I don't remember how I felt about The Lion King as a kid, so I wasn't expecting much going into this movie. My expectations were equal to that of Aladdin - could not have been any lower. Unfortunately, it did not surpass them like Aladdin did.
First things first, this movie is GORGEOUS!!!!!! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! It is like watching a nature documentary with THE MOST BEAUTIFUL animals!!!!!!! I had literal chills!!! All the baby rhinos, elephants, hippos, zebras, giraffes, and cheetahs are SO CUTE!
Then these adorable animals start talking and it’s like… ??? Look who’s talking now. They seem off and it’s even weirder that not all of the animals can talk. Even worse is that the words don't match up with the animals’ faces. Aside from a few, like James Earl Jones as Mufasa, the voices do not fit the animals speaking or match their mouth movements. On top of that mess, it is obvious the film recruited celebrities to do the voices. Except for a few performances, I could not disconnect the characters from their actors. Try as I might, I could not separate Zazu from John Oliver. It was like John Oliver was trapped in a bird and screaming to get out. Maybe the characters shouldn’t have spoken in the first place and it had just been a visual film with music to sing-along to and cry to, instead of anthropomorphic animals.
The thing Disney can't get right with these live action remakes is the villains. They keep missing the mark when it comes to them. The live action The Lion King may not have changed Scar’s character, but it did highlight his worst qualities. I forking HATE Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor)! He is a straight up evil murderer, which officially makes him THE WORST Disney villain!!!!!! He has zero redeeming qualities.
Scar wants to be king. He lost the role to his older brother, Mufasa, and now his new nephew, Simba (JD McCrary), has pushed him back to third in line. Scar does not want to be given orders by anyone, especially not a child. He figures if he can get rid of Simba, he’ll at least be back to where he started. He tricks Simba into going to the elephant graveyard, knowing that just by telling him about it will make him curious enough to go where the ugly hyenas (Keegan-Michael Key, Eric André, and Florence Kasumba) will see him as a delicious snack. Uh oh! Fortunately, for Simba, his father saves him. Knowing what eventually happens to Simba’s dad makes this movie hard to watch. All their scenes, like Simba literally walking in his father's footsteps, are so much sadder.
Seeing as how his plan didn’t work, Scar figures he’ll just have to get rid of both Mufasa and Simba for the price of one. If he can get rid of Mufasa, there will be no one around to protect Simba, and then he can take the throne. Scar tells the hyenas to be prepared to be in power soon. No, he doesn’t sing “Be Prepared.” If anything, he chants it.
“Be Prepared” is supposed to be one of the most powerful Disney villain anthems of all time. To say this scene was a disappointment would be an understatement. I HATED "Be Prepared"! I loved most of the movie, but NOT that song! No! No! No! No!!! No!!! No!!! NO!
Scar takes Simba down into a gorge to work on his adorable roar and leaves him alone right before a stampede of wildebeest rush toward him. Scar races to tell Mufasa that Simba is in danger and Simba’s daddy goes as quickly as he can. Mufasa successfully saves Simba, but now he is trapped in the gorge with the stampede. Mufasa tries his hardest to scale up a cliff to safety, but at the top sits Scar. Mufasa begs his brother to pull him up, but instead Scar pushes him off the cliff to be trampled by the stampede. I can't watch!
Even though I know what happens, no matter how many times I watch this scene, I hope the story changes and spares Mufasa. I beg and plead that he doesn’t die, but my wish never comes true. Simba curls up with his dead dad’s body and cries. I’m crying too! Actually crying, wet eyes and all. Goodbye Mufasa.
Scar comes down off the cliff and blames Simba, a child, for his father’s death. How can he blame a child for his father’s death?! That’s a special kind of sick! Scar is going to hell for that for sure! Scar then tells Simba to run away from home and never come back, leaving him as ruler of Pride Rock. Scar tells the rest of the lions he “MUST” take the throne after Mufasa’s death and Simba’s disappearance. He must! Scar is so full of shirt! Poor Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph). Poor everyone.
Simba hurts my heart. Vultures circle over his "dead" body until Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) save his life by scaring them off. Aww. When Timon and Pumbaa come across the little lion’s body, they’re hesitant to approach the “furry bird,” or at least Timon is. Pumbaa wants to keep him, but Timon keeps saying “it gets bigger” and Pumbaa will be its “little mess!" Eventually Timon caves and says yes; of course they can keep him. Timon and Pumbaa raise Simba and teach him the Hakuna Matata way, or how to “turn the what into so what." They teach Simba how to live off the land, instead of eating them or zebra.
Meanwhile, back at Pride Rock, with Scar as ruler, the pride lands are no longer beautiful. Selfish Scar has killed everything! The whole place looks like the elephant graveyard. Scar and the hyenas have been eating everything in sight, including the antelope and gazelle. The rest of the lions eat after the hyenas, but they don’t leave much behind. Scar wants to make Mufasa’s widow, Sarabi (Alfre Woodard) his queen, but she refuses. Thus, he makes life an even bigger living hell for the rest of the lions. One night, Nala (Beyoncé) sneaks out to get help.
