A lot of awful stuff happens on or because of the Internet, so it’s nice when something wholesome comes out of the connections people make online. Case in point: a brand-new, fan-made trailer for The Lion King, the result of a collaboration between two different artists posting their work online.
The new video was inspired by the efforts of Nikolay Mochkin (ellejart on Instagram), the artist who created mash-ups of the new, photorealistic Lion King characters and the original cartoon versions. Mochkin was addressing a common complaint raised by fans and critics alike, that for all of its technical impressiveness the new “live-action” film lacks the emotional expressiveness afforded by the cartoon characters.
Mochkin’s still images were great, but it’s hard for a picture to compete with a moving picture. Enter Jonty Pressinger (jonty_pressinger on Instagram). Pressinger saw Mochkin’s work and decided to use his own skills as an animator to make an 18-second video utilizing Mochkin’s images with a technique commonly known as “deep faking.”
“Deep fakes” have a rightfully earned reputation as a tool for seedy pornographers and dishonest political agitators. It’s nice to see them used for good, and the final product of this collaboration is definitely impressive.
But the best part of this story, besides seeing what might have been if the filmmakers behind the new movie had hewed more to the look of the original, is how excited the artists are to collaborate and promote each other’s work, which each separately called “amazing.”