These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
There are more than a few people who view Scar as an Ambiguously GayDepraved Homosexual, due to his lack of a mate and somewhat effeminate manner. The Broadway play seems to play this up to extreme levels. Scar goes from scary angry dude to Paul Lynde turned psychopath, which is still scary.
Scar also has some parallels with Simba. Young Simba has a SONG dedicated to him proclaiming that when he's King he doesn't have to listen to anybody and "can do whatever I want". Later in the film Scar proclaims, "I'm the King! I can do whatever I want."
Also, was Scar's hatred towards Mufasa caused only by envy or was there a solid Freudian Excuse (like being always The Unfavorite, maybe also mistreated by his brother)?
According to the children's books accompanying the movie, Scar's original name was Taka, which translates to 'garbage'. Imagine your parents literally naming you Garbage. It's no wonder he wants to overthrow Mufasa so badly. He's been mistreated and viewed as inferior his whole life. It kind of makes the horrible condition of the Pride Lands when Simba and crew return slightly tragic. His father most likely spent all of his energy teaching Mufasa how to take care of the Pride Lands and never bothered to tell Scar what he was supposed to do.
Mufasa. Noble, courageous king and loving father... or pompous Jerkass who threw his weight around to bully his little brother, was letting a bunch of hyenas starve for no reason, and who was raising his son to be as big a douche as he was?
Mufasa and his dynasty can easily be seen as pompous, racist tyrants and Scar as a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to liberate oppressed people from Mufasa's regime. An alternative alternative take is that both Scar and Mufasa are jerks, Mufasa exiling the hyenas to the badlands, and Scar exploiting their desperation for his own gain.
In Real Life, Lions and Hyenas don't get along, stealing kills from each other all the time, and will not hesitate to harass or harm one another given the opportunity. In fact, male lions will sometimes venture into hyena territory with the specific goal of assassinating the clan's Alpha Female.
Also, once the Hyenas are giving power over the Pride Lands, the entire kingdom falls apart and all the prey animals flee. This could indicate that Mufasa originally banished them because they lacked self control and nearly hunted every other animal to near extinction.
Zazu. Mufasa's loyal adviser and careful supervisor of Simba during his childhood... or just the comical sidekick of both?
Timon and Pumbaa. Lovable slackers who save Simba's life and help him deal with his trauma, or two feckless wasters who encourage a vulnerable young boy to hide from his problems and responsibilities so he can stick around as their bodyguard?
The hyenas. Nazis, or the oppressed underdogs just looking for food? Their apparent poverty and Scar's manipulation of it is just another eerie parallel to the Third Reich and the duped German population. Also, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed - friends, or family?
Awesome Music: Hans Zimmer's whole score for the film. With some help from Lebo M with his choral arrangements, this score turned Zimmer from a relative movie musical nobody to the equal of John Williams in the public eyes
Simba and Nala's son from Six New Adventures, Kopa. You occasionally see other cubs like "Tanabi" (due to a random Disney employee saying their cub was a boy named that) or "Chaka" and "Shani" (from an early version of the sequels script; Chaka was dropped and Shani became Kiara).
Nala having a younger brother named Mheetu because he was a deleted character. It's usually interpreted he died sometime during Scar's reign.
Nala and Simba being cousins. It was canon in a very early build on the film (they were both Mufasa's cubs so it made them siblings too) but in the final product it's not confirmed who Nala's father is.
Fridge Horror: As a cub, Simba can't wait to be king as he can do whatever he wants and no-one will be able to stop him! Huh, why does that sound familiar? If Scar had never performed his coup, Simba could easily have turned into a similar tyrant.
Not to mention the simple fact that, in singing about how he can't wait to be king, he's essentially singing that he wishes his dad would hurry up and die, already.
Though Mufasa would have likely been there to set him straight and teach him the proper values in the first place, had Scar not pulled a coup. We even see him guiding Simba and teaching him about his future responsibilities as king early on.
Early in the film, Zazu jokingly says that Scar will "make a great throw rug". Three years later in Hercules, Scar makes a cameo...as a throw rug.
During "Be Prepared", Banzai briefly wears a horned skull that resembles the Dovahkiin's characteristic helmet.
When Zazu starts to talk about arranged marriages being a tradition that goes back generations, Simba says that it will be the first thing to go when he's king. Zazu is quick to brush him off. Fast forward to the sequel, where said tradition is nowhere to be seen.
