Reviews: The Lion King

Everything wrong with "The Lion King" in 400 words or less (Spoilers) (duh)

1: Animals bow before the lions, who eat them on a regular basis. 2: The white lion is the hero, and the dark lion is the villain. That's racist. 3: "And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life" Except the hyenas, apparently. 4: Simba wants to be king to do whatever he wants, and that's adorable. Scar wants to be king to do whatever he wants, and that's terrible. 5: Simba is a dick to royal advisors. 6: Convenient father to the rescue is convenient. 7: We interrupt this Disney movie to replay the nazi propaganda Triumph of the Will. 8: Hyenas agree to help a lion kill another lion, even when specifically told that the lion kingship will not cease, and with no guarantee that Scar would care about them when they had served their purpose, or that he wouldn't turn against them if the need arises. 9: How long is that stampede? 10: Scar has the chance to kill a lone and clueless cub that may eventually menace his rule, but let him go, and gives the task to his incompetent sidekicks instead. 11: After the dramatic death of his father, Simba happily sings that he does not care about anything. 12: The return of Nala does not include a lapdance. 13: Also, that's not the way lions have XXX fun. 14: Also, seriously? On a kids film? First a murder, and now animal sex? 15: Also, who is Nala's father? Mufasa? Scar? Because that means that they are either brothers or cousins. Either way, eek. 16: I know that Scar is supposed to be a terrible king, but how did he turn a paradise into a desert in less than a generation? Who is he, Montgomery Burns? 17: Wait, was the vision in clouds just for Simba, or anyone could see it? What do people in the African cities thought about an ominous lion in the sky saying "Remember who you are"? 18: "The rightful heir to the throne returns" cliche. 19: Why tell Simba the truth about Musafa's death? Just kill him already! 20: Yes, Scar was the villain, but... he was eaten alive? Isn't that a bit excesive, for a kids film? I'm just saying 21: Scar may have been a terrible king, but still, he was a king. So, he will have his own star in the sky, right? Right? 22: How did a desert turn back into a paradise in even a shorter time? That's not how ecology works. Or do lions have terraforming habilities we have not heard about?

Movie sin tally: 22

Sentence: In an Elephant Graveyard.

The Lion King (and a bit of Kimba)

This is it. This is the most financially successful entry in the Disney Animated Canon. Number one. The top of the heap. But does it deserve this honor? Read and find out. (Short answer: Hell yes it does.)

Let's start with the film itself. Cribbing from Hamlet, Bambi and, yes, Kimba, this is presented as Disney's first "original" film. While this isn't totally true, this doesn't demerit the film at all. Not at all.

From the opening of the film, the Circle of Life, you can tell this film is gonna be good. But even this Crowning Moment Of Awesome fails to illustrate just how good this film is. It's one of the most tightly plotted films in the Canon - there aren't any Big Lipped Alligator Moments, every song is an Establishing Character Moment for the singer, and, best of all, EVERY character - even the Plucky Comic Relief - are three-dimensional, and probably the most well-rounded characters in the Disney canon. The soundtrack is one of only four films in the Disney Renaissance to not involve Alan Menken, and while the other three films were quite good, this film is chock full of Awesome Music. All of these elements - a Crowning Soundtrack of Awesome, a great and truly evil villain, and three-dimensional protagonists, and the best usage of comic relief in the canon - make a film that, in This Troper's humble opinion, not only sits at the top of the Disney Renaissance, but would even make Walt Disney himself prouder than any other film in the canon.

As for the Kimba controversy, well... I've concluded that, yes, The Lion King does take a lot of inspiration from Kimba. However, it has enough differences - the lack of humans, the personality differences between Kimba and Simba and Caesar and Mufasa, and the entire narrative owing more to Hamlet than Kimba, which owed more to Animal Farm - make it more than able to stand on its own merits. Particularly, Scar is a far more effective villain than Claw was. However, I do think Disney should put an "inspired by Osamu Tezuka's Kimba The White Lion" in the credits. I highly recommend not only The Lion King, but all its stated inspirations. Oh, and catch the Broadway musical if you can - it's awesome.