I view this the way I view nuclear proliferation — depressing, destructive, yet inevitable once the technology was mastered. Is it good for American culture to have Hollywood forever cannibalizing its own work product, then barfing it up and recannibalizing the remains, ad nauseam? No, it is not. Is it inevitable? Well, yes, particularly with beloved films geared mainly at children.
The amazing thing about this new trailer isn’t the FX. They’re great, yadda yadda, but we’ve spent decades coming to grips with the fact that the film industry can now create virtually any illusion on film. We can’t be more than a decade or two away from CGI becoming completely “invisible” and special effects reaching the stage where they really are indistinguishable in all respects from observed reality. What’s truly amazing about this remake is that it may be the most universally appealing film ever created. Literally everyone, of every age, in every demographic is part of the target audience. If you’re a kid, you’ll want to see it. If you were a kid when “The Lion King” came out, you’ll want to see it with your own kid. Grandma and grandpa will want to see it too, having taken you to see it 25 years ago and enjoyed it themselves. Singles and teens will be intrigued by the buzz and curious to find out what Disney can do in 2018 to make an all-animal fairy tale look real. And on top of all of that, A-listers like Donald Glover and Beyonce are doing the voices to boost promotion.
This is, in short, arguably the shrewdest moneymaking gimmick ever concocted by Hollywood. How could they not do it? It was a billion dollars in the bank the moment it was proposed. They’ve got a classic script and 88 minutes of “storyboards” already on the shelf, ready for use. In fact, the trailer you’re about to watch is almost a shot-for-shot re-creation of the original.
I hope it’s as great as everyone is expecting. Because after this breaks the bank, the future of film will be photorealistic reboots of Pixar films like “Toy Story” and “Wall-E” all the way down. As with nuclear proliferation, the endgame here is total destruction. You maniacs, you blew it up. Damn you all to hell!