Saturday, October 27, 2012

Movie Review of Disney's "The Lion King"

Disney's The Lion King was the 32nd movie out of Disney's animated feature movies. It was released in 1994 and was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. It won 2 Oscars: Best Original Music Score by Hans Zimmer and Best Original Song "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Tim Rice and Elton John. It was nominated 2 other times that year for Best Original Song for "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata."Featuring the voice talents of Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Young Simba), Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba), Jeremy Irons (Scar), Niketa Calame (Young Nala), Moira Kelly (Adult Nala), Nathan Lane (Timon), Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa), Robert Guillaume (Rafiki), Rowan Atkinson (Zazu), Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi), Cheech Marin (Banzai) and the legendary James Earl Jones as "Mufasa,"you have an elegantly put together cast of characters that made this movie one of Disney's most famous and best liked.

The gathering of the animals in the beginning of the movie. The blue bird we are following is Zazu.
The movie starts off with all the African animals gathering together with the song "Circle of Life" playing over top of it. They are gathering to see their king and queen Lion's firstborn son and heir. We see a baboon anoint the baby with some sort of fruit juice and dirt. Then the baboon takes the baby lion cub out to the end of a rocky peak and holds him high into the air for all the animals to see and bow down to, which they do. At the end of the song the screen goes to black with "THE LION KING" written on it in red.
First Lines in the movie spoken by Scar
The words vanish and we see a wild mouse scurrying across the floor of a cave that slowly fades up from the blackness. The mouse is caught by a lion with a black mane and a scar over his left eye. This is Scar (Irons), the younger brother of the present Lion King, Mufasa (Jones). Scar is moaning to the mouse about the unfairness of both their lives when he is interrupted by a bird named Zazu (Atkinson) who has come out ahead of the king to find out why Scar wasn't at the ceremony that morning with the presentation of King Mufasa's son, Simba. Scar tries to eat Zazu but Mufasa arrives in time to stop him and asks Scar why he wasn't there that morning. He makes excuses that no one believes and we find out that Scar WAS the heir to the throne until "the little hairball was born." Mufasa takes offense at this and Scar turns away and starts to walk off. Mufasa tells Scar not to turn his back on him but Scar replies "Oh, no, Mufasa. Perhaps you shouldn't turn your back on me." Mufasa asks if it's a challenge but Scar backs down and says no but all the signs say he's up to no good. Scar walks away and Mufasa asks Zazu "What am I going to do with him?" Zazu, "He'd make a very handsome throw rug." Mufasa, "Zazu!" Zazu, "And just think, whenever he gets dirty, you can take him out and beat him."
Rafiki's Tree home
The light crossfades to a picture of the savanna with rainclouds overhead and then we see it start to rain bringing life to plants and creatures alike. We zoom in on one huge tree where the baboon, Rafiki, lives. He is painting a picture on the tree wall of his home of baby Simba. The lights fade out slowly until only he painting remains until it fades too and we find ourselves looking out at Pride Rock where a young lion cub is up looking around.
Picture of the painting of baby Simba in Rafiki's tree home that Rafiki made
When he sees the sun start to rise he turns and runs into the cave where the rest of the pride is asleep yelling at his dad to wake up because he promised he show him the kingdom. Mufasa gets up and takes Simba (Thomas) up to the very top of Pride Rock and shows him the whole kingdom which is everything that the light touches. There's a shadowy place that Mufasa tells Simba never to go to because it is beyond their borders. Then he takes his son and shows him around the pride lands. We meet up with them as they are watching antelope run by and Zazu lands on the ground in front of Mufasa to give him the morning report. As he is doing this Simba starts to practice pouncing. When his dad finds out he starts to help him. He tells Zazu to turn away from him, which he does without question and then Mufasa starts to tell Simba what to do while Zazu is still rattling on about the daily news. Eventually Simba pounces on the silly bird much to Zazu's humility when they are interrupted by a gopher who tells Zazu important news which Zazu relays to Mufasa telling him that hyenas have entered the pride lands. Mufasa orders Zazu to take Simba home despite his protests and goes off to deal with the trespassers.
