Is The Lion King Any Good?

In & Out is W*'s guide to what's hot and what's not each week. Subscribe here and stay up to date by getting the newsletter delivered early to your inbox each week.*

"You can't make people love you, but you can make them fear you."—Blair Waldorf

You have to hand it to the Emmy nominators. They’re tasked with wading through the avalanche of prestige TV and picking the very best. Unlike us at home when we get Netflix choice paralysis, they can’t just decide to zone out and binge Vanderpump Rules instead. So this year’s class of nominees, while pretty solid and arguably more star-studded than any recent Oscars, has some notable snubs. For one, literal Hollywood icon Julia Roberts went unrecognized for her work in Homecoming, despite strong reviews, good fan buzz, and a Golden Globes nomination. It was the same for George Clooney, who wasn't nominated for his work as both an actor and producer on Catch-22. Cate Blanchett couldn’t even catch a Guest Actress nod for her work satirizing Marina Abramovic on Documentary Now. In their place, though, were a few pleasant surprises. The cult sensation Schitt’s Creek shocked everyone with three major nominations. Faves like Mandy Moore and Christina Applegate got unexpected nominations, and Beyoncé’s Netflix special, also titled Homecoming, received six nominations, including three for Beyoncé (yes, she’s an award-nominated director now, thank you). For more of the biggest snubs and surprises click here, and then check out many of the nominees as they’ve appeared in the pages of W through the years.

Gossip Girl premiered back in 2007. George W. Bush was in office. The full effects of the housing market crash hadn’t been totally felt. People were wearing things like Ugg boots, oversized sunglasses, and those silk camisole tops that look like lingerie. It was a different time. Yet the popularity of Gossip Girl persists. After all, it hinted at the dark side of social media before most media had even expanded to smartphones, took *Sex and the City’*s mantle as the most important fashion show on television, and found a way to juicily satirize the rich amid a financial crisis without making the characters too alienating (they were just teens). But would the show still work today? Well, HBO Max (the upcoming streaming service from WarnerMedia) is going to try it. Yes, Gossip Girl is getting a reboot, with a new cast of jaded teens, and we’re sure that with the passage of time and the freedom brought by streaming, this class of private-schools kids will find a way to be even more scandalous. An onscreen threesome caused quite the commotion during the original run. What should we expect now? Teen TV’s first polyamorous relationship? I guess we’ll all find out next year, as the series has been ordered straight to series with a commitment for 10 episodes.

If nothing else, Disney’s efforts to remake its treasured animated back catalog into big-budget live-action spectaculars makes business sense, to the point that stockholders would be perturbed if the company didn’t try. Making blockbusters out of beloved existing intellectual property, as anyone who has so much as looked at movie listing times over the past decade knows, is all the rage. Though in Disney’s case, many of its most beloved animated classics are based on public domain fairy tales and stories. Meaning that other studios are free to swoop in and make their own versions (anyone remember Snow White and the Huntsmen?), in many cases. It's better for Disney to do it than someone else.

However, while The Lion King is loosely based on Hamlet, the original film was unique enough that we doubt anyone will be making a tragedy starring CGI lions anytime soon. Which is to say, Disney didn’t have to do this.

Ahead of the remake's premiere on Friday, critics are pretty polarized when it comes to whether or not the company should have.

In one camp, there are critics like IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, who writes that the creepy “uncanny valley” quality of the CGI work saps the film of the fun the original had, and concludes, “It’s the work of a studio that’s gobbled up the rest of the film industry and is still hungry for more. The Lion King feels less like a remake than a snuff film, and a boring one at that.” In the other camp, there are critics like Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post, who writes that while the film misses some of the cartoon fun of the original, it plays up its Shakespearean roots and is all the better for it. Whatever the case, it’s still expected to make tons of money over the weekend.

Oh, also, just to prepare you: Beyoncé is not going to be in nearly as much as you'd expect, even if she is angling to take home an Oscar for Best Original Song.

There’s not much else new in the theaters this weekend, or on television, for that matter. The most notable thing on your small screens? The Big Little Lies finale.


When you're Elizabeth Hurley's offspring, you're bound to catch the eye of the fashion world. Damian Hurley, Liz's son with her former boyfriend the billionaire Steven Bing, just made his modeling campaign debut with a very hair-rising turn in ads for Pat McGrath's skincare line.

Source: Read Full Article