Do not mention Kimba the White Lion to any Lion King fans (and vice versa) due to the ongoing "debate" (i.e. Flame War) as to whether or not Lion King ripped off Kimba.
It's not a good idea to mention you don't like Scar.
Speaking of Scar, it's generally not a good idea to ask whether or not his real name is "Taka" (like the tie-in books say) or if his name really is just "Scar".
Nala. Especially on the subject of who her father is.
Kovu, for that matter. Is he Scar's son like the original plan was? Is he some random lion Scar adopted as his heir? Or was he just a cub Zira took in and brainwashed into thinking he was Scar's son for her own personal gain? No two fans will fully agree on the answer.
Timon & Pumbaa. Not just the characters, but the show itself. Funny comic relief characters or annoying jerks who nearly caused Simba to lose all sense of responsibility? A fun Saturday Morning Cartoon with its own charm or a poorly-made series created to cash in on a superior film?
The film itself. Especially if you mention that it's overhyped.
The sequels certainly fall under this. It's generally not a good idea to ask whether or not the sequels are any good. You might get a pass for liking Simba's Pride, but there will definitely be some backlash for mentioning The Lion King 1 1/2 at all.
Kopa. Simba's son from the tie-in stories. Is he canon to the films or not? Fans will never fully agree.
The books themselves. Some say they're canon to the films. Others claim that they are not connected in any way except with the names of the characters.
Misblamed: To a degree, Scar. His poor skills as a ruler didn't destroy the trees or dry up the water, and it's pretty apparent the region was suffering from a drought. However, he also did a terrible job managing what limited resources were to be had, effectively making a bad situation much worse.
In "I Just Can't Wait to be King," Zazu's line, "I've never seen a king or beast with quite so little hair" is very, very often misheard as "I've never seen a king of beasts with quite so little hair". This grew so pervasive that for the musical version they just changed it.
Also, the sound book has a sound clip of Rafiki chanting that somehow got heard as Squashed bananas, up your ass. This one actually caused quite an uproar that Mike Mozart created a video specifically to defend the book.
Narm: When Mufasa is saving Simba from the stampede and a wildebeest bumps into them, knocking Simba out of Mufasa's mouth. The sound effect is just hilarious.
Narm Charm: Some viewers thought the images of Mufasa in the sky were just ridiculously cheesy and goofy, especially in the sequel; others got a bit choked up, considering what a Tear Jerker both his death in the first film and his benediction to Simba when he took the throne were.
In fact, the producers had thought about removing them for those reasons, before deciding to leave it in.
Not So Different: At the start of the film, both the young Simba and Scar are immature and selfish characters. The difference is that while Simba manages to correct those flaws in himself, Scar never does which ultimately leads to his downfall.
Older Than They Think: There are two lion brothers. One's the king, and his envious, childish brother, resentful of him, manages to get him out of the throne, so he can claim it himself. After he does, things go downhill, making everyone hate him. Sound familiar?
Rewatch Bonus: When Zazu informs Simba and Nala of their engagement, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is playing in the background.
Signature Song: "Hakuna Matata" is without a doubt the most famous song from the movie, but "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" are well remembered as well.
So Cool It's Awesome: The film is widely considered to be not only one of Disney's best animated features, but one of the greatest animated films ever made.
Strangled by the Red String: Simba and Nala are arguably this. As cubs they don't really show any romantic interest in each other and are rather disgusted by their Arranged Marriage. When they see each other a year or two later they goof around for a little bit, Nala licks Simba, and they fall in love within a matter of a few minutes. It feels like they fell in love just because they're the only lions of the opposite sex they've seen in a long time.
Made Hilarious in Hindsight in The Lion King 1½ where Timon and Pumba accidentally become the embodiment of the red string as they are responsible for increasing the romantic tension while trying to do the opposite.
In Kimba, Claw is a rogue lion who wants to be king with two hyena minions, but is continually beaten down by Kimba after he attempts to take over the jungle when Hamegg kills Caesar. In The Lion King, Scar is Mufasa's treacherous brother with three named hyena minions and hundreds more nameless ones, so he hatches a plan to become king by organizing the death of Mufasa and Simba. He succeeds at killing Mufasa and scaring Simba away, and is a far more effective villain than Claw was. In addition, the hyenas in The Lion King were originally planned as African Wild Dogs - they were presumably changed either because African wild dogs aren't as well known as hyenas, or simply because hyenas look more "evil".