Lights come up on yet a different area of Pride Rock and we see Scar there and Simba comes up to talk to his uncle. He tells him about what his father showed him and Scar takes advantage of the situation by telling Simba that the dark shadowy place where Simba was told not to go was an elephant graveyard but that he still shouldn't go there. Of course Simba runs off immediately to get his friend Nala (Calame) and ask his mom if they can go to the waterhole and his mom agrees as long as Zazu goes with them which does not make the pair of cubs happy. So on the way to the water hole Simba and Nala come up with a plan to get away from Zazu's watchful eyes and this is done during the song "Just Can't Wait to Be King," wherein Simba sings about what he's going to do when he becomes king and Zazu protesting points that he doesn't  agree with. However the point is they are able to distract him enough to escape and they make their way to the elephant graveyard where Zazu catches up to them right before they are confronted by 3 hyenas who obviously plan to make a meal out of the cubs and the bird. A chase & fight sequence ensues wherein Zazu gets sent off and Simba and Nala get cornered by the hyenas until Mufasa, who was alerted by Zazu, comes and saves them just in the nick of time. On the way home Mufasa instructs Zazu to take Nala home while he teaches his son a lesson. The music changes here to a sad tone that matches Mufasa's feelings as he talks with his son.
Mufasa is very disappointed in Simba because he deliberately disobeyed him but also because he put Nala in danger. Simba says he was just trying to be brave like his dad. Mufasa tells him that "I'm only brave when I have to be. Simba, being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble." Simba, "But you're not scared of anything." Mufasa, "I was today...I thought I might lose you." Simba, "I guess even kings get scared, huh? But you know what? I bet those hyenas were even scareder." "'Cause nobody messes with your dad." Then they have a father son wrestling match ending up with some advice to Simba from his father, Mufasa, about how the stars in the sky are where the great kings of the past look down on them. He tells Simba that they will always be with him and so will he. (Famous last words)
The end of "Be Prepared"
We leave those two and rendezvous with Scar and the hyenas who are plotting to take over the pride lands. Scar tells them that they are going to murder Mufasa and Simba too so that he can be king. He explains his plan somewhat during the song "Be Prepared." This song is full of tyrant symbolism and references including Nazi Germany and Hitler. The whole scene ends with Scar and all of his hyena minions laughing at the moon.
Scar leaves Simba in the gorge
The next day we find Simba led on a wild goose chase by Scar who tells him to wait down in the gorge by a tree because Mufasa has a 'surprise' for him and it's "to die for." Then Scar goes and gives his hyena minions the signal to start a stampede of wildebeest that will go through the gorge where Simba is waiting for his dad. After that's started and we see Simba running for his life we go over to where Mufasa and Zazu are and Zazu says "the herd is on the move."
Mufasa and Zazu notice the herd on the move

"That's odd." replies Mufasa who is then interrupted by a hard breathing Scar who tells Mufasa that Simba's down in the gorge where the stampede is taking place. Mufasa rushes to Simba's aid and Zazu flies over the gorge trying to spot where Simba is. He sees him hanging on to a painfully thin tree that is almost broken down by the herd. Zazu tells Simba that his father is coming and flies back to Mufasa to point out where Simba is. Mufasa hurries into the stampede and follows it until he gets near Simba.
Scar watching and pacing during the stampede
Scar is pacing the cliffs watching like a hawk both king and prince when Zazu flies up to him and says, "Oh, Scar, this is awful! What'll we do? What'll we do? I'll go back for help, that's what I'll do. I'll go back to--" Scar hits Zazu who hits a wall and slides to the base of the stone unconscious. Meanwhile Simba is still holding onto that tree which Mufasa has finally reached when it snaps sending Simba flying through the air until Mufasa makes an enormous leap and catches him in his mouth. Scar sees this still pacing as the music reflects the struggle.
