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The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride

This review was requested by UberChimerism from deviantART

My all time favorite Disney movie is The Lion King.  I love the story, the art, the voice acting, the songs, and I love the music and lighting.  I love everything about it.  But what about the sequel, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride?  Well, it’s funny, because in my opinion, as a Disney sequel it’s not all that bad.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of stuff about it that’s terrible, and we’ll get to that, but overall, I don’t think it’s awful.  I would say that out of all the Disney sequels made, besides The Rescuers Down Under (which will always be the best Disney sequel), it’s one of the better ones.  For me, it’s right in the middle.  It’s not amazing like The Secret of NIMH, nor is it a disaster like The Secret of NIMH 2.  It’s just alright.  Why do I say that?  Well, let’s take a look at it.

My Experience With The Lion King 2

I’ll never forget the first time I ever saw The Lion King.  It was 1994, and I was nine-years-old.  I missed seeing it in the theaters (which I regret to this day), but the day it came out on video (this is back when VHS was still the way to go), we rented it from our local video store and sat down as a family to watch the newest Disney film that was the hype of the year.  I fell in love with it; it was amazing.  And when it ended with Rafiki holding up Simba and Nala’s own child for the entire animal kingdom to see, it cut to black and the logo of the movie popped up.  And in my nine-year-old mind I thought, “Disney always puts ‘The End’ at the end of their movies.  There’s no ‘The End’…there’s going to be a sequel!”  So, in my childlike logic, it made sense that there would be a sequel made, just because there was no “The End” at the end of the movie.  As it turns out…I was right.

In 1998, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride was announced and hyped.  It was a direct to video sequel, but it had a lot of advertisement.  Including clips and songs from the new movie in other Disney movies and television shows.  When it was released, I, now thirteen, rented it, watched it, and liked it.  Mind you, I did not love it like I did with the original, but I liked it enough to consider it a good enough movie to view more than once.

Surviving the Disney Sequel Curse

Disney is notorious for making horrible sequels.  Like I said, the few exceptions are The Rescuers Down Under, and The Lion King 2.  Not only known for making bad sequels, but making them so long after the originals came out that no one cares anymore.  For example:

  • The Lady and the Tramp was released in 1955, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure was released in 2001.  That’s a gap of 46 years!
  • Bambi was released in 1942, Bambi II was released in 2006.  That’s a gap of 64 years!
  • Cinderella was released in 1950, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True was released in 2002.  That’s a gap of 52 years!
  • The Fox and the Hound was released in 1981, The Fox and the Hound 2 was released in 2006.  That’s a gap of 25 years!
  • Peter Pan was released in 1953, Return to Never Land was released in 2002.  That’s a gap of 49 years!

There are Disney sequels that have come out closer to the originals’ release date, but most have large gaps.  However, The Lion King was released in 1994, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride was released in 1998.  That’s a gap of only 4 years!  Well within the acceptable “It’s okay to make a sequel” time.  I give The Lion King 2 credit for surviving the Disney sequel curse.

All that being said, let’s dive into this review.  I’ll tell the story of the movie, then my thoughts on it afterward.

The Story

SPOILER WARNING!


Pride Rock

The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride is about Kiara, the daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala, and her coming of age, discovering love, and her attempt to unite the two lion prides of the Pride Lands and the Outlands.

The birth of Kiara

The story begins where the original left off, with the birth of Simba and Nala’s daughter, Kiara.  Her anointing ceremony is very much like Simba’s was, with Rafiki holding up the lioness cub so the animals of the kingdom can see her.  The spirit of Mufasa rains down sunlight to glow upon her as Simba and Nala look at her with pride.  Timon and Pumbaa talk about all the stuff they’re going to teach the “little guy”.  Rafiki informs to the surprised Timon and Pumbaa, that she is a girl.  The title screen is shown.

Kiara

Years later, when Kiara is a bit older, she is very much like Simba was when he was little; very curious and desires to explore the Pride Lands.  But Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick) is a bit over protective of her, and tells her to stay on the path he marked for her, and has Timon and Pumbaa (voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella) follow her to make sure she remains safe and out of trouble.  She is also told about the Outlands, an area of the kingdom she must never go, as that’s where the exiled lions who were loyal to Scar were banished to.  The Outlanders are not to be trusted, and one should never turn their back on them.

Pumbaa, Timon, and Kiara

When out playing, she discovers her father’s spies, and informs them that she’s only half a princess, and wants more out of life.  Timon and Pumbaa offer for her to eat with them, and as the two begin to argue over what kind of bugs taste better, she slips off into the Outlands to check it out.

Kiara and Kovu

When in the Outlands, she runs into another lion cub by the name of Kovu.  The two don’t trust each other, and Kiara immediately takes her father’s advice by not turning her back on him.  Kovu asks her what she’s doing.  She tells him, and he mocks her by saying that she always does what her daddy tells her to do.   Kovu announces that he, unlike her, doesn’t need anybody’s advice and that he takes care of himself.  They enter a river filled with crocodiles and are attacked.  Together the two cubs make it to safety in the Pride Lands where they exchange names.

Zira and Simba

The cubs don’t realize that Kovu’s mother, Zira (voiced by Suzanne Pleshette), is watching, and after Kiara and Kovu begin to play roughhouse, she steps out to defend her son.  But Simba, Nala (voiced by Moira Kelly), Timon, and Pumbaa arrive at the same time.  Simba tells them that they were exiled and are not allowed back in the Pride Lands.  Zira tells Simba that the land belongs to Scar, and that Kovu was hand chosen by Scar to take the throne one day.  But because of the law of the land, she offers for Simba to kill Kovu.  Unwilling to do so, Simba tells them to leave and never come back.  Kiara and Kovu whisper goodbye to each other as they’re taken away by their parents.

