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Deepfakes Have Fixed the New 'Lion King'

By Petr Knava | Social Media | August 15, 2019 |

By Petr Knava | Social Media | August 15, 2019 |


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I don’t really have a horse in the ‘does the new Lion King movie look good or not’ race. I do care in a more abstract sort of way—because I care about aesthetics in general, and about wider movie industry implications or trends; but I don’t have anywhere near the same visceral, emotional reaction that some fans have had to the updated look of this year’s Disney remake. That reaction has been anything but monolithic, mind you, and plenty of people have been voicing their support for the photorealistic CGI on display just as many fans have been expressing their disdain for the new look. That’s bound to happen for a movie as deeply beloved and culturally embedded as the original Lion King.

Me, I’ve never seen the original. I know plenty some stuff about it. I know there’s a lion bloke called Simba who’s a little fella at first and then his dad gets killed by Jeremy Lions and then something something something Hakuna Matata something something something stampede something something something lion sex eyes something something something Simba eventually rules as unelected monarch over hordes of animals that his many wives are destined to hunt down and asphyxiate? But I’ve never actually seen the movie.

So yeah, the Lion King is not exactly in my wheelhouse. Neither is Disney, really. I’m just not that interested. Never have been. Well I guess I am interested a bit, in that sort of way you might be interested in some really dark clouds building on the horizon—like, yeah, I’m just trying to go about my day, but those things look like they might spell trouble for me and a whole lot of other people in a little while, so I should probably keep at least one eye on them.

I have a similar attitude to these damn deepfakes. I know we’re all sick of ‘em. I know, I know, I hear you. I justified posting about them last time because of exactly this ‘it might be good to keep an eye on this’ philosophy, and I meant it, but still—I know it’s probably a bit too much now. I promise this will be the last time for a little while at least. After this, I’ll take a deepfake break. But this one, by YouTuber ontyj, is more than a little bit interesting to me:

At least that’s a little bit more artful than most of them, right? Rather than just being impressive in the ‘holy crap the techpocalypse is upon us, how can I pledge allegiance to the machines early on to ensure better treatment once the new regime is established?’ sorta way.

‘Impressive’ being incidentally the word that I find myself ascribing to the new Lion King above all others. In both positive and negative ways. It’s impressive tech, for sure. Curiously, more than anything else, the main effect that seeing it in action in trailers and clips has had on me is it’s made me actually want to see the original Lion King.

I’ll probably have plenty of chances to do that once Disney disappear both ontyj and me into Level 6 of the Happiest Dungeon on Earth, in preparation for the decade-long re-education camp.



Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.




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