Mufasa save Simba from the stampede
Suddenly Simba is knocked out of Mufasa's mouth by a passing wildebeest. Hooves pound the ground around him and just before he gets flattened Mufasa's there and picks him up again with his mouth and takes him to the edge of the cliff and bentley sets him down on the rock but then Mufasa gets knocked in the side by a wildebeest's horns and falls down under the stampede again. The music is constantly getting faster and more desperately sounding as Simba's eyes frantically search the stampede below him for some sign of his dad then suddenly at the music's crescendo Mufasa makes a huge leap out of the stampede and grabs onto the cliff face with his claws.
Mufasa leaps out of the stampede and claws at the cliff
The cliff is almost perpendicular to the ground meaning that Mufasa has started to slip. Simba sees this and hurries to climb behind the rock he's on to reach the one his dad is heading to. He neither hears nor sees any of what occurs next.
Mufasa: "Scar! Brother, help me!"

Mufasa looks up the cliff and sees Scar there and calls out "Scar! Brother, help me!" Scar looks down at Mufasa and doesn't do anything then suddenly he reaches down and grabs Mufasa's paws with his claws. He leans over the cliff and utters quietly but menacingly tells Mufasa "Long live the king." There is an extreme close-up on Mufasa's eyes as he realizes Scar isn't about to help him but before he can do anything about it Scar throws Mufasa's paws off the cliff and Mufasa falls back first into the stampede and onto the gorge's rocky bottom while Simba yells out "No!" from another part of the cliff. He still hasn't seen or heard Scar and as the herd vanishes he hurries to the gorge floor to search for his father. He finally finds him, utterly still, under a broken tree. Simba goes up to him and tries to wake him, all in vain, he pulls on Mufasa's ears and his paws and finally crawls under one of Mufasa's paws and lies down crying.
Mufasa's Death
The music here makes me cry every time especially when Scar comes up and Simba goes to him for comfort and hugs his uncle's paw as he cries. Then Scar tells Simba that it is his fault that Mufasa died and that what would he tell his mother? Scar then tells him to "Run away, Simba. Run. Run away and never return."
Scar: "Kill him."
Then right after Simba runs we see the three hyenas who started the stampede come up behind Scar who tells them to "Kill him." They take off after Simba and chase him through the gorge. Simba comes to an almost dead end with just enough slope of rubble that he can climb it and then falls down the other side of the cliff into a large thorn patch. He quickly gets up and crawls through the thorns to end up running straight out into the desert into the slowly setting sun. The hyenas are not quick to follow him after they see the thorn patch and one of them even falls into it. So they yell out in voices that echo "Yeah! You hear that? If you ever come back, we'll kill you!" Grave music takes us back to Pride Rock where Scar is telling them his version of what happened and that both Simba and Mufasa died.
The Lionesses hear about Simba's death

Nala crying
Zazu comforts Sarabi, Mufasa's Queen and Simba's mother and we see little Nala crying in her mother's paws as Scar takes the kingdom saying these words. "So it is with a heavy heart that I assume the throne. Yet out of the ashes of this tragedy we shall rise to greet the dawning of a new era in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future."

Image of Rafiki before the scene melts into the scene below
We zoom out with the camera and watch as hundreds of hyenas come to Pride Rock and Scar ascends the throne rock outcropping. We pull back enough that we are with Rafiki who turns his back and sits in a sad slump the surroundings dissolve but Rafiki stays hunched over and resolve into Rafiki's home tree where Rafiki is now sitting next to the painting of Simba on his tree.