Simba Confronts Kiara

Simba confronts Kiara on disobeying him and endangering her life.  He informs her that she is the future queen and needs to be safe.  She announces that she doesn’t want to be queen, and Simba tells her that it’s in her blood, and they they are one, and that she will one day understand.

Vitani and Nuka

Meanwhile, in the Outlands, Kovu’s brother and sister, Nuka (voiced by Andy Dick) and Vitani are arguing about Kovu being missing.  Nuka is jealous of his brother and doesn’t understand why he’s “the chosen one” rather than him, because he’s older and stronger.  Nuka says that Kovu’s not even Scar’s son, that he was just taken in by Scar.

Zira and Kovu

Zira arrives and yells at Nuka and Vitani for not watching Kovu.  Kovu defends them by saying he ran off, and Zira scolds him for trying to get close to Simba through his daughter.  Then she realized that it’s a great idea.  So she informs Kovu that tomorrow his training to take over the Pride Lands will intensify, then sings about  her plans.

Rafiki

Rafiki is sitting in his tree talking to Mufasa, and telling him what’s been going on.  When the wind blows, Rafiki leans that Mufasa’s plan to bring Kiara and Kovu together.  Rafiki argues at first, but then gives in and is willing to go along with his old friend’s plan.

Older Kiara and her mother, Nala

Time passes and a much older Kiara is about to go on her first hunt, a kind of rite of passage.  She makes her father promise for her to do this on her own, which he does.  But Simba breaks his promise by having Timon and Pumbaa follow her again.  She’s having a hard time hunting as she always alerts the pray to her presence, and once she discovers Timon and Pumbaa tailing her again, she runs far from the Pride Lands to hunt on her own.

Older Kovu and his mother, Zira

Meanwhile, a much older Kovu is bread for combat and with a hatred for Simba, Scar’s Killer.  He repeats his mission to get close to Simba through his daughter and then kill him.  An older Vitani and Nuka, who is still jealous of his brother, get fire from the abandoned layer of the hyenas from the original movie so they can light the fields that Kiara is hunting in on fire.  They set the place ablaze and Zira commands Kovu to go and carry out the plan.

Kovu and Kiara Reunite

Kiara gets stuck in the fire and eventually passes out.  Kovu reaches her and carries her to the Pride Lands.  When she recovers, she doesn’t recognize her old friend.  She yells at him for bringing her back to her father’s land.  When she tries to leave, he blocks her path and asks her what she’s doing.  This sparks her memory and the two are reunited.

Kovu, Kiara, Nala, and Simba

Simba, seeing the smoke in the distance, goes out with some of his lionesses to rescue his daughter.  When he arrives on the scene, Kiara tells him that she’s okay and was rescued by Kovu.  Simba flips out at seeing Kovu again and wants to kill him.  But Kovu tells him that he left the Outsiders and is not with them.  And asks to be judged on who he is now and not by the crimes that he didn’t commit.  Zazu informs Simba that he is in Kovu’s debt and that Mufasa’s law was that all debts be paid.  Simba tells Kovu that he will reserve judgment for later and that he can join them.  That night, Simba has a dream of the death of his father by Scar’s hand.  But Scar turns into Kovu.

WTF? Did they just watch The Secret of NIMH 2 or something?!?

Kovu tells Kiara that she sucks as a hunter and she challenges him to teach her how to do it.  So the next day, Kovu misses a chance to kill Simba because Kiara wants to start the lessons.  Kovu tries to teach her, and soon they run into Timon and Pumbaa who, for once, are not following her.  They have a great time together chasing birds and being chased by rhinos.

Look at the Stars

That night, Kiara and Kovu lay in the grass and look at the stars.  Kiara tells him that she and her father used to do this all the time, and tells him about how he always said that the Great Kings of the Past are up there.  Kovu wonders out loud if Scar is up there with them.  He admits that even though Scar wasn’t his father, he felt apart of him.

Simba and Nala

Simba watches the two of them from afar, and wondering how he could trust him.  Nala arrives and tells him that Simba should give Kovu a chance.

Upendi...?

Later, Kovu, who now feels guilty about what he needs to do, tries to leave.  But is stopped by Rafiki, and the three of them…go…to…*sigh*…Upendi. (I’ll have a lot to say about this later…), where they finally fall in love with each other.

Zira and Older Vitani

When they return to Pride Rock, Simba allows Kovu to sleep in the den will the rest of the pride, a privilege that was denied to him earlier.  Vitani, watching from a distance, is angered by Kovu’s loss of a chance to kill Simba and returns to Zira to tell her.  She’s pissed by his betrayal and decides to take matters into her own hands.

Ambush!

The next morning Simba takes Nala’s advice and has a chat with Kovu.  They go for a walk and Simba tells Kovu what really happened with Scar, the side of the story Kovu never heard before.  But their walk is interrupted by an ambush by Zira and her pride, claiming that this was the plan all along.  After a brief fight, Simba escapes.  But Nuka, eager to prove himself to his mother, dies in the process.

Kovu: The New Scar

Zira blames Nuka’s death on Kovu, and strikes him, leaving a wound on his eye just like the one Scar had.

Exile!

Kovu, now rejected by his family, leaves them and returns to Pride Rock to explain what really happened and beg for forgiveness.  But Simba, who is not convinced, passes his judgment on the now scarred Kovu.  He exiles him from the Pride Lands, despite the pleads of Kiara.  As Kovu leaves, the animals of the kingdom sing about how Kovu is not one of them and that the evil inside of him is as plain as the scar on his face.

Love Will Find a Way

As he runs away, Simba forbids Kiara to leave Pride Rock.  But she sneaks out to find Kovu.  And as they sing about how love will find a way, they notice that in their reflections, half of their faces are missing.  After a long search, Kiara finds Kovu, and they see they their reflections form one face.  They are one.  Kovu suggests leaving forever and starting their own pride.  But Kiara says that they need to go back, because war is going to break out.  They need to stop it.

