Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ Facing Criticism For Being Called ‘Live-Action’

Some people are taking issue with Disney’s re-imagination of 1994 classic The Lion King being informally referred to as “live-action”.

Similar to Jungle Book, also directed by Jon Favreau, the Lion King is a “virtual production”: a film that’s mostly animated shot on blue screen stage that allows directing as if helming a normal live-action film, utilising digital tools like motion capture and computer animation.

Rob Legato heads the visual effects on both the films told THR previously that he didn’t consider The Jungle Book as an Animated film.

“I consider this just a movie, and this happened to be the best way to make it,” he said of Jungle Book. “We [made] it comfortable for Jon Favreau to come in and be able to direct as if it was a live-action film.”

This high tech method of film-making which blends live action techniques with art tech to create a film that’s largely Animated has been earlier used by James Cameron on Avatar and in The Walk by Robert Zemeckis.

A blue screen isn’t too expensive and seems practical, and also the future of films, as stated by Legato who has won two Oscars for Titanic and Hugo.

“The ability to re-create anything and re-create it faithfully is the future of cinema. You shouldn’t be aware that we were using a computer to make the movie,” Legato said at the National Association of Broadcasters Show (via THR), adding the virtual production process on Lion King dwarfs the “so outdated” process used to create the Oscar-winning Jungle Book.

Talking about the impressive visual effects used in The Lion King, Legato told THR that the film will use a lot of virtual reality tools to make it feel akin to what you’re looking at.

“You can walk around the set like a cameraman. [Wearing VR headsets] the actors can now walk into a scene and see the other actors and trees … and because you are in 3D, you get a realistic sense [of the environment],” he said. “That’s what we are incorporating in the next version of this.”

The film was shot in Los Angeles, far from the jungles of India or Africa, each recreated via animation. Some people, like Aquaman director James Wan, refers to the film as live action but there are some like Derek Mattson who said using such a term ”

The teaser trailer premiered during an NFL primetime game and has since become the second most viewed trailer with 224.6 million views only behind Infinity War with 230 million views.