In this beloved Disney classic, we follow the epic journey of the young lion, Simba. Simba’s life is perfect: He has a loving mother and father in Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Madge Sinclair). He’s got great friends like Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), lovely girlfriend Nala (Niketa Calame-speaking, Laura Williams-singing), and a wise mentor in Rafiki (Robert Guillaume). Best of all, Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas-speaking, Jason Weaver-singing) is set to inherit his father’s kingdom in the beautiful plains of Kenya.
But the young cub’s life is irrevocably altered when his jealous uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), conspires with the feckless hyenas to orchestrate Mufasa’s death and steal his brother’s kingdom, and his power. After witnessing the death of his father, the innocent, albeit entitled and self-centered, little cub runs away and is taken in by Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), who are basically the animal equivalents of the quasi-irresponsible uncles who love you but are also totally lax on discipline.
After several cat years of almost never thinking about home and what’s become of his mother and his friends, Simba (Matthew Broderick-speaking, Joseph Williams-singing), who is in the prime of his life, whilst his uncle Scar has only gotten older and weaker, isn’t here for responsibilities. He “couldn’t wait to be king” when it was something to be handed to him on a silver platter, but now that he has to work for it, our boy just says “Nah”. He’s cool living a minimalist, semi-nomadic lifestyle with his bros and isn’t trying to give that up to save dozens of lives and reclaim what’s rightfully his. Too much work. It isn’t until former-love interest Nala (Moira Kelly-speaking, Sally Dworskey-singing) re-enters his life and uses the power of the kitty to convince Simba to do the right thing that pussy-whipped Simba now has a good enough reason to go home and save everyone.
A heart-warming tale for the whole family, The Lion King teaches us that power comes to those who take it, nothing is guaranteed, and that the fastest way to get a man to do anything is by appealing to his little head. If it weren’t already obvious, I’m not here for Simba, and my girl Nala is clearly the unsung hero of this flick. She and his momma are too good for him. Also, who the hell names a scarred-up kid Scar and expects them not to develop a complex?! Mufasa (which literally means king) and Scar’s parents are assholes and this could have all been avoided if they hadn’t been playing favourites, but whatever. I love the play on Hamlet, and the soundtrack is everything, so I’ll let it ride.
I give this one 4.75 stars!