We Are One

A storm breaks out over the Pride Lands as Zira leads her pride in war against Simba and his pride.  A vicious battle breaks out.  But just as Zira and Simba personally face off, Kovu and Kiara get in the way.  Kiara tells her father, “A wise king once told me, we are one. I didn’t understand him before. Now I do.  Just look at them. They are us. What differences do you see?”

Pwned!

This seems to stay everyone’s hand but Zira’s, she commands Vitani to attack again, but she refuses, agreeing with Kiara and Kovu.  Zira tells her daughter that if she won’t fight, she’ll die too.  This is the final straw, and all of her lionesses join Simba’s side.  Zira attacks Simba, but Kiara pushes her out of the way.

"I tried."

The fall down a cliff to a flooded river.  Zira is hanging on the rock side (in classic Lion King style), with Kiara on the high ground.  She offers to help Zira up, but she refuses and falls to her death in the river.  Kiara is helped up by her father as she announces in a sad voice, “I tried.”

Okay, which one of you is Aslan? Oh wait...wrong story.

Now, back at Pride Rock, Kovu is accepted by Simba, and marries Kiara.  All the lionesses of both prides, now united as one, bow to Simba, Nala, Kovu and Kiara as they walk to the edge of Pride Rock.  The four of them have a nice roar together.

"Well done, my son."

The movie ends as Simba looks up at the sky and hears the voice of Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) saying, “Well done, my son.  We are one.”

The Pros

Like I said in my introduction, I like this movie.  It’s not perfect, nor do I think it’s better then the original, but I do think that it’s a fairly good sequel that has a lot to offer.  In fact, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave The Lion King 2 two thumbs up, and said that it was a “satisfactory sequel to one of the most popular films of all time, The Lion King.”  So here is the list of reasons why I think The Lion King 2 is a better-than-most sequel.

1. The animation is amazing!  This sequel looks and feels, in an animation sense, like the original movie does.  The characters look the same, the lighting and shadow are the same, and stuff still blows in the wind!  If you look at The Lion King and The Lion King 2 back to back you’ll see that the animation is the same, if not then extremely similar.  It’s looks just as beautiful as the original movie does.

2. It picks up where the original left off.  I think a lot of sequels have too much time passing between the events from the first movie and the events of the second movie.  Characters are older and we don’t know them as much anymore.  But this movie begins exactly where the first one ended.  You can watch the two movies one right after the other and you get one complete story with no break or separation.

3. The voice acting is fantastic.  Think what you will about Matthew Broderick (he’s awful!), but he’s great as Simba.  I think his voice just fits.  But that’s not what I really want to talk about.  Not counting the voice actors for the new characters unique to this film, almost all of the voice actors from the original movie have returned for the sequel.  As far as I can tell, the man who voiced Zazu in the original movie, Rowan Atkinson, was the only person from the original cast that did not return to do The Lion King 2.  Even James Earl Jones reprise his role as Mufasa.

Messiah Mufasa

4. Simba is an over protective father.  This makes sense with his character.  He knows what he was like when he was a cub, and he sees himself in Kiara, so naturally he would want to make sure she didn’t fall into trouble the way he did.  There’s a con for this as well…but I’ll add that in the cons section.

5. Again, with the exception of new characters, I feel like all the characters act the same as they did in The Lion King.  Zazu, Timon and Pumbaa, Simba, Nala, Rafiki (most of the time), Messiah Mufasa, and that grazing antelope in the background, they all feel like the same characters and haven’t suddenly changed in personality between movies.

6. Kovu, I mean, Mini Scar.  I love his character (there are parts of him I don’t like, but I’ll add that to the cons).  I like how he was raised with one goal in life…kill Simba because he killed Scar!  This goal would have been achieved if they didn’t bother to add the lioness into the mix, but whatever.  I even like how he ended up with a scar on his eye.  I know that a lot of people hated it, thinking that they were trying too hard to be just like the original.  But let’s face it…we don’t know how Scar got the scar on his eye in the original.  Was he born with it?  Did Mufasa strike him for being too sarcastic?  We don’t know!  And we don’t need to know, it’s not important.  We just need to know that Scar’s evil.  But with Kovu, a lion who is being raised as Scar’s heir, and who thought the world of Scar, I feel like getting that scar on his eye was fitting; almost like a full circle.

7. The music.  I’m going to spend a little time talking about this, so bear with me.  I love the music of The Lion King.  It’s fun, entertaining, catchy, and well written–accept for that luau song Timon sings.  It was good music…I mean, they made a Broadway musical out of it, that should count for something.  But I also love the music of The Lion King 2.  I feel like it’s also fun, entertaining, catchy, and well written–except for Upendi, but we’re getting to that.  Each song in this movie mimicked the style of a similar song in the original.  Some may think that’s bad, but I like it.  They’re not trying to do the same exact same thing, they wanted to have the same style of songs.  Each song in the sequel is a mirror song to one in the original.  For example:

  • He Lives in You” is this movie’s version of “Circle of Life“.  Joyous celebration over royal birth, with cool lighting effects and stuff blowing in the wind.
  • Love Will Find a Way” is this movie’s version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”  Reunion and love.
  • Upendi” is this movie’s version of “Hakuna Matata”  Fun in the jungle with discovery of new concepts, such as love and no worries.  And let’s not forget walking at the end of the song while moving their butts to the beat.

But my favorite is “My Lullaby” which is this movie’s “Be Prepared”.  I love these two songs.  Why?  Because they’re mirrors of each other in style.  In both songs they:

  • Speak/sing the lyrics
  • Have a choir of minions
  • Have dramatic lighting changes
  • A buildup of energy at the end even though they’re still speaking/singing
  • They both end with the villain outside, on a pillar, towering over all their surrounding minions

Watch these two videos back to back, and tell me that they’re not the same in style.  (Mind you I don’t think they’re copying “Be Prepared”, but keeping to it’s style)

Now, I don’t think “My Lullaby” is better than “Be Prepared”, I like the original villain song a lot better.  I mean, how can you beat Nazi hyenas?  But the sequel’s villain song isn’t bad either; an evil lionesses who’s lullaby about taking over the world (of course!)?!  Wizard!

