Author's Note: I fixed the Wall of Text. It should be easier to read now.
Hi. I'm Patworx, and I'm going to be taking a look at Confused Matthew's three-part review of The Lion King. Confused Matthew is not a horrible critic, but he's certainly made his share of stinkers and his Lion King review is especially bad. Admittedly, I am kind of biased since The Lion King is one of my favorite movies, but you can trust this won't be a lame fanboy rant. This review is terrible and someone needs to call it out. Let's get started.
So this review, like all of his others, starts out with his opening sequence, which is kind of cool in its own quirky way. Then, Confused Matthew gets into his opening rant. He sounds almost traumatized as he describes what it was like for him seeing The Lion King in theatres. He then says he predicted that The Lion King would be a flop which, of course, it wasn't. The Lion King's monumental success left Confused Matthew "dumbfounded", which was exactly how his staggering Opinion Myopia left me. He then says that the only redeeming quality The Lion King has is its animation, but as you'll see, he gives brief compliments to several other things throughout the movie.
Getting into the movie, he addresses "The Circle of Life", which he claims is . . . actually good. So already he has complimented something that isn't related to the animation. The criticism doesn't actually kick off until Simba's introduction. He criticizes the scene where Simba pesters Mufasa to wake up and show him the kingdom, calling Simba "an asshole." Simba is just being an impatient little kid, which is perfectly normal. Go out and ask random people on the street if they ever bugged their parents like this as children. I'm pretty sure that a lot, if not the majority, will say they did. Simba is NOT an asshole. As a child, he shows a lot of arrogance, but you know what? He's a kid! He hasn't been alive for very long and he thinks he is invincible. This is very commonplace, but Confused Matthew just doesn't seem to understand it. He expects Simba to behave like an adult, even though he isn't one. He then says that other Disney heroes were much more moral. Really? You mean like the Beast, who was such a dick to everyone that a witch placed a curse on him to make him ugly? Or how about Aladdin, who first entered the cave of wonders because he wanted to be filthy rich? Yeah, those guys are saints.
When Simba finds out about the elephant graveyard, he gets curious and decides to go check it out. Confused Matthew says this is "because he's an asshole." He actually goes so far as to chastise Simba for "defying his elders". Because good children never disobey adults. Ever. He also takes Nala along "because he's an asshole". Simba just found out about what he thinks is this awesome place, so of course he'd want to take his best friend to see this place with him. But no, according to Confused Matthew, Simba intentionally put Nala in danger just to be "an asshole". The way he frames it makes it sound like Simba wakes up every day and asks himself, "How will I cause trouble for my family and friends today?" That makes no sense.
The next thing Confused Matthew rants about is the song, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Not that he actually has a problem with the song from a musical perspective, it's just that he thinks it's about "how much of an asshole [Simba] is". And, of course, he moans about Simba disrespecting his elders with the way he treats Zazu, but he takes it a step further by saying he "[left] Zazu for dead". When we get to the part where the hyena's show up, Confused Matthew takes the front of toughness Simba puts on as him be an asshole again. Sure, why not? Just ignore the fact that Simba was genuinely scared when he first heard the hyena’s laughter. He also seems to want the hyena's to eat Simba, but he's probably just joking on that.
He ends the first part of the review by listing all the things Simba has done that make him "an asshole" and asking Lion King fans to explain to him why he should like Simba. He addresses the argument that Simba is just a kid by saying that Simba is somehow worse than most kids. How is Simba worse? Hell if I know.
Confused Matthew picks up with Mufasa and Simba’s heart-to-heart in the aftermath of the hyena incident. This scene “confused” Confused Matthew. He didn’t understand how Simba could love his father but still disobey him. Well, going by that logic, there must not be that many kids out there who love their parents. He also says that Mufasa can’t be that good of a parent if Simba turned out to be “an asshole”. Clearly, Confused Matthew doesn’t seem to understand that a kid can be mischievous without being a total bad seed. Then, we get to “Be Prepared”, which Confused Matthew argues is completely useless because apparently we already know that Scar and the hyena’s are teaming up to kill Mufasa and Simba. This is actually not true. We knew that Scar wanted to be the king of Pride Rock and that he probably tricked Simba into going to the elephant graveyard hoping that he died, but it wasn’t until this scene that we learn that Scar has a grand scheme to steal the thrown or that the hyena’s are actually in on it.
