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Going back to what I originally said about the remake's visuals, part of the reason why the original film doesn't initially strike viewers as so monarchist is because it's told as a children's story with cartoon characters. Viewers seeing cartoons get right away that this story about kings and destiny and good and evil isn't meant to be taken literally, just as a fable about moral direction. When I was a kid, my sense of scale was very small, so hearing this grand story about how Simba has to return to his duty as king just registered to me as "choosing your duty is good" not "monarchies based on serfdom are inherently more righteous than populist foreign takeovers". So with the remake retelling the story 99% the same but with realistic visuals, the events seem "more real" and therefore so do all the xenophobic implications.
Compare that to the Lion King play, where the plot is the same but the actors are in stylized costumes merely portraying the impression of animals instead of literal animals. Or compare The Jungle Book remake a few years prior, where the increased realistic detail correlated with a more nuanced story, one where Shere Khan is suggested to have a point about Mowgli's destructive capabilities and as the story goes on the "laws of the jungle" get blurred and then rewritten.
Edited by Tuckerscreator on Dec 9th 2019 at 9:49:13 AM
My Little Pony had a similar problem with portraying an absolute monarchy as good and fair, especially when they introduced a school, which came with an education ministry laying down rules that the protagonist did not care for. In the end, she basically decides to overrule the ministry because, hey, she's a princess, she can just overrule them if it suits her.
And it's not like this doesn't happen in real life, either. The Abrahamic god is basically an absolute monarch in all but name.
I swear this is taking the fun out of such cartoons.
@Redmess I think what slimcoder is trying to say is that treating positive portrayals of monarchism as bad comes across as somewhat killjoy-ish. It's something a lot of cartoons and fantasy in general does.
I will say that I'm not sure portraying monarchism positively is necessarily a bad thing. Again, it's pretty common, especially among children's stories, especially from Disney. I mean, just about every girl goes through a princess phase at some point. And sure, "princess culture" has its share of criticisms (I had to do an essay on the topic), but rarely for glorifying monarchism.
For example, there are criticisms of Super Mario's damsel in distress formula, but, I rarely see someone seriously argue that Mario is problematic for aiding a monarchy.
And I know starting any sort of argument with "I'm not a X, but..." is usually schmuck bait, but, just because democracy is the best system doesn't mean we should never portray other systems positively.
Yup pretty much.
It’s taking the fun out of stories like Black Panther or Aquaman.
Yes a monarchy is not a good system but it’s fiction, nothing wrong with having a story bout a good & noble king.
I wasn't saying it's a bad thing, mind you. What I meant is that sometimes these depictions clash with our modern ideas about what is fair government. It's more an issue of analysis than of enjoyment.
And just because I can analyse it as problematic doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. And we are on TV Tropes here, which is a lot more analytic and academic than most fan sites (something some people seem to forget at times).
Honestly I wouldn't mind seeing childrens films taking on more complex depictions of governments and good vs evil. Yellow Submarine made a big impression on me as a kid because it was the first film I saw where the bad guys were forgiven and repented instead of being either all driven out or killed. And though the prequels had many many flaws, the idea of an intergalactic democracy like in Phantom Menace or Lilo and Stitch with lots of different peoples figuring out answers to problems held my interest as a kid. Movies with monarchies, chosen ones, Always Chaotic Evil, they're doable, but most succeed more as personal metaphors than as societal ones.
Yeah, I think that would be interesting. It doesn't have to be quite as complex as real life political systems (and arguably, cartoon monarchies are vastly simplified as well), and it could still provide interesting narratives.
But yeah, I think monarchies and princesses will always remain popular, thanks to our apparent secret collective desire to be ruled by a good king.
On another note, there's an Everything Wrong With... video out of the movie:
Edited by Redmess on Dec 10th 2019 at 12:29:41 PM
With monarchism, I expect it to remain popular for a couple reasons, and not necessarily that we actually want to be ruled by one per se.
The big reasons, I would argue, are:
American presidents can be plenty glamorous too, at least compared to your average European Prime Minister.
From that trailer, I just realized something interesting: in the original, Zazu was the closest to being able to figure out something fishy was going on with Mufasa's death (since Scar knocked him out cold during the stampede). So the logical thing for Scar to do would be to either eat or banish Zazu (and it would likely be the former, since that opening gag suggests that Scar would really like to eat that bird). I wonder if that was ever part of the original script?