8. Zira’s evil plan is cool.  She and her pride of exiled lions, who were once loyal to Scar, use Kovu to get lovey dovey with Kiara, this way he can get close enough to Simba to kill him.  I like this plan…and it probably would have worked.  But because they went to Upendi (Soon, readers, soon), this plan was foiled.  But I still think it was a good idea.

9. I like the idea of Kiara’s first hunt.  It’s like her rite of passage.  Let it be noted…she never finished that hunt.  I think Upendi got in the way.  DARN YOU UPENDI!  If that’s the lion’s way, we still won’t know…because Simba was living in the jungle at the time he would have had to do it.  Kind of a cool aspect into the culture of the lions of Pride Rock.  (Yes, I know that in the animal world, lionesses do most of the hunting rather than the males, I’m speaking about the rite of passage more than the hunting.  So don’t send me hate mail about real life lion hunting practices.)

10. I love how Simba needs to judge Kovu, I believe this adds an interesting aspect to the story.  Here’s the son of one of the exiled Outlanders, who were loyal to Scar, and he is leaving them and wants to join Simba’s pride.  But Simba, knowing who Kovu is, isn’t sure, and decides to reserve his judgment for a later time.  But when that time comes and Kovu stands before him, after Simba thinks Kovu set up the ambush mind you, with the image of Scar on his eye, he exiles him.  Only to find out that Kovu had changed and is no longer like the Outlanders.  I just think this is a cool element to the story.

11. Simba’s dream about the death of his father by the hand of his uncle, then to have his uncle change into Kovu.  This is cool, and it gives us a taste of the fact that Simba is still haunted by that day in the gorge when he was a cub.  It’s more…real.

12. I love the scene where Kovu and Kiara are looking up at the stars.  It adds a lot to Kovu’s character when he asks, “Do you think Scar is up there?”  He talks about how Scar wasn’t his father, but he still felt like Scar was a part of his life.  We see the inner struggle of his desire to change his ways, and his loyalty to his own family.

13. Andy Dick dies.  Well, Nuka, Kovu and Vitani’s brother, who is voiced by Andy Dick dies.  This is a good thing.  He was extremely annoying, and it’s satisfying to see him get crushed by a bunch of logs.  Just being honest here.

14. I like how Kovu get’s the scar on his eye.  I know a lot of people didn’t like this, but here is why I do.  Throughout the entire movie, Kovu is being told that he is Scar’s heir, and that he needs to be like Scar.  He is raised to be an assassin and the next king of the Pride Lands.  Then there’s his inner conflict when he starts falling for Simba’s daughter, and how he feels connected to Scar, who took him in when he was a cub.  Then, when he betrays his own pride, his mother strikes him and gives him the scar on his eye, symbolizing his path to becoming Scar is complete.  This is also recognized at the moment of his exile; all the animals notice the scar.  Which by the way, I like how they show all the animals of the Pride Lands chase Kovu out.  Did that happen to Zira too?  But they sing that he is as evil as the scar on his face.  Here we see Kovu’s desire to reject the ways of the Outlanders, but it’s too late.  The deed is done, and the scar is proof that he has become who he was really meant to be, the heir of Scar.  This is also seen when Kovu looks into a pool of water and his reflection changes to Scar.

15. I love how after Simba exiles Kovu, and states that he must follow his father’s path, Kiara confronts him, she does so by saying, “You will never be Mufasa.”  This is important, because just like Kovu, Simba was trying to be like the past king.  Simba was always trying to be his father rather than be Simba.  This hits home in Simba, and in the end, Simba becomes an even greater king with a son-in-law he can be proud of.  This again, adds to the character building of the story.  Simba was trying to hard to be his father, and it caused him to fail as a king.  This would have led to a vicious war, but Kovu and Kiara were able to prevent it.  But in the end, as he stands at the edge of Pride Rock with his family, he hears his father’s voice in the wind saying, “Well done, my son.  We are one.”  You know…because he’s the Messiah:

Messiah Mufasa is pleased.

The Cons

Now, for as much as I praise this movie, it’s has lot of stuff in it that’s no good.  It’s not a great movie, but, because of the pros, it’s a good enough movie.  There are still some things that are stupid in The Lion King 2 that needs to be addressed.

1. Simba is an over protective father.  This one is also in the pros, that’s because it’s both good and bad.  It’s good because it makes sense for his character.  It’s bad because he goes a little too far.  He marks paths for his daughter to go on; he is constantly having her followed to make sure she doesn’t get hurt; he flips out whenever she does anything remotely dangerous or challenging; he confines her to the den after exiling her boyfriend; and to make matters worse, he does nothing but worry about her whenever she’s not near him.  Chill out, Simba!  I know she’s like you, and all that, but there’s a difference between being protective and being crazy.  Like I said, it makes sense with his character that he would be over protective, but there’s a line…and he crossed it.  Not to mention that because of his over protectiveness, she got into more trouble than she would have if he had just let her be most of the time.

2. Zazu’s voice sucks!  It’s a good thing he only had like three lines, because I wanted to throw an ax into the TV when I first heard his voice.  In the original, he was voiced by the talented Rowan Atkinson, but the guy they got to play him in the sequel, didn’t sound remotely like Zazu.  His character was the same, but his voice was…just…awful (like Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal)

3. Where the heck is the Outlands?  Why is this never mentioned in the first movie?  Why is there suddenly a new area called the Outlands, and that’s were the bad lions go?  Lame!  What happened to the Elephant Graveyard?  What, was that too obvious to use again?