Scene we see after it resolves
He looks over at it and with sad music playing takes his had and tries to wipe it away with one stroke but you can still see the lion in it. That picture crossfades to showing Simba lying on the desert ground with vultures circling overhead. The vultures land and surround Simba until two animals charge into their midst and chase them away in a game they call "Bowling for Buzzards." One is a warthog named "Pumbaa" and his companion is a meerkat named "Timon" and they see Simba lying there and have a short argument over whether or not to run away or to take the young lion with them ad help him recover. Pumbaa takes Simba's side telling Timon that they can have him on there side since he's so little right now and Timon says no that wouldn't be a good idea but Timon ends his thought by suggesting the exact same thing Pumbaa was saying. He's not particularly smart but it's obvious that Timon does this often.
Simba wakes up in the oasis
 So they take Simba to a small oasis where they wake him up and try to get him to tell them who he is and where he's from. Simba doesn't tell them but tells them that he can't go back so Pumbaa and Timon take him in and teach him how to live happily. This is explained in the song "Hakuna Matata." "Hakuna Matata means "no worries" and they teach Simba to put his past behind him and get on with life. After Simba says he's hungry Timon immediately tells him that if he lives like them then he'll have to eat like them and that means eating grubs and other insects/bugs. This song contains a small montage of Simba growing up to be a full adult lion who looks a lot like his father now voiced by Matthew Broderick.
Timon and Pumbaa's home
At the end of the song we fade out of the colorful jungle/forest full of life and happiness and fade into what is now the Pride Lands. It is gray and bleak. There is no vegetation or rather what little is there is dead, and the skies are dark but not with rain. It is a very dismal sight in contrast to the happy song in the jungle. As we get this first shocking look at what the Pride Lands have become we hear the voice of Zazu singing "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" in a very depressed and dismal voice. Even the tune itself is made almost monotone and almost a drone of noise. Scar, now King of the Pride Lands, lies on a rock inside the cave in Pride Rock picking his teeth with a piece of bone. Zazu is in a rib "cage" on the floor by Scar's "throne." Scar throws away the bone and tells Zazu to "sing something with a little bounce in it." Zazu stops, there's a close up of him as we see him get and idea and starts to sing "It's A Small World After All" but he only gets out the title when Scar yells, "No, no! Anything but that!" Zazu stops and them starts to sing "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" and Scar starts to sing along and picks up a skull and holds it in his hand in a reference that I just realized coincides with Shakespeare's Hamlet. (For those of you who don't know, The Lion King is actually a Disney version of Hamlet but with happy endings for everyone but the bad guy. In Shakespeare's story, everybody dies at the end of the play except one person who tries to commit suicide but is stopped by the dying prince, Hamlet. In Disney's The Lion King, only Scar dies. We don't actually see it happen but the images before are quite clearly indicating that it definitely will happen. And now back to the present story)
Quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet "To be or not to be? That is the question." It isn't actually in the movie but that what this picture references.
Somewhere during his singing Zazu mumbles, "Oh, I would never have had to do this with Mufasa." Scar immediately picks up on that and starts yelling at Zazu. Apparently Scar made a law that says something to the effect of "never say Mufasa's name in his presence." They are interrupted by Scar's top 3 hyena friends, Banzai (Marin), Shenzi (Goldberg) and Ed, who never speaks real words and is obviously an idiot but sometimes has peculiar insights. They have come to complain that they are hungry. Scar, of course, yells at them eventually since there is no food or water anywhere for lion or hyena to eat. Scar's reign has ruined the land and he will not accept that and sends the hyenas scurrying from his presence, still hungry.
The Ruined Pride Lands
We crossfade to the jungle where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa have just finished a good dinner of grubs and are now looking up at the night sky and discussing what they each think those stars are. Pumbaa says, "Ever wonder what those sparkling dots are up there?" Timon replies, "Pumbaa, I don't wonder, I know." Pumbaa, "Oh? What are they?" Timon, "They're fireflies. Fireflies that got stuck up in that big blueish-black thing." Pumbaa, "Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away." This is a joke to the audience of the film because that is exactly what stars are. However, Timon immediately dismisses it as wrong and then they ask Simba what he thinks and he tells them what his father told him, without telling them where he got the information, about the great kings of the past looking down on them from up there and the other two laugh at him and ask what mook made that up. Simba half-hearteedly joins in their laughter for a few seconds before leaving quickly. He walks out to the edge of a cliff where a few flowers are still in bloom, looks up sadly at the sky before letting out a huge sigh and letting himself collapse on the outcropping.
