In 1994 I started school but it was also they year, The Lion King was released. I didn’t see the movie until third or fourth grade and haven’t seen it since but of course I still know the basic storyline and the songs from the movie are so widely known, it’s crazy. So let’s get started.
The Lion King starts with Circle of Life and a montage of a sunrise and lots of happy animals rushing somewhere. There are even elephants because we’re in Africa. Not sure if I need to mention this, but yeah, I just did so moving on.
On a mountain a mighty lion resides overlooking his kingdom. Rafiki, the shaman baboon (??!!) comes up to him and they embrace. Then we cut to the mighty lion who is also king Mufasa, meeting his newborn son, Simba. Oh the joy! Rafiki does some voodoo magic and then presents Simba to the crowd! At the same time, the sun rises and OMG can you tell what a huge fucking deal this moment is?! Can you? Can you? Yes Disney, I can, calm down.
A lion with a black mane is monologuing about how he isn’t getting to play king and boo-hoos some. Then Zazu appears to warn Scar (dark haired lion, yo) about how the king is “as mad as a hippo with a hernia” that he wasn’t at the baby presentation. (I seriously love that sentence about the hippo and need to work this into more conversations!) Just then, Mufasa appears and the two of them have some family banter about who gets to play king next. Normal stuff, you know.
Cut to rain over Africa (if you’re not singing Toto right now, I don’t know why not). Rafiki is still doing some voodoo magic, painting little Simba on a rock because that’s what all the cool kids do?!
Simba has grown up a bit and can talk now. He tries to wake his parents up to watch the sunrise together and it’s all very cute. Mufasa explains their kingdom’s boarders and how Simba will one day reign over it all. As they wander around Zazu finds them and gives Mufasa the latest kingdom update in song because we haven’t had a musical number in too long. In the meantime Mufasa gives his son a little lecture in how to hunt using Zazu as the prey. Okay. Mufasa gets news about some hyenas in his territory so off he goes to take care of business.
Scar is meeting with Simba and they’re having a conversation about the forbidden land. Of course Scar says Simba should check it out even though his father forbid him to do so. Ugh. So Simba, stupid little lion that he is, runs to his friend Nala to invite her on their adventure only his mother has other plans, mainly a bath. He cuts that short and off they go but with Zazu as their bodyguard or something like that.
Zazu informs the two of them that one day, they will be married. Both find this highly disgusting because they’re friends and I laugh and laugh and laugh because I know the future. Then we get another song, this time about Simba who can’t wait to be king. Be careful with those wishes, little lion, you never know how soon they become real.
During the song, the two mini lions managed to ditch Zazu and go off into the forbidden land. It’s a dark place with old bones lying around *shudder* The adventure fun times are cut short when 3 hyenas with terrible puns arrive and threaten the two mini lions. So they make a run for it but don’t get very far. It starts to become really scary but then they are saved by Mufasa who happens to come in at the right moment. Whew.
Zazu has to escort Nala home whereas Simba gets a special lesson by Mufasa who is giving his son a stern talk about the stupid thing he just did. That one doesn’t last too long though and they have a cute father-son bonding session. They look up into the night sky and Mufasa explains to Simba that the stars are all former kinds looking over them. Nope, that’s totally not ominous and also breathtakingly beautiful.
Cut to the evil hyenas conversing about why they are the bottom of the bottom. Porbably because you’re really dumb and also ugly but that may just be me. Scar appears and is annoyed with theme once he basically gift wrapped Simba for them and they still managed to screw it up. Then Scar gets to sing his song because of reasons.
Scar tells Simba something about a surprise he is having for them and the naive little cub is believing his uncle. Oh, this can only end badly.
Simba is left alone to practice his roar when he feels the ground shaking with the hooves of hundreds (thousands?) of animals running away because they’re chased by hyenas and he is trapped in the middle of it.
Scar alerts Mufasa to this situation so the king goes to rescue his son only he gets trampled by the animals after securing Simba. Of course this is what Scar wanted and oh my feels. After all the animals have moved on, Simba finds himself alone with his dead father but it takes him a while to figure out that he is gone.