4. Kiara falls victim to the Classic Disney Princess Syndrome (CDPS for short).  She is a princess, but she wants more out of life…and she even sings about it in the song “We Are One”.  She wants to be herself and wants more out of life.  One reason why I liked Nala in The Lion King is that she did not contract CDPS.  And if you argue that it was because she wasn’t a princess, think again!  Her and Simba were betrothed…she was going to be his queen one way or the other (it’s a good thing they really fell in love then…Elton John’s music has done it again!).  This makes her a princess.  But she wasn’t like most Disney Princesses.  All she wanted was for Simba to take his rightful place as king….and hot lion sex, but I digress.  Kiara just sucks as a princess because she has a bad case of CDPS.  I’m sure they have pills for that, but I don’t know if they make them for lions.

5. Okay, so there is the one line and action in this movie that is so bad you want to kill your next door neighbor and blame it on that creepy guy across the street.  It’s when Kovu and Kiara first meet and introduce themselves.  Kovu says, “I’m Kovu”…but then Kiara says “I’m Kiara” and does this slutty, seductive move on him:

Slutty Kiara

This picture doesn’t do it justice.  You have to see the scene to really grasp how…slutty it is (So here’s a link a YouTube of the scene.  The part I’m talking about starts at 3:16: Slutty Kiara).  I mean, look at Kovu’s face…even he thinks it’s weird.  I don’t know how old she is in lion years, but I would say she’s about Simba’s age in the beginning of the first movie, in human years I would say that’s eight to ten years of age…so we’ll say nine to be safe.  What is with this nine-year-old girl doing this slutty move…where did she learn to do that?!  I mean, I know she lives with a bunch of lionesses, but still…there are some things you don’t teach a little kid, and the seduction of strangers is not one of them!  It’s so awkward and comes out of nowhere.  Wrong!

6. Kovu, I mean, Mini Scar.  Yes, there’s a pro for him too, but the con is this…why does he look like exactly Scar?  I know it adds to the whole, “he’s being raised to be like Scar” thing, and he eventually gets a scar on his eye, but what’s with him looking like scar?!  We know Kovu is not Scar’s son, so why does he happen to look like him?!  It’s just strange.

7. Kovu doesn’t know what fun is?  WTF?!  I know he’s “evil” and the “bad guy”, at least part of the time, and I know he’s being raised to take over the Pride Lands, but he seriously doesn’t know how to have fun?  He only knows violence?  His sister, Vitani, and he fight, and when he meets Kiara only when she goes for the rough house play (maybe it was play…who knows now with that slutty move she did), does he understand what she wants to do.  And not just when he’s a kid.  Timon mentions having fun to him when he’s an adult, and he acts like he doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.  That’s stupid!  I don’t care how abused he is, or how evil he’s being raised up to be…he would know how to have some kind of fun other than trying to beat things up!

8. Who exactly is Zira?  We know that she didn’t have Kovu, Nuka, and Vitani with Scar, sooo…who is she?  Was she Scar’s wife (after she had the kids that is)?  His mistress?  His sister?  Just a loyal minion?  Who is she in relation to Scar?  We never find out.  This would be nice to know.

9. Kovu is chosen to be Scar’s heir.  When?  When did this happen?  Obviously it was after he took over Pride Rock, but the only lionesses we saw with him were Mufasa’s (maybe there were others around somewhere, but…who knows).  So when exactly during the events of the first movie did Scar find Zira and Kovu and say to himself, “I need an heir, but I don’t want to make it with Sarabi, so I’ll choose…this kid!  He already looks like me!”?  I want to know when this happened!

10. What’s with the law about exiled lions who return to the Pride Lands have to give up a pound of flesh?  Where did that come from.  That’s kind of…cruel.  Just saying is all.

11. The wimpy “You disobeyed me” talk with Kiara.  In The Lion King, when Simba disobeyed Mufasa, Mufasa reamed him out!  He was pissed and Simba knew it.  He was almost frightening.  But when Simba has to give the talk to his own kid, he’s a wimp.  He sounded a little disappointed at the most…then he starts singing afterward!  It was lame.  Simba, grow some balls or bring back Mufasa!

Messiah Mufasa says that you deliberately disobeyed him. He is not happy!

12. Andy Dick.  Out of all the actors in the world they chose Andy Dick to play the voice of the wimpy Scar look alike known as Nuka?!  GOSH!  That is the worst casting choice in the history of voice acting….

…Nevermind.

13. The “moment of recognition” in The Lion King 2 sucks.  In the original movie, when Nala and Simba reunite, it was because Nala was about to kill Pumbaa, so Simba fights her, but just like when they were cubs, she’s able to pin him to the ground.  This sparks Simba’s memory, and he realizes that it’s his old friend.  But in the sequel…all Kovu does is refuse to let Kiara pass and asked her what she’s doing.  This happened once when they were kids.  With Nala and Simba, there was a real friendship there.  The recognition from the simple act of being pinned makes sense.  But the sequel botched it up!

14. Okay, the time has come.  Let’s talk about Upendi.

Yeah, I know.  That’s my reaction too.  “Upendi”, which is Swahili  for “love”, is this movie’s version of “Hakuna Matata”, which is Swahili for “no worries”.  This is the worst song in the entire movie.  Why?  First of all, it’s sung by Rafiki.  Rafiki should never sing…unless it’s that song/chant about squashed bananas he does in the original movie.  Second, The lyrics are awful:

There’s a place where the crazy moon
Makes the monkeys sing and the baboons swoon
And the sultry scent of the lotus bloom
Will carry you away

Where the hippos swing from the jungle vines
And the rhino rumba in a conga line
And the pink flamingos are intertwined
As the stars come out to play

In Upendi
Where the passion fruit grows sweet
And it’s so divine
That you lose your mind
As it sweeps you off your feet
In Upendi
Without a worry or a care
It just takes two
To make it true
Your heart will lead you there

That’s only half the song!  Third, is Upendi a state of being or is it a place?  This is never answered!  It looks like a place, but it could just be sexed up euphoria for all I know…kind of like that rainbow place in Anchorman.  Fourth, everything is heart shaped.  And I mean everything.  The boat they’re in, the parachutes that they need, the leaves, the sky is full of hearts!  Anything that can be wrong in a musical song is wrong in Upendi.  It’s such an awful song that if the rest of the movie wasn’t too bad, I would have gave up on it then and there.  I think we need something to clean our minds after that.  Can you help Messiah Mufasa?