Years have passed and no one has ever even looked for Simba. He is now a full grown, GORGEOUS adult lion (Donald Glover)! His friends don’t want to hang out and play with him anymore, because they’re scared of him. Simba’s life is so heart breaking in every scene! I’m literally crying! The other animals do hang out with Timon and Pumbaa though. One day, when Timon and Pumbaa are relaxing and singing with the other animals in the oasis, a lion chases them. A real lion! My heart is racing! OH MY JESUS! Pumbaa thought he was dead and I did too! What fun. All I could think was, “Pumbaa, fart to make it go away!” Eventually, Simba breaks up the scuffle. When the other lion recognizes Simba, it stops. Simba realizes this lion is Nala. NALA?! Girl is scary! How Simba and Nala recognize each other instantly after all these years, I do not know. To rub salt in the wound, Simba introduces her as his best friend. "Best friend?” asks Timon. “That hurts." It’s not like Timon and Pumbaa have lived with Simba for years!
After everything calms down and I catch my breath, I realize Seth Rogen running through the jungle is THE BEST scene in the entire movie! I was laughing out loud the entire time!
TIMON AND PUMBAA ARE THE FORKING BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only are my boys the best characters and the best part of the whole movie, but they have the best relationship. Timon is always there for beautiful baby Pumbaa because, as he says, “his problems are my problems."
Timon and Pumbaa seem to be the most improvised! It’s as if they only kept every classic line and then made everything else their own.
It’d be an understatement to say I was most nervous about Billy Eichner portraying Timon in this movie! Timon is my favorite Disney character of all time! Meerkats are my favorite animal because of Timon! A lot was riding on this one performance! It fills my heart with endless glee to not only declare Timon is still my favorite character, but that Billy Eichner deserves an Oscar for how he portrayed Timon in this movie!!!!!!!! Yes, I still LOVE Timon!!!!! He is still the best!
The Lion King went downhill after that for me. The movie peaked when Nala almost killed Timon and Pumbaa. After that, I lost my focus.
The Lion King is a REALLY LONG movie!!!!!!!!!! It’s 30 minutes longer than the original and those 30 minutes are felt! That last half hour was BORING!
In Nala’s eyes, Simba is alive, which means there is hope. She tries to talk him into returning to Pride Rock and taking his rightful place as ruler, telling him he’s not like Scar. Eventually, Simba, son of Mufasa, comes to terms with himself and what he has to do – defeat Scar. With no goodbye, Simba leaves Timon and Pumbaa and heads back to Pride Rock! WTF?! I'm starting to think Disney has no problem with leaving behind friends you spent most of your life with. WTF?! Eventually Timon and Pumbaa do catch up with Simba, equally upset that he left without a word.
Distracting the hyenas so Simba can get to Mufasa, Pumbaa offers himself up as a tasty treat. Instead of Timon doing the hula, he and Pumbaa perform “Be Our Guest.” Really?!
For the first time in years, Simba sees his mommy! Scar is going to hurt her, until Simba shows up and orders him to "get away from my mother!" All of the lions, including his mom, are shocked to find out he’s alive! Scar reveals why Simba really ran away (he did nothing, you...) but the rest of the lions read Scar for the murderer he really is!!!!!! Lightning strikes and causes a brushfire in the dry lands Scar has created!!!! Simba chases cowardly Scar through their burning home! The lions fight, resulting in Scar falling into the fire! Woah! If that didn't kill him, the hyenas surely did.
The movie ends with Simba married to the brave and smart Nala and they have a beautiful daughter together.
All I can really say about The Lion King is that it starts FANTASTIC and then goes downhill fast. I CRIED during the opening scene, actually cried, from the very first second of the presentation of Simba!!!! Rafiki (John Kani) carrying Simba as Zazu flies by?! Aww. Literal baby Simba is the best! He is adorable and just gets cuter with age! Like I said, the animals and visuals are the highlight of this movie. Unfortunately, the plot is where it gets boring fast and just kind of drags on until you can’t wait for it to be over. Sadly, this movie didn't live up to what it could have been. I literally cannot remember a single thing that happened in this movie. I don’t remember how I felt about the original The Lion King, but I doubt it was like this. Maybe I just need to watch the 1994 version again, because the only thing I want to rewatch from this movie are all of Timon and Pumbaa’s scenes.
In the comments down below, let me know what you thought of The Lion King and if you agree or disagree with my assessment.
- Zazu: Two giraffes were caught necking.
- Zazu: Cheetahs never prosper.
- Zazu: Just the news.
- Simba: I could eat a whole zebra. Timon: We're all out of zebra.
- Pumbaa: They're local… They're from right there.
- Timon: It's our signature song.
- Timon: Now he's riffing.
- Timon: Why is everything always gas?
- Timon: What did you say to him?
- Timon: Maybe it curves a little bit.
- Timon: I'm happy to admit when Pumbaa's wrong.
- Timon: A bit much carcass.
- Pumbaa: Why is everyone looking at me?
- Pumbaa: I will not be made to feel ashamed of who I am.
- Pumbaa: I will always fight a bully.
- Simba: I'm not above anyone.