(By Gerry Wang)
LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE
by Gerry Wang
_____For my birthday,
since I really really really wanted it, my mom gave me
Disney's LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE, which was released
only on video tape. I was pumped up like hell. I mean,
here was the sequel to one of my most favorite cartoons,
as well as the highest-grossing animated picture in
history. It had large footsteps to follow, and I watched
it w/ unfairly high expectations. Another reason why I
was biased in my viewing was....
_____Whereas I woulda
paid my usual $5.00 AMC student discount ticket price to
watch LION KING II had it been released in theaters, this
was a videocassette that cost $14.99! Why are videos so
damn expensive in the first place? The blanks cost like
15 bucks for a 10 pack. Damn capitalist bastards. How
dare they charge you a nut and a half to buy a simple
videotape?? If they put out good product, then perhaps
this arrangement would be feasible.
_____So was LION KING
II worth the $14.99? Yes. I watched it twice, and the
second time around I can honestly say I enjoyed it more.
Plus this is good to watch with girls because they love
Disney's cute little creatures. But the best part is that
you can shut little kids up by popping this baby in.
Multiple times too. So in the end, LION KING II is
ultimately worth the $14.99. Just don't buy it at $19.99
or anything. I am cheap. I know.
_____Was it better than
the original? Nope. The original LION KING was a
sprawling coming-of-age story with Hamletian
simimlarities. Its music was more memorable, the plot
line more tragic, the end more triumphant, and the
animation more majestic. LION KING II is part ROMEO &
JULIET, part FATHER OF THE BRIDE, and part THE OUTSIDERS.
By itself, LION KING II is a very solid family feature.
But compared to its predecessor, it is a satisfactory
_____For those of you
w/ stones for hearts, who didn't watch the first LION
KING, the plot line in this sequel might not make sense,
as there is no effort to go back and re-establish the
foundation of the previous conflict found in the first
installment. So I will provide a general summary of LION
KING I and a more in depth look at LION KING II.
_____The basic conflict
which the first LION KING was primarily about was the
rivalry between the Royal Family, consisting of Simba the
prince and his father, the Lion King Mufasa versus the
evil uncle Scar, who was jealous of Simba's priority to
the ascension of the throne. W/o Simba there, Scar would
have become king of Pride Rock. So he is pissed. He
arranges for Mufasa to be killed, and makes Simba feel
responsible, thus damaging the cub's psyche. Simba runs
away, and Scar usurps the throne w/ his followers.
Eventually, Simba comes back to avenge his father and
_____If you don't have
a soul, then you wouldn't have felt sad at Mufasa's
passing. It is one of the most traumatic animated moments
since Bambi's mother got capped. Such a heart-wrenching
event is absent in the sequel.
_____LION KING II:
SIMBA'S PRIDE picks up where the first one left off.
Simba has assumed the throne, and banished Scar's minions
to the Outlands. And participating in his role in the
Circle of Life, Simba has a daughter named Kiara, who
will eventually become Queen of Pride Rock. (Nevermind
that that makes absolutely no sense. A female can never
be at the head of a pride. It is a scientific fact.
Obviously Disney had to tinker w/ reality again.)
_____Anyways, Kiara is
a spunky lil tyke, frequently disobeying her pops and
wandering off on her own. Reminiscent of Simba himself as
a youth. One day, Kiara wanders into the forbidden
Outlands, and meets a young male cub named Kovu. There is
instant chemistry, but little does Kiara know, Kovu is
the Chosen One, hand-picked by Scar to succeed him. He is
Simba's worst enemy. Kovu is the lion that Scar's minions
Kiara and Kovu together, along with Kovu's mom Xera, who
is Scar's most devout follower. There is tension and
hatred. Xera sees the killer of her lord. Simba sees a
henchling of Scar, whose seed's destiny is to challenge
his throne. But all the cubs see is just another playmate
whom they are developing feelings towards. Kinda like
ROMEO & JULIET and THE OUTSIDERS, you see?
_____Xera whisks her
son away, to hone him into a killing machine, and Simba
forbids Kiara to ever see Kovu. Xera fills Kovu w/ hatred
for Simba, brainwashing him as he grows into adulthood.