Messiah Mufasa will take care of all your bad thoughts.

15. After only one day, Simba invites Kovu into the den with the rest of pride.  What’s up with that?  If we had a few days pass or something like that, it might make more sense, but only one day?!  That’s like saying to your daughter’s new boyfriend, “You’ve only been on one date?  Sure, come on in, her room is right upstairs, second door on the left.  Don’t forget protection.”  For an over protective father, this seems a bit…ahem…stupid.  I get that it’s a way of showing acceptance…but still, it’s only been one day.

16. Okay, this one is short.  The look Simba gives Kovu when he says he wants to talk to him (mind you this is the day after he invited Kovu into the den to do whatever he wanted to Kiara) is very…well…gay.  Look at this:

No, Kiara, I want to talk to that bad boy!

Enough said.

17. What’s with the missing halves of Kovu and Kiara’s reflections when they look into water during the song “Love Will Find a Way”?  I find this annoying.  I get the symbolism that the two of them are one (especially after Upendi and Simba showing them to their room), but still you don’t need to show their missing reflections for us to understand.  We get it, we’re not stupid.  I like the song, but I don’t like how the movie feels the need to show the missing “parts” of themselves.  Even younger kids would get it, because the entire movie centers around that concept.

18. Why does Rafiki talk to Mufasa?  I mean, I know that that’s kind of his job, but why Mufasa?  I know Mufasa is now one of the Great Kings of the Past, but who did Rafiki talk and listen to before Mufasa died?  Why doesn’t he still talk to that Great King?  Did they have a falling out?  What did that look like?

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are more cons than pros for this movie, but I feel, and this is just my personal opinion, that the pros slightly outweigh the cons.  Enough for me to consider this a good movie.  Is it great?  No.  Is it awful?  No.  It’s good enough for me to enjoy, and I personally feel like it is a nice continuation of the story in the original movie.  It does not, by any means, reach the levels of awesomeness that The Lion King has, but for what it is, The Lion King 2 isn’t all that bad.  I can’t speak for The Lion King 1 1/2 because I’ve never seen it, nor do I plan on seeing it any time soon.

I would like to thank UberChimerism for requesting this review.

And remember that Mufasa lives in you!

Have you let Messiah Mufasa live in you yet?

Don’t forget to check out my other detailed movie reviews:

Twilight Vs. Roswell

A Tribute to “The Secret of NIMH”

A Review of “The Secret of NIMH 2″

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Comments on: "A Review of “The Lion King 2″" (24)

  1. Not gonna lie, this review felt like you were just looking for things to find wrong with the movie as opposed to things actually being wrong. Especially in the area of unexplained events that could easily have happened off screen. For all we know Scar could have raped every lioness on pride rock while Simba was singing with his pig and meerkat buddies and we wouldn’t have known, one because it’s a Disney film and two because Scar wasn’t the main character.

    I also don’t think the outlands existed until Scar’s death. Obviously he would have had followers so I think these lands were created specially for them next to the elephant graveyard.

    I could continue to rail on the cons but I’m holding myself back. Be grateful…and give me a cookie. :3

    • Kaleigh,

      It’s not true that I was “just looking for things to find wrong with the movie as opposed to things actually being wrong”. Every single one of the things on the Cons list are things that truly bothered me about the movie. I felt like they put a damper on the story. That might not be true for YOU, but that’s what’s true for ME; it’s my opinionated review after all. Feel free to write your own if you’d like. ;-)

      I have no problem with things happening off screen, but at least explain them a bit. Not everything has to be shown, but at the very least, give us reasons.

      The very point of a review is to pick out the things you do and don’t like, and that’s what I did.

      Does Messiah Mufasa live in you?

    • Marcus Blackwin said:

      Why do you bother reading his reviews if all your going to do is hate on he writes them? You did that on the TSON 2 review too.

  2. Oh my LORD Kaleigh…

    Seriously?

    ::For all we know Scar could have raped every lioness on pride rock while Simba was singing with his pig and meerkat buddies and we wouldn’t have known, one because it’s a Disney film and two because Scar wasn’t the main character.::

    That would have made the first movie SO FREAKING PHAT.

    But in all seriousness, this is a REVIEW. In a review, the writer is OBLIGATED to look for things that are amiss with the product being judged; whether it is a film, a toothbrush, or a restaurant. I would feel that Ronzi had not done his job at all had he not examined the film closely for plot-holes and inconsistencies. In fact, I would be downright pissed at him for wasting my time with this review had he not, in your words, ” looking for things to find wrong with the movie as opposed to things actually being wrong.” Uh… regardless of who you are, something being “wrong” is completely subjective at its core.

    This is a blog, and blogs are all about opinion and personal choice. Constantly critiquing one’s choice of either writing style or content is appropriate for PUBLISHED WORKS.
    And I’m not saying one cannot have an opinion about a blog, but you seem to do the same thing with Ronzi’s blog(s) that you accuse him of doing: Looking for things to find wrong. Your comments about his typos on Facebook were completely unneeded. And I know you were just trying to help him perfect his writing (I hope) but how about Inboxing him your editing issues instead of putting it on the link to his blog, where literally 90% of people will use to access his blog in the first place. Who cares if he spelled Rafiki wrong IN ONE SENTENCE or if he misspelled “Lullaby”. It’s HIS BLOG and if there are two typos within a 2000 word diatribe, I think that’s pretty dang good.

