but with bigger felines. It is also the point of origin for my daughter’s stuffed Timon, which she still has, even though it is 23 years old and she is 31.
Now The Lion King is going to be a “live-action” movie.
This continues a trend of Disney totally giving up on new ideas and, instead, recycling all its animated classics such as Beauty and the Beast, which was about Harry Potter’s friend dancing with Voldemort, or something like that.
The live action Lion King is already in production, with Jon Favreau as its director. Favreau was also on Friends, playing a guy with whom Monica had no sexual chemistry. But that is not relevant to today’s subject.
What is relevant is that Favreau also directed the live action version of The Jungle Book in which a human boy has all sorts of adventures with animals that were the clear result of evolution. The evolution of computer programming.
And that brings me to my point (finally!). Unlike The Jungle Book, the story of The Lion King has no human characters, unless you believe some conspiracy theorists who think they see a man’s foot sticking out of Scar’s mouth in one subliminal frame of the movie.* So a “live action” version of The Lion King would have to be one of two things:
- An old-fashioned Disney nature documentary in which the animals suddenly stop stalking prey to break out into song, or
- A film that is entirely composed of people like Andy Serkis prancing around in a studio and then getting turned into various animals through the magic of computer effects, or CGI as it’s known in the trade. (Andy Serkis, by the way, is Hollywood’s go-to motion capture actor. He was Gollum in Lord of the Rings and I think he was everybody in the remakes of Planet of the Apes. He’s been in, like 100 movies, almost none of which you’ve actually seen him in.)
I suspect that #2 above is the way it will be, which raises this question: If a film is entirely CGI, how exactly can it be referred to as “live action?” I mean, you’ve got to have at least one actual non-computer-generated character in it, don’t you? Or do the people in the skintight suits with the electrodes make it “live?”
In any case, I’m happy to report that there is some good news about the live action Lion King.
Mufasa will once again be played by Darth Vader.