Kiara herself grows up into a lionness, ready to leave
the pride and hunt on her own for the first time. Xera
seizes this opportunity and sets up a fake rescuing of
Kiara by Kovu, in order to gain access to Simba. It
_____The rest of the
movie is about Kovu's struggle to do what he thinks is
right. On one hand, he wants to please his mother by
killing Simba, but on the other hand he is in love w/
Kiara, and doesn't want to devastate her by murdering her
father. In fact, he doesn't want any part of this feud in
the first place.
_____All the characters
from the first movie are present, with the lovable Timon
& Pumbaa bringing comic relief as usual. Timon, the
frenetic meekrat is as neurotic as ever, and Pumbaa the
odorous warthog is as flatulent as ever. However, they
have a lesser amount of screen time in the sequel
compared to the first LION KING. I woulda liked to see
more about these two. They are a queer duo.
_____LION KING II:
SIMBA'S PRIDE has more of an Aesop's fable feel to it,
because the moral message is more obvious. But the
morality has many layers. The most important lesson we
learn is one that pertains to real life. We see it in the
conflict in Bosnia. We see it in the African genocides.
Hell, we see it in the gang wars here at home. The lesson
we must learn is that we are all one. We are all human
beings. Why kill your own kind? It's stupid.
theme is that we must all bury the past. We cannot alter
the past, so why linger over it? Revenge is sweet, but
ephemeral. It is best to forgive and forget. For adults,
the message of letting your kids grow up is quite
ubiquitous. Simba's one of those possessive fathers, and
is reluctant to let Kiara grow up and fall in love. This
is what I meant when I said it was part FATHER OF THE
_____Wow, how the hell
did I get all this from a cartoon..........Oh well, let
us ignore my immature fixation with cartoons and move on
to the music!
_____The best song in
LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE is "We Are One,"
which is just as endearing as "Hakuna Matata"
or "Can You Feel The Tonight" or "Circle
of Life," all found on the soundtrack to the first
LION KING. You will find yourself humming along to it
because it is very catchy, and it summarizes the movie's
entire moral message. However, the other songs in LION
KING II are not as memorable.
"Upendi", meaning "love" in Swahili
or some other gibberish language, which is a rip off of
"Kiss The Girl" in LITTLE MERMAID. Another song
is "Love Will Find A Way" which is only
appealing, but unworthy of being made into the obligatory
contemporary-pop single, in this case sung by Kenny
Lattimore and some bald African-American chick. They
shoulda made "We Are One" into a single. It is
a good song.
_____Overall, I found
myself enjoying LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE the second
time I watched it. The first time, I was kinda
disappointed at how it didn't measure to the first LION
KING. But the second time, I was able to appreciate the
fine storytelling and decent music. And the fire sequence
is just as good as anything you will find in the
original. Looks real. Looks like the savannah is on fire.
You know what is weird? The first time around, I never
liked Kovu at all. He looks like a younger, more robust
Scar. I hated Scar. I was appalled that Disney would try
to pass off Kovu as a good guy. But after watching it
again, that little bugger grew on me, and I accepted him
as part of Simba's family. Strange huh? I'm such a
_____So, in the end, I
didn't unfairly criticize LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE
because I was able to watch it more than once. How was I
able to watch it more than once? Because I had to video!
So now we see the benefits in the straight-to-video
system. Go buy this one. Ignore the pornos. (I dare you
to censor that line, Rice!!!!)
* Editor's note: You know I'll do it,
Gerry!!! Haha... =)
NOTE: This review marks the brand new institution of the
Babe-o-meter, which replaces the old Chick-o-meter. The
latter rated the movie on its accessibility to the female
gender. We all know it is freakin impossible to
understand girls these days, so now we have the
Babe-o-meter, which measures the girls actually in the
movie. Keep in mind this is a brain-child of Rice, so
credit must go to him. =) The scale is as follows:
* 4-- Greek Goddesses (Highest)- Some nice, delicious
honeys, changed from "Wet Dream Time" at Rice's
request; i.e. Jenny McCarthy
* 3-- Lovely- Pretty girls, but not knockouts; i.e.
* 2-- Semi Do-able- Middle of the road type of girls;
i.e. Jennie Garth
* 1-- I am limp (Lowest)- Butt ugly banshees; i.e. my sis
Jennifer Wang =)
LION KING II's Babe-o-meter: 1- I am limp (It's a G-rated
cartoon. Too bad, you Hentai lovers)