    Ronzi, I enjoyed this read very much. I have never seen The Lion King 2, but this review made me want to. Kudos.

    • I wish it were 2,000 words! I just wouldn’t be able to fit everything in if it were. No, this review is a little under 7,000 words. I sit down to write one of these things then I just go crazy.

      You know, you read and reread these things five or six times because putting it online and you still miss stuff. It happens. I’ve seen major typos in published books before…which sucks, but still. I’m sure there are more than just those two typos on here, which I have fixed, by the way.

      Thank you for the kind words, Mike!

      Does Messiah Mufasa live in you?

  3. Since you mentioned the happy Rainbow place in your review, I request that your next blog be on Anchorman. Yes, Please!?!

    • Anchorman? I wouldn’t really have anything to say about it. It’s hilarious, and all, but I don’t know what I would say about it in a review.

      Does Messiah Mufasa live in you?

  4. Marcus Blackwin said:

    Great review, Andrew! I hated this movie when I was younger, but maybe I’ll give it a second chance. You made some good points for the good and the bad stuff. Maybe now that I’m older I’ll appreciate it more.

    By the way the conversation between Rafiki, Aslan, and Mufasa is funny, also that picture of Elton John.

  5. I just read your reviews of the Lion King and some of the comments. Your comment to one of them made me want to reply to you. You wrote that a review was to find something wrong and I don’t believe that. You can always find wrong but you should also balance it with the good. I am almost an old lady (not really) and I think that balance is important. Nothing is all bad, and as for the Lion King, it was more good than bad. I had the privilage to see the Lion King stage show in Vegas, last month. I still loved it. My oppion, as I said before, is strike the balance with your reviews and let people know both sides and make up thier own minds.

    • I agree! Balance is needed. When I write a review I do try to look for the good and for the bad. Heck, even in my “Secret of NIMH 2″ review, in which I hate on everything about it, I found a few things that were good about it…and I hate that movie with everything in me! I show the good and the bad…in my personal opinion. :-)

      That’s awesome that you got to see it in Vegas, though! I want to see it on Broadway, and I believe I’ll get the chance to see it there sometime this summer…which will be awesome! I’ve heard it great!

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, and I hope the Messiah Mufasa lives in you!

  6. Pretty good review. nice and detailed. however, i think most of your cons are just nitpicking stupid things that don’t take away from the movie in any way. except for llike 3 or 4 of them, but I love this movie. I think it’s almost as good as the original, but not quite. everything except for maybe the animation is just not quite as good as the original including the music/score, voice acting, plot. i give it a 8.5 or 9/10 and the 1st gets an 11/10 for me personally. anyway good review, but i have some disagreements

    • Thanks for your comment, Josh. It’s fine that you disagree. I do admit that some of the things on the list are nitpicky, but they’re stuff in the movie that bothered me; since it is a review based on my personal opinion, I added them.

      And I agree that The Lion King is much better, I just felt like the sequel held up to the original, unlike a lot of other Disney sequels.

  7. AHAHAHA WOW! YOU JUST BLEW MY MIND WITH FACTS OVER THERE! This guy is right about MOST of it or all! He also made me see the BAD THINGS ’bout it! And the Upendi? I thought I was the only one hearing this wrong, but it seems I got my answer! I love this guy because of how he explained things and his humor. #1 Idol! =)

  8. I enjoyed your review! I think you said it very well, and I agree with most of the points you’ve made (your captioned pictures were pretty funny too).

    I don’t think con #3 was too much of a problem. I see nothing wrong with establishing new settings, but you are right that they shouldn’t have been so vague with the exact whereabouts. As far as I could see, Kiara fell off a tree trunk and smacked into Kovu, who was lurking on the apparent border between the Outlands and the Pride Lands.

    I think con #6 is a good point as well. Kovu shouldn’t look anything like Scar, unless Zira was his sister or something. Even then, it’s a stretch. I get that Disney wants the kids to see his “connection” with Scar, but the obvious backlash to that is that they might mistake Kovu for his son.

    I have to say that I sort of disagreed with you on con #11. I liked the way Simba led Kiara into a song (and not just because I love the song either, haha). I guess Simba isn’t as old as Mufasa was in the first Lion King movie. Also, Simba grew up in a more…relaxed manner, what with Timon and Pumbaa being his wards and all. I would have disapproved if they made Simba into a complete mirror of Mufasa, so yeah. I thought the song was fine.

    My strongest disagreement would have to be con #14. I thought Upendi was a great song! Rafiki is a very charismatic singer, and yes the lyrics get a little weird. But that’s classic Rafiki for you, and I like the way he puts the aspects of love into metaphors, which goes a bit deeper than the well-known “Hakuna Matata” (yes, I said it, at the risk of everyone who loves that song, which is, let’s face it, everyone except me). The only thing that I wonder is if Rafiki ever found love in his life. He’s quite the hermit, but I suppose he’s seen all and done all.

    You’re absolutely right on con #16! I had some rather…unpleasant thoughts myself when Simba gave Kovu “the look”. Especially that wink that followed…*shudder*

    Bingo on con #17. The missing reflections were just…weird…

    Anyway, here’s my overall opinion. I actually happen to like The Lion King 2 better than the original (and yes, I am aware that I may be once again blaspheming all Lion King fans who disagree). Why? I think the Lion King is a fantastic movie, that’s undisputed. But its story feels a little…cliche. Hero grows up inspired by his father. Hero experiences tragedy. Hero eventually overcomes tragedies and defeat a villain. Hero finds love and they all live happily ever after.

    No, no, no! I’ve seen that type of ending too many times already in a countless number of films. The Lion King would not be without a sequel!

