Though I’m aware of how unpopular my opinion is on The Lion King, I’m standing by it and I’m just going to say that I wasn’t that impressed. It wasn’t a BAD movie, per say, but for some reason, it didn’t do much for me. I’m guessing I had a similar reaction to the movie when I saw it as a child, since I didn’t really remember anything about it when I saw it again for the first time in years just a few weeks ago… Although I didn’t particularly enjoy it, there were still a number of things I found interesting to point out from my notes.
Scar is definitely a typical Disney villain. He fits the role so well — misunderstood, darker characterization, sassy, selfish… I mean, he kills his own brother to be king and manipulates Simba (a CHILD), putting him in danger and later making him feel guilty about his own father’s death in which he was not responsible for. Side note, Mufasa’s death was the best part of the movie, in my opinion. Yes, it’s terrible, and I definitely cried for a bit and had to pause the movie. But for me, the last interaction between father and son was the most realistic representation of raw emotion in the entire film. I feel like the rest of the movie as a whole was pretty corny, personally. An adult Simba “sees” his father in the sky and tells him about his fear to return to the Pride Lands because that means he will have to “face his past.” I understand the connection to Hamlet, with King Hamlet telling Prince Hamlet to avenge his death and restore the kingdom and all, but I just couldn’t emotionally connect with the moment.
I think part of the problem is that I couldn’t really connect with Simba, either. As a young lion cub, he acted like a cocky little brat who knew that he would one day be king. It’s refreshing to see him turn humble as he spends time away from the Pride Lands with Timon and Pumbaa. However, I could still never relate to even the adult Simba. I did, however, like the “Can You Feel The Love” sequence with Nala; I thought that was super sweet.
When it comes down to it, Timon and Pumbaa were what kept my attention. While immature, their humor was actually funny to me at times and kept things interesting.
Random thought: the Hyennas were all voiced by Latino and Black voice actors, and had silly outcast personalities. Zazu, on the other hand, is something like the king’s attendant/advisor and sounds British. He has pretty dry humor, is very dutiful, and plays by the rules. Seems like there’s somewhat of a presence of stereotypes… Not sure if they’re quite offensive or not, but it’s something to be noted. Could be interesting to look into…
Overall, I didn’t really like The Lion King, but there IS a lot to work with in terms of character analysis/development.