Hello & welcome back to Pride Rock and we continue my birthday celebration by reviewing one of the biggest animated hits that Disney has ever produced . With that out of the way, it is time to take a look at The Lion King.
Man, that trailer screams ’90s Disney. Giving you every detail and that narrator did the voice over for every ’90s Disney trailer that I can think of.
Now, The Lion King has been called Hamlet with African cats in the past before and while that is one Shakespeare play I am not familiar with, I have looked it up in the past and do see where they drew inspiration but I believe that the film stands well enough on it’s own to be enjoyed, if you don’t know Hamlet.
As for it’s *ahem* supposed other influence, Kimba The White Lion. I can’t comment on if The Lion King did steal from that anime because I’ve never seen it before.
We open as we see animals coming from near and fear to celebrate the birth of baby Simba. All the animals of the jungle are there, well save for one. As we soon find out that Scar, uncle of the future king was not in attendance.
And I remember the first time I saw this in the theater, and I saw it cut to the the title screen. I thought the movie was over.
In my defense, I was only five years old and didn’t know how movies worked. Granted, my mom and my grandmother had a hard time getting me in the theater as I was overwhelmed by the amount of people there as this was one of the first movies I saw in a theater. I was a little scared of the prospect but I wanted to see this movie so badly. Anyways getting back to the review at hand, we soon cut to some years later, where Simba has grown into a young cub and see him waking his father as he is excited about spending time with his dad (well, your dad is voiced by James Earl Jones, I can’t blame you), where Mufasa teaches his young son, what it means to be a king and that everything the light touches will be his one day.
Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom. Young Simba: Wow. Mufasa: A king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king. Young Simba: And this’ll all be mine? Mufasa: Everything. Young Simba: Everything the light touches…
We later see Scar trick Simba into going to the Elephant Graveyard and he takes his best friend Nala with him but their moms force them to go with Zazu, the royal adviser to Mufasa. Adviser, didn’t I cover one of those last year?
Oh, right! Yeah, I actually think the more apt title is steward. So anyways, they need a distraction and well, we get a rather colorful one to boot.
When our two cubs arrive at the Elephant Graveyard, they soon run into trouble as they are attacked by the three hyenas and well, it doesn’t end well for those three as it’s Mufasa to the rescue.
That night after things not going his way, Scar and the hyenas plot to kill Mufasa and Simba. We see them the next day put this plan into motion with one of the most iconic moments from the movie. The wildebeest stampede.
Looking back, it isÂ a bit silly to single this out as an iconic moment of the movie because just about every scene in the movie is iconic. But man, if this scene isn’t intense and gripping. Mufasa is able to save his son’s life but it comes at a price as he is killed at the hands (or would it be paws) of his own brother.
Scar convinces his young nephew that the death of his father was his fault and to run away and never come back. After running for so long and fainting from exhaustion, Simba is discovered by a warthog and a meerkat.
And they teach him their lifestyle and the ways of Hakuna Matata. I love this sequence as you see these three bonding and I’m quite fond of the log sequence as I love it showing Simba age over time. To me, that is just a great way to show a character aging.
After some time living the bachelor life with his two best buds, Simba’s old childhood friend rediscovers him after he saves Timon and Pumbaa from being eaten by Nala. Nala wants Simba to return home as he sees the king that she knows he is and that the Pride Lands need their rightful ruler but Simba is too ashamed over his father’s death to go back home.
It takes some urging from meeting a crazy old mandrill, (that I remember my sister would make me laugh because she called him blue butt. Again, I was a little kid and butt jokes were funny). And here, we get one of the most poignant scenes as Mufasa comes back to remind his son, who he is.
Yeah, that scene. Boy, there are no words to properly describe the weight of this scene. It is here that we see Simba make the decision to return home. Timon, Pumbaa and Nala soon join him as we see what has become of the once great kingdom.
Yeah, things have gone to ruin. This leads into a great fight.
Oh, sorry not that one. (Fun fact: in The Lion King 1 1/2 video game, doing the hula was Timon’s special move). I meant this one.
Yeah, this fight is all kinds of epic especially when Scar admits the truth that he killed Mufasa and Scar being the coward that he is puts the blame on the hyenas and says that they were the real enimines and as one can imagine, they don’t take too kindly to this. Scar’s former lackeys turn on him and tear him apart limb from limb.
With Scar defeated and the hyenas having been run out of Pride Rock, Simba takes his place as the rightful king. And some time later, we see Rafiki presenting his and Nala’s newborn cub, who is either a boy or a girl depending if you go by the book I reviewed last week or the sequel. Disney goes by the latter but some fans do not. Anyways, this shows that the Circle of Life goes on. I love this movie, while not in my top 10, this movie is still a blast and would certainly be in my top 20. This is one Disney movie that has so many memories attached to it for me that I just love it.
Young Simba voiced by Johnathan Taylor Thomas, Singing Voice: Jason Weaver.
