Disney is getting better at live-action adaptations — slightly.

That may seem strange to say about a powerhouse studio that has more than 80 years of hits under its belt and now owns a good deal of Hollywood’s overall output. But even with its storied history and its successful animated films as direct templates, it’s taken Disney three tries in 2019 to produce a live-action remake that doesn’t feel like a half-baked bad idea in search of a paycheck.

To be fair, 2019’s remake of The Lion King surpasses watchable. It’s gorgeous to look at in the same way a sleek piece of technology — like a new iPhone or a compact, microthin laptop — is also beautiful to the eye. The tech team that director Jon Favreau employed to create his talking, singing, photorealistic lions and sweeping African landscapes offers audiences something completely new to watch. Every piece of grass, huffed animal breath, and footprint in the sand is rendered perfectly. The CGI level is a technological leap forward for film akin to what we saw in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018 or Avatar in 2009.

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