    The Lion King 2′s story felt more creative in the sense that even those we admired in the first Lion King movie (Simba) can be found to be judgmental and make mistakes. Now, what’s so delightful about this is that it builds upon his character from the previous film. He protects Kiara and hates Scar’s followers because of his past experiences, and as a result is blinded by fear and anger (while we’re on the subject, I’ll point out an irony from the song “Not One of Us”. When the animals say “someone once lied to us, now we’re not so blind”, it turns out they actually were blind to the good that Kovu was capable of and judge him from what they can only see on the surface). Anyway, back on topic. What I believe the best thing about the Lion King 2′s ending was that the Pride Landers defeated not a physical being of evil (like Scar in the first Lion King), but something much more difficult; the feelings of hatred, mistrust, and vengeance towards a collective group of beings. That, I believe, is the most important piece of the puzzle in Kiara’s bond with Kovu, because their “victory” didn’t drive anyone away (into yet another Outlands, whatever it could potentially be called), but it brought them back together. This was what I see as the best ending to the story, and one that Disney can be proud of, as far as their disastrous sequels go.

    Anyway, thanks again for the review! I hope you liked my inputs above as well. I hope to get a reply from you, because my recent decision to re-watch the 3 Lion King movies has awakened an old passion but a new appreciation for its beauty that I was unable to fully grasp when I was younger. It is most delightful to share my opinion on these films with those who are able to understand it, and I can see that you are one of them.

    • Evan,

      I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts about The Lion King 2. I love to hear what other people’s takes on things are. I very much enjoy this movie, and besides The Rescuers Down Under, I consider it to be the best Disney sequel I have ever seen. I’m excited to see The Lion King re-released in the theaters, and I hope the 3D that’s in it is up to scratch.

      As for your difference in opinion on some of the points I’ve made, thank you for sharing your side of it, though I still disagree. But I will say this, you have a mind of your own and can form your own opinions based on what you do and do not like. I respect that.

      Thanks for commenting, and I hope you’ll read some of the other stuff I have here on The Paradigm.

      Andrew

      • I’ll be sure to look into your other reviews, although I haven’t seen all the Disney movies. I suppose your reviews would still be interesting to read though.

        By the way, I strongly suggest you watch the Lion King 1½. It isn’t intended as a sequel, and therefore doesn’t have a very developed plot (the last quarter of it is parallel to The Lion King’s ending), but it serves well as a comedy and I think you’ll get a lot of laughs out of it.

  9. I agree with Evan except for the movie being better than the first. However, I think it’s the best sequel ever made by Disney. I really enjoy that you guys are criticizing this from an adult point of view. The cons that you mentioned with the whole Kovu looking like Scar and the half reflections didn’t bother me at all because I can see Disney doing this for the kids. You said kids aren’t that stupid, but I think you’d be surprised. I also wanted to add that The Lion King 1 1/2 was definitely just a comedy and not something with a plot like the first and second lion king. The 1/2 was mostly about Timon and Pumba and just their side of the story. How they raised Simba and what they did in the final battle. I think it’s worth a watch and definitely watch it as a comedy and nothing like the first or second movie.

  10. Wow, this Review was really awesome! It was so detailed and deep…A nd you show us the bad points of that movie too.
    To be honest, I hate this movie. I REALLY hate it! It was horrible, your contra-points are really good! (And I have to laugh a few times xD) From the songs I only like “He lives in you” (yeah, I love this song ♥), but the restw as just… bad.
    But in one thing I have to disagree: The characters don’t look like the same anymore!
    Here are two wounderfull examples:

    http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&global=1&q=Nala#/d4eu845
    http://dj88.deviantart.com/gallery/?q=Simba#/d4fgk0o

    However, great review! :D

    Greetings from germany!
    Eva

  11. “The Pound of Flesh” is more of an expression, when Simba tells Zira that she has gone against law by entering the Pride lands she responds by offering to give up Kovu as her punishment for trespassing, her “pound of flesh”… But by her smile you could see that she knew Simba wasn’t going to do nothing

  12. suspendeddisbelief said:

    Sweet 7lb., 8oz. Baby Messiah Mufasa, was Upendi horrible! The music from this movie left a massive amount to be desired for me, (as well as a fair amount of shame and regret for some reason). The plot, as thin as it was in parts, would have been forgivable if it hadn’t been for the music that very clearly came from Disney’s copy of “Ye Olde Trusty Book-o-Musical Templates”. You are absolutely correct in that each song was seemingly a counterpart to it’s predecessor in Lion King, but I think that’s exactly what killed it for me. It just seemed like they went, “Oh this is the point where we insert this movie’s Hakuna Matata,” and it just reeked of copy-and-paste laziness. You can very much pay homage to the original movie’s style and overall musical tone without doing what is the musical equivalent of “tracing” the first movie’s music only somehow managin to make it cheesier and not as fulfilling.One thing is for certain that I think we all can agree on whether we like this particular sequel or not and that is that “Upendi” is in no way, shape, or form comparable to “Can you feel the love tonight”…Not even by a desperately, over exaggerated stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, I felt the exact same way about most of the songs. Le sigh..I do agree with you though, as far a Disney sequels go, this one is definitely not the worst.

  13. Loved your review and loved the Lion King both 1 and 2. I just wanted to say that the one thing I really really didn’t like in Simba’s Pride was Simba’s and Nala’s appearance… Thay looked so different and Nala does not have this “sexyness and beauty” she had in the original! Not to mention she had fewwwww lines and since she is my favourite character that’s something I didn’t like…! I just wanted to tell you that i disagree when you said that “The story begins where the original left off, with the birth of Simba and Nala’s daughter, Kiara. ” That is not true… the cub at the end of the original movie was Kopa.. their first child not Kiara.. and you can confirm that by reading The Lion King Bible by Disney! Overall I agreed with most of what you said! ;) Keep up the good work!

    • Wait…whoa! Hold the phone, Simba and Nala had a kid BEFORE Kiara?! Where was he in the movie?! If there’s a son, I want to see his story. Thank you for this information, I must look this up!

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