Claw is a lot closer to Scar in the manga, managing to become the de facto leader of the jungle in Kimba's absence and dying after his and Kimba's first battle instead of hanging around to suffer Villain Decay. He does not however have his hyenas in the manga. Scar also shares many characteristics with Hamegg, being smug, flamboyant, having Nazi associations (in the manga Hamegg is eventually revealed to have been a SS officer) and being the person who killed Kimba's father and sent him into exile. In the manga he is also speared by Kimba when he is defeated by him just to be killed by Claw instead, like Simba spares Scar before he is killed by the hyenas. Hamegg however has Hidden Depths and a sympathetic side that Scar do not share.
In The Lion King, the circle of life is used to get around Carnivore Confusion. In Kimba, Kimba decrees that the animals should only eat insects and plants and live in peace with each other; however, this causes quite a few problems, and Kimba has to learn the hard way that Caesar was right about the animals.
The Lion King is about Simba accepting his responsibility as king in the archetypal Hero's Journey; Kimba deals with the titular character learning how to use his responsibility wisely after he's become a young king. Another key difference is that Simba is kind of a prick when he's a little kid, and Kimba is The Wise Prince. In fact, Simba much more closely resembles Kimba's Bratty Half-Pint son Rune, who goes trough similar character development, than he does Kimba himself. Likewise Mufasa is closer to adult Kimba than he is to Caesar who is much more of an Well-Intentioned Extremist (which, amusingly, somewhat becomes Simba's forte in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride).
In Kimba, both of Kimba's parents are dead and he more immediately becomes king. In The Lion King, only his father is killed, and he blames himself for it, running away from his responsibility. His mother, Sarabi, lives to see his coronation.
Oh, and despite being Dueling Shows, both are quite good on their own merits. It's best to think of the situation as being more like how The Magnificent Seven borrowed from The Seven Samurai, even though The Magnificent Seven was more of a direct lift of The Seven Samurai than The Lion King was of Kimba.
For what it's worth, the film may have originally been planned as a Kimba remake - however, because the rights to Kimba are entangled with multiple companies, including NBC (as with many anime that have been dubbed - that's why Jump Ultimate Stars can't make it to US shores, due to the dubbing rights being split among Viz, FUNimation and 4Kids, among others), it simply wasn't possible to get the rights. Regardless, production was far enough along that it was likely too late to change things aside from the names and Simba's fur color - in addition, the film's development had a lot of cut characters who didn't correspond to Kimba's cast. As a matter of fact, there are still two characters in The Lion King who bear no resemblance to anyone in Kimba - Timon and Pumbaa.
Timon and Pumbaa could be seen as highly mutated versions of Kenichi and his uncle who (at-least in the manga) takes care of Kimba until he returns to the jungle and also have something of a Fat and Skinny character dynamic. Only Kenichi sticks around however and his personality is completely different from Timon's.
Tough Act to Follow: This movie was the tough act the rest of the Disney Renaissance had to follow. This most notably affected Pocahontas, which is the only Disney Renaissance film to be graded Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, and Hercules, which got strong reviews but a relatively paltry take at the box office (and earned a lot of hatred in Greece).
The funny thing is, Lion King was originally conceived as filler to bridge the gap between Disney's last big movie (Aladdin) and their next one (Pocahontas). Present day, Aladdin is fondly regarded, The Lion King is the big Disney Movie, and Pocahontas is generally overlooked.
Weird Al Effect: Good luck to you trying to find anybody who knows the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" existed for over 30 years before this movie came out.
Win the Crowd: If there was any doubt on how this film would do, the teaser using the entire "Circle of Life" sequence and the rapturous audience reaction to it settled them all.
Disney briefly flirted with the idea of Re-Releasing Beauty and the Beast in 2010 as a 3D movie, but scrapped it. 2011, Lion King ended up getting the re-release to theaters and made well over $150 million. Disney is now planning to do the same type of re-releases with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, and Monster's Inc.
The Woobie: Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Sarabi, Zazu, and the Hyenas are all Woobies for various reasons.