Considering that, it makes much more sense why Scar keeps Zazu in a cage, which is never explained in the movie.
Knowing Zazu being the Pridelands's Butt-Monkey, he either got Laser-Guided Amnesia about being knocked out or assumed it was a falling rock that did it.
That sounds fair.
Also, Scar trying and failing to force Sarabi to marry him makes him seem oddly docile. He's ruling the pride and his kingdom with an iron fist, but now he is suddenly taking no for an answer? Also, how many years has it been? Shouldn't he have demanded this right after Mufasa's death? For that matter, wouldn't all the lionesses qualify for being Scar's wife?
Why add it in the first place? What on earth does it add? It's not like it's going anywhere, and the original was fine without it. If anything, this movie being so photorealistic makes me question the realism of this plot point more than if they had done it in the original cartoon.
The movie ultimately removed so much of the whimsy of the original, which had a detrimental impact since the movie was STILL A MUSICAL. It looked like documentary footage with voice overs.
I know as an American, watching Darkest Hour was interesting if only to see more of the specifics of the British Parliament system. The royal family is obviously still active, but the vast majority of their political power is ceremonial rather than enacting policy. It's really not much different than the family dynasties in the US, like the Kennedys or Bush.
Black Panther isn't a great example of something that avoids this.
Much to the opposite, Black Panther has for years had the problem that the institution he's trying to protect is really problematic and difficult to justify to its American audience.
That's why almost every villain Panther has these days (including in the movie) is technically right and is generally only wrong in the way they behave, why he's constantly giving up the throne, why it's often a moral dilemma killing his enemies, and why story arcs often end with him promising to change Wakanda only for it not to take because that would end the franchise.
If anything, Black Panther angles into the skid.
I'm going to be blunt and say "this isn't the best message, but pointing it out is wrong because then you'd be a killjoy" isn't a very positive viewpoint.
Neither is "everybody does it, so why bring it up," for that matter.
Edited by KnownUnknown on Dec 10th 2019 at 6:02:41 AM
Well, the movies could set up a constitutional monarchy and T'Challa can still serve as protector of Wakanda (since everyone wants to be a superhero). Theoretically, that's what the Lion Pride is in the Lion King. They're not so much as rulers as they are protectors of an ecosystem. Heck, in the original animated film, it's implied that the Pride could leave Pride Rock in search of new lands to call home.
What about the lion pride says "constitutional monarchy", exactly? From what we see, there is a king and all of one advisor, Zazu. Just because Mufasa has an advisor does not mean there is a parliament. Even absolute kings needed a court full of advisors to run a large country (and modern dictators do as well). The absolute part means the king has final say, not that the king does everything in person.
Mufasa doesn't really seem to do much ruling though, on a day to day basis. Everything seems to pretty much run itself, only when it doesn't (like hyenas in the Pride Lands) does he go out and do anything.
His main job seems to be managing the food pyramid.
Despite the "King" title, the whole Pride Rock shebang is run more like a loose tribal system of sorts with Mufasa as the chieftain.
Although you could make a case that the hunting lioness (headed by Sarabi) pack would ideally function like a parliament of sorts.
It occurs to me they've had a perfectly good Live action Lion King for years now,why not simply adapt the play based off the cartoon to the silver screen instead?
It could have the same success as Black Panther!
Maybe they noticed Cats being made in the distance and thought "...Nope. Not doing that shit."
What's interesting is that lion prides are considered matriarchal, because the females form the core of the group, though they don't seem to have a clear pack leader from what I'm reading. This is in stark contrast to the cultural portrayal as male lions as the leader of the pack. That would make for an interesting adaptation all it's own.
Also, male lions that stop being fertile get kicked from the pack, and the pack gets taken over by younger lions. Apparently male lions have a short life expectancy too compared to the females. (source).
Real male lions have a harsh life, it seems, compared to the females. That would make for an interesting deconstruction of the whole traditional "king of the jungle" trope.
Hell the female lions are the ones that actually do all the hunting.
The guy just sleeps around and takes in the spoils of their work.
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How well does it match the trope?