I remember as a kid, I liked Simba better as a kid and thought he got boring as an adult. Heck, I even had a cub Simba plushie and my sister had Nala. My opinions have changed over time but I still do like Young Simba but man, casting Johnathan Taylor Thomas in this role just screams ’90s because this movie came out when Home Improvement was hugely popular. But even still, he did good with the role and as for young Simba’s singing voice, I am probably one of the few people that did not pick up on the fact that it was someone else doing the singing for Simba as a cub.
Adult Simba voiced by Matthew Broderick, Singing Voice: Joesph Williams
Now, I already went over my feelings on Simba last week as I did an entire article on his character and why he’s such as great hero but to repeat his journey is interesting to me because of his past and how he is trying to run from it but it eventually catches up to him. One thing that confused me is that I was surprised to see that Matthew Broderick didn’t doing Simba’s singing as he is known for Broadway and has done singing in the past before. My best guess is his singing voice didn’t fit what they wanted with Simba’s singing voice.
Mufasa voiced by James Earl Jones
Yeah, this character is all kinds of awesome. Easily, one of the best dad characters ever from Disney and it’s not hard to see why so many love him. Just something about the way he loves and protects Simba and gives him wise advice, you feel as though, you are getting the advice yourself.
Young Nala voiced by Niketa Calame, Singing Voice: Laura Williams
As a kid, there really isn’t all that much to Nala. Other than just being Simba’s friend. I mean, you get some hints of character but she really doesn’t do all that much.
Adult Nala voiced by Moira Kelly, Singing Voice: Sally Dworsky
In many respects, Nala is an adult is a bit better than the child counterpart as she is more active in the story as it is she that goes out searching for help and she is the one that convinces Simba to come home to Pride Rock.
Zazu voiced by Rowan Atkinson
In some respects, Zazu is our comic relief character before Timon & Pumbaa show up in the movie. He is more of the uptight stiff British butler that has to keep everything in check. Which contrasts nicely with the laid back nature of Timon & Pumbaa’s lifestyle.
Timon & Pumbaa voiced by Nathan Lane & Ernie Sabella
I love these two, I loved them the first time I saw the movie when I was 5, and I still love them at 26. To me, these two rank as some of the funniest characters from Disney ever. It’s hard to explain what makes their comedy work so well because you need to watch to truly appreciate how funny these two can be in the movie. These two are just so much fun and easily the best paring from Disney every of a duo.
Rafiki voiced by Robery Guillaume
Y’know I forgot how little of the movie Rafiki was actually in before watching it again. Having said, while his screen time may be limited, you feel his presence because while he may be a crazy old baboon, he does offer sage words of advice that are good to heed.
The Circle of Life
Man, this song sends chills up my body. This is such a fantastic way to open this movie as it lets you know that you are in for something special.
I Just Can’t Wait To Be King
Yeah, this song is all kinds of fun. You can just feel all much Simba wants the future to come sooner and be king and also this is one time, where seeing a character in pain is actually funny. I still do feel bad for Zazu but it’s still pretty funny.
I don’t really have too much to say on this song as I already went over last Monday but again, this song is a lot of fun and just really gets to the meat of who Scar is and what he wants. You just hear the pompous and arrogance oozing out of Scar as he sings this.
I LOVE this song, I’ve always loved this song and can listen to it even without the movie. Some people have taken the issue with what the song is about. I even foolishly years back did an article on how this song wasn’t a good message. I wasn’t thinking clearly but growing older and perhaps wiser, I know that song is just meant to be fun and that’s what it is.
Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
There isn’t really too much more I can say on this as I did an entire Music Fridays on this song. I still enjoy it and think that it is one of the best romance songs from Disney and I love exploring the inner thoughts of our two characters here as we hear what they are afraid to say.
Shezi,Banzai, & Ed voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, & Jim Cummings
The Hyenas are some of the more interesting henchmen in my opinion, they may not appear to be the brightest characters at first sight but that is not true (unless you watch the cartoon, which turned them into complete morons). They are skillful, resourceful and cunning. It’s just that their adversaries tend to be better than them and have better luck.
Scar voiced by Jeremy Irons, saved for one of Be Prepared where Jim Cummings took over
As I went over in his Villains Profile, Scar is a great villain and his whole arc is about getting what he wants and just being so bad at being king. It’s as The Second Opinion said.
Those who want power the most are usually the worst with it, after all.
Scar has no clue what to do with all this power because he’s never been in this kind of position before, where he was in control. Besides that, he’s also ruthless, cunning, and heck do I need to mention how driven he is to get what he wants.
My Final Thoughts
I love this movie, this movie is awesome. The short of it is that this movie is great. There is nothing more that I can say about it. Join me tomorrow as we look back at something that isn’t as great as I remembered as I go over why Timon & Pumbaa: The Series has not aged well.