There has been quite the uproar on social media regarding Disney's upcoming reimagining of The Lion King. Everyone can agree that the movie looks stunning, and the argument isn't at all over the quality or style. All of these heated discussions center around the use of the phrase "live-action." This take on The Lion King is being referred to as "live-action" because of how it looks, but others argue that it can't be "live-action" because it's made entirely with computers. There's not a single real thing in the movie.
Yes, it's essentially animated, but that doesn't change the fact that The Lion King looks stunningly realistic. It's almost as if these are real animals starring in the movie, even though we know that's not true. That realism was always the goal of director Jon Favreau, just like it was when he brought The Jungle Book to life a couple of years ago.
During a visit to the set of Spider-Man: Far From Home, where Favreau reprises the role of Happy Hogan in front of the camera, ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with him about his work on The Lion King. At the time of the interview, Favreau was still working on post-production on The Lion King. He revealed that his team took what they learned on The Jungle Book and utilized VR technology to bring Africa to life in this new film.
"We're really giving them the time to do it right," Favreau said of his effects team. "That was relatively early footage, rushed for that event because we wanted to get it out. But I'm here working with them. It's a lot of the same people I worked with on Jungle Book. There was probably a big learning curve for me on that one. Now I'm up to speed and I'm used to working with all of them, and I know what the tech could do and there's all new tech. A lot of the consumer facing VR stuff that's out there that wasn't out there back around the time of Jungle Book."
"We were using mostly motion capture tech, and now using game engine tech and consumer facing VR stuff, we're able to create virtual production," he continued. "It's a very cool, efficient way of working and helps contribute to a live action feel because we're able to actually go into VR and set cameras and operate real cameras that drive virtual cameras. It has a look that, hopefully will feel photo real. Even though everything's animated in it, it still should have a look of a live action film. You'll see."
So, to put the debate to rest, The Lion King is not a live-action film. But it most definitely will look that way.
Disney's The Lion King hits theaters on July 19th.
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