Simba's theory on stars

His fall stirs ups some dust which gets carried away by the wind and we follow it until we end up back with Rafiki in his great big tree home, who snatches some of it out of the air and takes it down inside his tree where he puts in a large bowl/pan made out of a turtle shell and swirls it around. He is obviously using this as a means of divining information and from it he discovers that Simba is alive and well. He is very happy and goes over to the wall where the smeared image of the baby lion still is. He laughs happily to himself as he takes up a red powder and creates a mane around the drawing's head. When he is finished the music builds to a crescendo as Rafiki says, "It is time."
Rafiki searches the dust for information
Rafiki adds a mane to Simba painting


Then we fade out of his tree and back to the jungle where Pumbaa and Timon are walking and singing "In The Jungle" together but Pumbaa soon gets distracted by a blue flying rhinoceros beetle and strays away from the path to try and catch the bug so he can eat it. He almost catches it when he turns and sees a lioness running towards him. He screams and runs the opposite direction from her. Timon hears him and tries to help Pumbaa get unstuck from under a tree root as we see the lioness closing in. She almost has them when Simba leaps into the picture and tackles her. They fight with Timon cheering Simba on until the lioness pins Simba down in a motion that totally turns Simba's fighting off because he recognizes it as Nala, now grown up (voiced by Moira Kelly), like he has. He calls her by name which causes her to back away asking him who he is. When she finds out they start playing and hugging for a few moments while Timon looks on slack-jawed. He calls for a time-out to ask what the heck is going on and here it is. It is one of my favorite quotes from this movie. Timon says,"How do you... Whoa, whoa! Time out! Let me get this straight. You know her, she knows you. But she wants to eat him, and everybody's okay with this? Did I miss something?" He never really gets an answer because Nala mention that Scar told everyone he was dead but since he isn't, he is now the king and Timon gets distracted by this information and he seriously doubts it at first. But it is good news to him when he does believe it and he is hurt when Simba asks to talk with Nala in private. Timon and Pumbaa leave and Nala and Simba start to talk about how much they missed each other. Then they bump heads a few times and start purring.
Nala and Simba cuddling before "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?"
We go to Timon and Pumbaa's POV and see the cute couple the lions make. This makes Timon upset and he has to explain to Pumbaa why. And he does this by starting the song that won the Oscar "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" There's a place in the song where we stop hearing Timon sing and Elton John is singing it over scenes of the two lions falling in love.  Timon and Pumbaa end the song and start crying very loudly and annoyingly and we leave them to join Nala and Simba. Nala tries to convince him to go back to the Pride Lands and takeover as king but Simba doesn't want to. He doesn't want to explain what happened the day his father died and he still believes it to be his fault. He doesn't tell Nala this and eventually they end up fighting and yelling and then they walk away from each other. We follow Simba who is talking to himself and eventually yells up at the sky, "You said you'd always be there for me! But you're not. And it's because of me.