He calls out for help but no one shows until Scar appears, playing the understanding uncle and I wan to punch him in the face. Scar advises Simba to run away which the little lion does.
On the run, the hyenas try to catch him but thanks to some very thorny plants he gets away.
Scar claims his kingdom.
Cut to Simba in the desert. He is just lying in the sun, vultures around him, ready to eat him. Just then, Timon and Pumbaa appear and I couldn’t be happier with this. In 5th or 6th grade, me and my then best friend called each other Timon and Pumbaa, I was Timon. Anyway, they safe Simba and take him under their wings. I really, really love these two, they are fun and silly and awesome. Okay.
Timon and Pumbaa teach Simba about Hakuna Matata, you know, don’t worry or something like that. To let that lesson sing in, they sing a song that probably every person who was conscious during the 90s knows.
During the rendition of this song, Simba grows up and now looks like the spitting image of Mufasa.
Scar’s kingdom of evil. The hyenas complain about there not being any food or water because the lionesses refuse to hunt.
Cut to Timon, Pumbaa and Simba laying on a field, being really full after the meal they just had. They talk about the starts. Timon thinks they’re fireflies, Pumbaa says they’re big balls of gas burning far, far away (LOL, oh Pumbaa). Then Simba has to admit to his little fantasy of the stars all being former kings looking over them calling back to earlier in the story. The other two can only laugh at this but it gives me the sadz for Simba.
Rafiki catches some leaves and dirt which Simba brought to motion as he let himself fall on a rock. This is some contrivance, yo! Anyway. He figures out that Simba is still alive!!
The Lion Sleeps Tonight!
While Pumbaa is hunting insects, he gets hunted himself by a grown up Nala. Simba interferes and he realises who she is. It takes her longer because she thought he was dead. Introductions are made all around.
Can You Feel The Love Tonight with a montage of Nala and Simba being cute with each other.
Nala catches Simba up on all that has happened since Scar took over the kingdom and she gets disappointed when Simba tells her he isn’t coming back home with her because Hakuna Matata.
Rafiki appears while Simba is searching for the meaning of life (42) and who he is. He calls Simba a baboon because he behaves like an idiot. He informs Simba that his father is not dead and goes to show him such. They come upon a pond and Simba sees his reflection in the water, Rafiki explains that Mufasa lives on through him. Then Simba’s Patronous appears in the form of his father and they have some interaction where Simba figures out who is is.
Simba decides to go back to fight of this kingdom. Nala visits Timon and Pumbaa to look for Simba but Rafiki informs them they he has left already.
Majestic lion running montage. The land Simba encounters upon returning to his kingdom is dead and awful which makes me sad. Thankfully Nala is by his side and even Timon and Pumbaa followed to help him with his task. Now that’s what I call friends. They come up with a plan so that Simba can take care of Scar.
Scar is meanwhile talking to Simba’s mother because there is no food but she says that all the animals they could hunt have left and they should move on too. Scar doesn’t give a shit about her opinion. Then Simba appears and it takes Scar a moment to realise it isn’t Mufasa.
Scar threatens Simba to tell the others how the king died and they fight. It looks bad for Simba but he gets the upper hand at last and it’s revealed that Scar killed Mufasa.
Big fighting montage. In the end, the hyenas turn against Scar and peace is achieved once more.
It starts raining and we see the land changing from black to green and fertile again. Simba climbs the rock of declaration and roars a mighty roar. He sure has come a long way. Even all the happy animals are back when we see Simba’s and Nala’s kid being born and presented to the public.
What a movie. I’m a bit meh on the beginning but once Timon and Pumbaa come around, I am all for it. They are amazing and I love their sass and friendship. I also enjoy that The Lion King is so different. That’s a point I already made about Aladdin. While they all share similar qualities about bravery and friendship and whatnot, this movie stands out against the typical fairy tale stories. Just the setting in Africa changes so much from all the animal centred movies that were bound to cities and interactions with humans. There is not a single human in this whole movie which is great in my opinion.