Confused Matthew breezes right through the stampede only to say that the death scene isn’t that sad. Are you kidding me? Then what is sad to him, a movie where two sibling watch their mother get raped, shoot their rabies-infected dog in the head, and then die a slow and painful death from starvation? And of course, there’s his argument that Simba thinking Mufasa’s death was his fault doesn’t make any sense because he knows he didn’t actually kill him. Once again, Simba is a kid. He’s still traumatized from losing his father and then his uncle, who he trusts, tells him that it’s his fault. We’re adults who have seen what Scar had done, but Simba is young and naïve so of course he’s going to believe his uncle, especially in his panicked state. But that’s not all; he then has the nerve to say that it was good that Scar drove Simba out of pride rock because Simba would have been a bad leader. Ignoring the cynicism and callousness of this notion, Confused Matthew once again forgets that Simba is just a kid. Sure, he isn’t fit to rule now, but there’s no reason he can’t be fit to rule when he grows up. Do you think Barack Obama was fit to run the USA when he was ten? Of course not! His Kenyan overlords probably put him through a shitload of rigorous training to prepare him.
The next point Confused Matthew tries to make is that the rest of the pride should not have taken Scar’s word that Simba was dead. Why not? They have no reason not to trust him. They’re not sitting around watching all these events unfold like us. Next comes the introduction scene of Timon and Pumbaa. Okay, now this is especially a stretch. He actually says that Timon and Pumbaa are villains. Even after they rescued Simba and gave him a safe haven for all those years. Sure, at first it was partially about having someone to protect them, but it is made explicitly clear that they care about Simba. Notice that they actually CRIED when they thought they were losing him to Nala, or that they left their ‘Hakuna Matata’ paradise behind to help him in the fight against Scar. Also, they were not laughing at Simba for telling them his theory about the stars; they were laughing at the theory, which Simba had just said “somebody told him”. If they were more knowledgeable about Simba’s past, they would not have laughed. What’s most ridiculous is when he says that Timon and Pumbaa are just as bad for teaching Simba about ‘Hakuna Matata’ as Scar his for killing his father, convincing him his father’s death was his fault, and driving him out of his home. He ends his little diatribe about Timon and Pumbaa by criticizing Disney for promoting their morals with the song, “Hakuna Matata”. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK!!!!! Is it really that hard to understand that Hakuna Matata is supposed to be an anti-moral?! They’re not actually advocating that kids be lazy and “turn their back on the world”. And the reason Hakuna Matata is “portrayed in a positive light” is because it’s being sung by two characters who believe in it.
Confused Matthew is really thrown for a loop by the Time Skip. He claims that Simba has no personality as an adult and even goes so far as to say he may as well be a different character. Well, Simba may not have as much personality as he used to, but to call him “a vegetable” sound pretty ridiculous to me. It makes sense that he would lose most of his arrogance as he got older because that’s what happens as people age. They become more mature. Obviously, Confused Matthew doesn’t understand basic developmental psychology. And the reason we don’t see more of this development is because it happened during the Time Skip. We “skipped” the events that happened during that “time”. Have I spelled it out enough? Because I sure as hell hope so.
He then wines about both Scar and “The Fellowship of the Three Assholes” lying around with nothing to do. Never mind that these scenes show that the pride has gone to shit and that Simba is still privately grieving over his father’s death. And then he asserts that Simba would have run the kingdom just as badly as Scar did because of the similarities between “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and the way Scar has been running things. He never seems to consider that maybe, just maybe, this irony could have been intentional, that perhaps Scar’s rule serves a Deconstruction of Simba’s childlike perception of what being a king is like. No, to Confused Matthew, there is no way this movie could possibly be that clever. He’d be more likely to believe that the movie was made by Martians then that it has any kind of Fridge Brilliance. However, his next criticism is something that I actually kind of understand; how was Rafiki supposed to know that Simba was alive by performing weird charms on the grass that Simba laid down on. Even so, he is a shaman, and he does seem to have a bizarre connection with the supernatural, so it isn’t that unbelievable.
Confused Matthew also isn’t too crazy about the love story, claiming that Simba and Nala fell in love after “three seconds of screen time together”. It leads you to wonder if he even remembers that this Nala and the Nala that was his best friend as a kid are one in the same. Simba and Nala were merely best friends as children (they were even disgusted at the idea of being married to each other) but now as adults this attraction is starting to form. Nala thought Simba was dead and Simba thought he would never see Nala again, but now that Nala has reappeared in Simba’s life, he is actually starting to care for someone and it forces him to start to wonder if he should go back to Pride Rock and take his place as the king.