It's my fault. It's my fault." Simba starts to sob when we hear a baboon laughing and singing what sounds like nonsense noises "Asante sana, squash banana. Wewe nugu, mi mi apana." But it is actually Swahili for  Thank you very much, squash banana! You're a baboon, and I'm not!. Simba turns and sees the baboon but doesn't recognize him as Rafiki since the only known encounter of him Simba had when he was only a couple of days/weeks old. Simba starts to leave and travel away from Rafiki, however the baboon follows him. Simba gets annoyed at the "creepy little monkey" who will not shut up and will not stop following him finally Simba demands, "Who are you?" Rafiki turns the question around and says, "The question is, who are you?" Simba hesitates then says, "I thought I knew. Now I'm not so sure." Rafiki, "Well, I know who you are. Shh. It's a secret. Asante sana, squash banana--" Simba interrupts him, "Grrr! Enough! What is that supposed to mean?" Rafiki, "It means you are a baboon, and I'm not." Simba says, "I think you're a little confused." And then he starts to walk away but Rafiki jumps into his path and points at him with his finger, using it to push back his head as he says, "Wrong! I'm not the one who's confused. You don't even know who you are." Simba scoffs, "Oh, and I suppose you know." Rafiki says quickly, "Sure do. You're Mufasa's boy. Bye." Then he takes off running with Simba following him and yelling for him to come back. When he catches up to the baboon Rafiki proceeds to tell him and teach him that his father is still alive by showing Simba his reflection in a pool of water and telling him, "You see? He lives in you." Simba is looking at the reflection of his father in the pool of water when he hears his father's voice coming from the sky and sees an image in the stars and clouds of his father who proceeds to tell Simba that he has forgotten who he is and therefore he has forgotten his father. He must go home and take his proper place in the circle of life and he needs to remember who he is. His father's presence leaves with Simba calling out for him to stay but he is already gone and Simba is alone in a field of grass under the stars until Rafiki comes up behind him. Simba tells Rafiki, "Looks like the winds are changing." Rafiki agrees and says, "Ahh, change is good." Simba, "Yeah, but it's not easy. I know what I have to do, but going back means I'll have to face my past. I've been running from it for so long." Then out of nowhere Rafiki knocks Simba hard in the head with his staff. Simba reacts, "Ow! Jeez! What was that for?" Rafiki, "It doesn't matter. It's in the past." Simba, "Yeah, but it still hurts." Rafiki, "Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it."
Conversation with the Baboon
Then Rafiki tries to knock Simba in the head again with his stick but Simba ducks and Rafiki points out, "Ah! You see? So what are you going to do?" Simba says another of my favorite quotes from this movie, "First, I'm gonna take your stick." And he takes it and throws it away and starts to run away from Rafiki who is saying, "No, no, no, no! Not the stick! Hey! Where are you going?" Simba replies to a very pleased Rafiki, "I'm going back!" And Simba runs and the music goes with him but we fade away from it and end up back in the jungle with Timon and Pumbaa who are asleep at the moment but are woken up by Nala who is looking for Simba but Timon thought he was with Nala and they need to find him and then we see Rafiki in a tree who tells them, "You won't find him here! Ha, ha! The king has returned." Nala knows why he means but Timon calls another time out and I love this short conversation when Timon yells "Who's the monkey?" Nala, "Simba went back to challenge Scar." Timon, "Who?" Nala, "Scar." Pumbaa, "Who's got a scar?" Nala, "No it's his uncle." Timon, "The monkey's his uncle?" Nala, "No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king." Pumbaa and Timon, "Oh."

We cut to Simba who is running across the desert to awesome music. We see extreme close-ups of his feet running through the sand while we see another image in the background of him running across the desert in an establishing shot where he is as small as an ant. It's a neat little film technique. Then we cut to Simba reaching the Pride Lands and walking on the dead, gray, rocky earth where tons of dried out skeletons of different animals are in shock of what has happened to the wonderful place he left behind. He reaches a small plateau of gray rock from where he can see Pride Rock in the distance looking dead and gray and bare. All of the trees are dead, there is no water, and there is no life in this place anymore. We see his face go from shock to anger and hatred before Nala shows up. She comes up to him and says, about the Pride Lands, "It's awful, isn't it?" Simba didn't want to believe her but now that he sees this with his own eyes he knows what he must do. Then Timon and Pumbaa show up saying that they're going to help Simba fight for his land and Timon comments off to the side, "Uh, talk about your fixer-upper. (to Simba) Well, Simba, it it's important to you, we're with you to the end." They all turn and watch as thunderclouds roll over the Pride Lands and we crossfade to Simba and the others arriving at Pride Rock and seeing all of the hyenas. Timon says, "Hyenas. I hate hyenas. (to Simba) So what's your plan for getting past those guys?" Simba says, "Live bait." Timon, "Good idea! (then he realizes Simba means him and Pumbaa) Hey!" Simba, "Come on, Timon. You guys have to create a diversion." I love this next line because it turns out to be exactly what Timon does, "What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?" Then we cut to Timon and Pumbaa singing in front of the hyenas.
