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National Association of Broadcasters Show (via THR), adding the virtual production process on Lion King dwarfs the “so outdated” process used to create the Oscar-winning Jungle Book.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.
Stoooooop it with the whole “ACTUALLY the new Lion King is ANIMATED not Live Action”. Like, we get it. It’s just short hand. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
— Ellie Main (@Elliemainey) November 24, 2018
"We copied the hard work and talent from creative original minds and slapped hyper realistic fur on Seth Rogan and called it a work of art to resell you your own childhood and you're buying it hahaha" https://t.co/6CyBLlWZHg
— Cripp Daddy ♿™ (@RealYungCripp) November 23, 2018
So next year, The Lion King is totally going to cause a world of controversy over whether or not it competes as an animated film right? At least The Jungle Book had a live action character. This looks like the first time a film could ever win both VFX and Animated Feature
— Will Mavity (@mavericksmovies) November 24, 2018
wow I just watched that new lion king trailer and I completely misunderstood what live action meant because I kept waiting for beyonce to appear in a lion costume
— anaïs e-m (@anaees) November 24, 2018
IT’S. NOT. A. LIVE. ACTION. LION. KING. IT’S. STILL. A. CARTOON.
— Daniel Spenser (@DanSpenser) November 23, 2018
Live action Lion King? That makes as much sense as the animators from 1994 calling their Lion King live action.
— Derek Mattson (@Derek_Mattson) November 23, 2018
don’t call the new lion king live action, it is 100% animated. it is a disservice to the people working on it to forget that.
— caro ramsey (@caroramsey) November 22, 2018