By the time the final part of this review starts up, confused Matthew is in the middle of the aftermath of Nala’s reappearance in Simba’s life. He doesn’t think that Simba and Nala’s love story deserves its own song and he says that Timon and Pumbaa are “assholes” for not wanting to lose Simba, totally glossing over this being evidence that they actually care about him. He also criticizes the character Nala by saying that she doesn’t do anything. As I have previously stated, Nala’s arrival is the turning point where Simba starts to think that maybe it’s time to go back. Confused Matthew does bring this point up, but he says that it’s actually “the monkey” that convinces Simba to go back. Why can’t it be a combination of both? There is no reason Simba’s return can’t be influenced first by Nala, then by Rafiki, and finally cemented by the ghost of Mufasa. He also belittles the fight that Simba and Nala have later, even though that scene was very natural when you consider that he was refusing to man up and fight for his people.
When Rafiki pops up, Confused Matthew complains that the Rafiki character serves no purpose in the movie, even though he just said a while ago that Rafiki serves the purpose of convincing Simba to go back to Pride Rock. He also complains that the viewer doesn’t know much about Rafiki. True, but isn’t that a part of his charm? His next big complaint is about the scene where Mufasa speaks to Simba from the clouds. He wonders why he didn’t appear to Simba before. Does he mean when Simba was a little cub who could easily be ripped apart by hyenas. Or how about when he was living the “Hakuna Matata” life and wasn’t thinking about his responsibilities? Really, this was actually the BEST time for Mufasa to talk to Simba, especially since the pride was on the verge of starving to death. This transitions into a big rant about Disney underestimating childrens’ intelligence, ending with him saying that Mufasa doesn’t say anything important to Simba. I disagree. After listening to Nala, and then Rafiki, it is Mufasa’s words that finally push him to the edge and drive him to challenge Scar for the throne. Next, he says that Timon and Pumbaa helping Simba fight Scar doesn’t make sense because they showed no signs of caring about Simba. Except that they clearly are shown to care about Simba when they CRIED OVER THE IDEA OF HIM LEAVING THEM! Oh, wait a minute; that was just because “they’re assholes”, right? On the plus side, he did admit the “hula-hula” scene was funny.
His next complaint is that the lions should have picked up on Scar being a liar after Simba turned out to be alive. Or maybe Scar fooled them into thinking he just made a mistake. He even says that he “didn’t expect to see [Simba] alive”. He also says that Zazu should have remembered that Scar flung him against the wall, but Zazu’s back was turned when that happened. Based on the fact that being knocked out leaves someone’s memory a bit fuzzy, it’s very realistic that he wouldn’t know what Scar did. For all he knows, he simply flew into the wall by accident. I will admit, however, that Scar trying to blame Simba for Mufasa’s death pokes a major hole in his lie. That’s probably the biggest point CM got right.
His next complaint is that Scar had no reason to tell Simba that he killed Mufasa. Scar told him about killing Mufasa because he is a sociopath who wanted to see the look of realization on Simba’s face just before he falls to his doom. It’s just like when Light Yagami told Naomi that he was Kira just before her death. And then he actually complains about the movie ending with a climactic fight between Simba and Scar instead of “some kind of moral or lesson”. And he says that the hyena’s just disappear after killing Scar because they’re never shown again. Let’s see; after Scar’s death, Simba stands on the top of Pride Rock and growls with the other lions and then the movie time skips to when Pride Rock is back to normal and Kiara is born, giving the hyena’s plenty of time to leave Pride Rock. So what CM is saying is that the writers clearly must have forgotten about the hyena’s because their last scene is not the last scene in the movie. For his last complaint within the movie, he chooses to focus on Timon and Pumbaa standing on top of Pride Rock with Simba. He says that they don’t deserve it because they held Simba back from going back to Pride Rock as a kid and getting killed by the hyena’s. And let’s not forget that they didn’t even know he was a king.
He concludes his review by saying that The Lion King’s aesops are that you SHOULD turn your back on the world and that you SHOULDN’T turn your back on the world. Once again, he doesn’t realize that Timon’s speech about turning your back on the world is an anti-moral.
So that, my friends, is why Confused Matthew’s Lion King review is a load of bullshit. Almost every point he makes has at least one valid counterargument. He only made one or two good points and those don’t even come close to ruining the movie. I hope you enjoyed this liveblog and I would love to make more in the future. Patworx, out!