To literally no one's surprise, the remake of The Lion King is currently being trampled by critics like some vaguely Shakespearean big cat under the hooves of a herd of wildebeests. And with this mediocre reception, the question billions of people have been asking since the movie was first announced has been reignited: Why -- why -- make a beige CGI remake of one of the greatest animated films ever? And there may be a devious reason for it, though not the one internet conspiracists are ranting about.
Some believe Disney made a $250 million to extend it's copyright claim on the title, so that even our grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren won't be able to do a Lion King school holo-play without paying the Mouse a million galactic creds.
Unfortunately, they're wrong in the saddest of ways. Remaking an intellectual property does not stretch out its copyright. It only gives new copyright claims to any new elements you add in -- which in The Lion King's case seems to amount to giving Scar scurvy or whatever. And Disney doesn't have to find ways to exploit the copyright system. It already has. Thanks to their ruthless legal extension of copyright terms, The Lion King currently stands to not enter the public domain until the end of the 21st century, heavily banking on us being too busy dealing with the Earth being on fire to make a scathing reinterpretation of the film's monarchism.
But we've got a different but even wilder conspiracy theory for you: Disney remade The Lion King to kill traditional filmmaking. In interviews with Jon Favreau, the director doesn't hide that he wants people to confuse his entirely computer generated movie with live action (he even snuck in a single live-action shot to check if we could tell the difference). It's a strategy that's obviously working, since even some critics tearing the film to shreds are calling it a live-action movie. And just like The Jungle Book, The Lion King will also avoid being nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar and aim for the Best Visual Effects award instead, proving it's just as good at looking like live action as the real deal.
So why go through all that trouble? It can't be just to give people the joy of seeing a realistic-looking warthog fart. No, the 2019 Lion King could be seen as part of a new Disney filmmaking experiment being funded by tired parents: a movie without cameras or even motion capture, made entirely inside computers. In that way, this remake is like shooting an animal up into space to see if you're ready to move up to humans (or in Disney's case, Pinocchio). And when Disney finally nails this technology, it can theoretically make entire "live-action" movies without a single actor standing on a single set moving a single muscle, which could condemn the way movies have been made since Day 1 to the elephant graveyard. And hey, if you're not going to take our word for it, just ask Jet Li.
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