MOVIE REVIEWS | I am Simba, hear me roar!

Disney has been steadily going through its back catalogue and releasing live-action versions of its classics for the past few years.

From Maleficent to Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast to Aladdin, the reinvented films have been money-spinners for the juggernaut studio.

But in each of those past adaptations, there's been room to improve on the story, bring it into the 21st century and give it a modern edge (whether successfully or not is another story).

But where do you go with The Lion King? The 1994 original is perfect and you can't get real lions, warthogs and meerkats to hang out together and sing.

Well, it seems the answer is change as little as possible and use the absolute best animation technology available to deliver photo-real creatures of the Pridelands.

Director Jon Favreau, who also did Disney's remake of The Jungle Book to great acclaim, has opted to pretty much remake the original shot for shot, even keeping lots of the original dialogue.

This isn't actually a bad thing -- the 1994 movie was so good and holds such an important place in people's hearts that any attempt to change it would've been met with great disappointment.

The changes are few and far between. The Nazi overtones of Scar's Be Prepared song are gone (probably for the best) and Timon loses the coconut bra and hula skirt in favour of another Disney callback (again, solid move).

Nala's character is beefed up a bit, another positive move, though a new song from Beyonce (who voices Nala) has been included which is perhaps the worst decision in the film. It feels out of place, seemingly there just to make use of Queen Bey's pipes.

Donald Glover is great as Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor brings a new level of malice to Scar and John Oliver is a wonderful Zazu.

Mufasa's voice could never be improved on, so it's fantastic that James Earl Jones, the unquestioned voice of authority, was happy to return as the brilliant king. Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner are scene-stealers as Timon and Pumbaa.

The animation is mind-bogglingly good. It's so rich and beautiful.

RATING: 8/10