In the Spanish release of the film. In the scene where Banzai is kicked in the ribcage by Shenzi before he mentions Mufasa again. In the original English dub he says "¿Qué pasa?", a Spanish line that means "What's up?". In the Spanish dub the line was dubbed as "¿Con mostaza?" which means "With mustard?". This was likely done because of phonetic similarities, but since this comes right after Scar jokes about the hyenas eating Zazu, it fits the scene perfectly. Likewise in the German dub he says "Mit Wasser?"note "With water?" which sounds pretty similar to "Qué pasa". In the Polish version, Banzai says "Kiełbasa" note Sausage, which is pronounced "Kieubasa" and sound phonetically similar to the original.
In the original English version, when Rafiki first starts bothering Simba, Simba simply calls him a "creepy little monkey." In the German dub, his line is Was soll denn das Affentheater? Idiomatically this translates as "What's with the crazy antics?", but Affentheater, which means "farce" or "craziness," translates as "monkey theater." In essence, not only is he saying Rafiki's crazy, but it's a clever pun on his species. (A similar English pun could've been, "Will you quit with the monkey business?")
In the Mexican Spanish dub, during the final duel between Simba and Scar, Simba's voice became more deeper and creepier, compared how his voice sounds in the original English version, when he speaks loudier than usual, and how he normally sounds before that battle in that dub, probably to emphatize he's going to kill Scar for good this time.
In the Japanese dub of the same scene, Simba uses kisama on Scar for the same effect, while his voice tone goes between the English version (louder) and the Mexican one (deeper). Oddly enough, Scar doesn't use kisama on Simba, despise being the main villain and the one who wants to see Simba dead more than anyone.
Also, in the Japanese dub, Scar speaks with a thick French accent in his voice, not to mention he uses sometimes adieu rather than sayonara, possibly to simulate Scar's British accent.
Guide Dang It: Raise your hands if you knew immediately that you're supposed to wear Scar out and then throw him off Pride Rock in the final battle. Or knew that you're supposed to jump on a fruit, then bounce off and hit the gorilla in Hakuna Matata. Or even the monkey puzzle in Can't Wait To Be King.
Porting Disaster: As above, the Europe-exclusive NES port was a port of the Game Boy version. Despite limited colour, it had sluggish and delayed controls. Physics and jumping precision were also non existent in this version. To make things worse, the box cover says ten levels. The game itself only has six, meaning the Adult Simba levels were either glitchy or they didn't bother to program it in.
To a lesser extent, the Genesis version had inferior BGM (it had all the chanting vocals removed, and the music sounded more synthetic). While the latter is unavoidable due to Sega's choices in designing the Genesis' audio subsystem, the former was uncalled for as the Genesis does have the ability to playback vocals in BGM (as evident in several levels in Sonic 3 & Knuckles), either by shifting the percussion duty to the OPN2 and using the PSG for vocals, or by changing Channel 6 of the OPN2 to PCM mode.
That One Level: The console game features a waterfall in the 'Hakuna Matata' level that is a real pain in the butt to climb. There's also the very annoying puzzles with the monkeys in level 2 and the tricky ostrich rides between them.
While many think the Adult Simba levels are somewhat easier than the cub levels, pretty much everyone agrees that "Be Prepared" is an exercise in frustration. The level is full of Goddamned Bats…including hyenas, cheetahs and literal bats. On top of that, there are lava geysers shooting from the floor, lava dripping from the ceiling and at one point, an entire river of lava that you have to traverse on a tiny floating rock. Good luck not getting knocked off.
Complete Monster: Scar commits the same crimes that his movie counterpart did and even goes beyond that. During the musical, Scar became more and more paranoid as time went by and he also felt that he was being tormented by his older brother even in death. Unwilling to admit that he was terrible at governing the Pride Lands, he instead condemns all his subjects to death so that he wouldn't have to accept that maybe he wasn't as good at being a king that he thought he would be. He also attempted to force himself onto Nala (a scene cut from the film), which becomes even more disturbing in hindsight considering that he tried to have her killed along with his nephew when they were children. The musical version of Scar is nothing more than an egotistical, treacherous, and murderous feline.
Harsher in Hindsight: Endless Night becomes even more heartbreaking after you learn that the actor who originated Adult!Simba on Broadway committed suicide due to a poor relationship with his father.