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Early 'Lion King' Reviews Say the Horrifying New Timon and Pumbaa 'Steal the Show'

They may be hyperreal CG monstrosities, but they're also... really funny?

by River Donaghey
11 July 2019, 9:45am

screenshot via trailer

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Back in April, Disney dropped the first trailer for The Lion King, the latest animated classic to get the kind-of-live-action-but-actually-just-CGI remake treatment, and it was just about exactly what you'd expect. There were a few "a wimba ways," some James Earl Jones narration, and a bunch of nods to the original. But right at the tail end of the trailer, we got an unwelcome surprise: a terrifying new version of Timon and Pumbaa!

The original Timon and Pumbaa were a pair of delightful cartoons who inspired an entire generation of children to secretly long to eat grubs. This new Timon and Pumbaa are, uh, a little different. They're hyperrealistic, complete with dirty tusks and eye boogers and razor-sharp meerkat teeth, and left everybody thinking why, oh why, did Disney have to go and pull a Genie on these two, too?

Well, worry not, everybody; somehow, it sounds like this isn't as bad as we all initially thought. The duo may look like hairy, beady-eyed monstrosities now, but according to the glowing reviews coming out of The Lion King's early screenings, they're also, uh, highlights of the film?

Yes, it's true. It sounds like somehow, inexplicably, Disney has managed to pull this one off. Pumbaa the warthog may look way too warthog-y, but he's still got the jokes, apparently. The other early reactions praise the remakes' visuals and voicework, which isn't exactly surprising, given that it features everyone from Beyoncé to Donald Glover to Seth Rogen to Keegan Michael-Key. It looks like director Jon Favreau has been able to repeat the success of The Jungle Book once again, even down to the grotesque digitally rendered animals.

The Lion King is set to hit theaters July 18, so we'll have to wait another week until we get to see Pumbaa's wrinkled warthog eyes on the big screen. Enjoy!