Diversion

Timon is singing about how tasty Pumbaa is and that if they all get in line they can have a piece of swine. We see the hyenas close in and then Timon and Pumbaa yell and high tail run away from them. During this Simba and Nala are able to sneak behind the hyenas and get to Pride rock where Simba tells Nala, "Nala, you find my mother and rally the lionesses. I'll look for Scar." However, Nala needn't look for Sarabi, Simba's mother, because they hear Scar yell her name and call her up in front of him. Nala goes to get the other lionesses while Simba stealthily approaches where Scar is. Then he sees Scar hit his mother and he roars at Scar who immediately says, "Mufasa? No, you're dead." He backs away as Simba goes to his mother who has fallen to the ground. At first she, too, thinks he's his father but he corrects her and Scar hears it. Scar starts to talk to Simba who tells Scar to step down and Scar says he would but the hyenas (and there are hundreds of them. much more than there are lions.) think he's king and to keep them from attacking he can't step down. Nala has come up to Sarabi with all of the other lionesses and tells Scar that "Well, we don't. Simba's the rightful king." Now, at this par in the movie, Scar starts to talk about that day in the gorge where Mufasa was killed. He makes Simba have to tell them all that it was his fault that Mufasa died. They are all shocked but Scar starts circling Simba and while talking and accusing him he starts to back Simba up until he falls halfway of the edge of Pride rock when lightening strikes near the base and sets everything on fire. Scar comes over and grabs Simba's paws the same way he did Mufasa's and tells Simba, "Now, this looks familiar. Hmm. Where have I seen this before? Let me think. Hmm. Oh, yes. I remember. his is just the way your father looked before he died. And here's my little secret. (whispering) I killed Mufasa." We see Simba understand and have a flashback occur of Simba yelling "No!" as his father fell off of the side of the gorge and down to his death. During this Simba finds the strength to pull himself up and leaps onto and pins him to the ground continueing the yell of "No!" as we pull out of the flashback, "Murderer!" Simba forces Scar to tell everyone he killed Mufasa and then Simba is attacked by hyenas while he tries to get to Scar. The lionesses, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki and Zazu fight the hyenas with the savanna burning all around Pride Rock and are able to help Simba get away from them and towards Scar. They end up on the very tippy top of   Pride Rock where Simba gives Scar the choice of exile instead of death after Scar says that it was the hyenas who made him do it and that they are the real enemy. Banzai, Shenzi and Ed, who were about to help Scar, here that and turn away. Scar pretends to agree to "Run. Run away, Scar, and never return." But then he attacks Simba. They fight. There are some really cool slow-motion shots here. In the end, Scar falls off of the top of Pride Rock and onto the ground where he is surrounded by hyenas. He greets them as he rises, stiffly, "Ah, my friends!" Shenzi says, "Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy." Bansai, "Yeah. That's what I heard." The two look at Ed, "Ed?" who is laughing evilly and then we watch the shadow of Scar on the rock get attacked by the hyenas. Rain falls down and the fire is put out and steam is rising from Pride Rock as Simba marches up to the edge of the rock protrusion and roars and the lionesses return his roar and he does this several times as triumphant music plays.
Simba takes his place as King
We go out to a view of the land and Pride Rock being washed in the rain and there is a time lapse to when everything is green and beautiful again. We zoom in to the Edge of Pride Rock during the reprise of "Circle of Life" where Rafiki takes the baby lion cub from Simba and Nala and presents her to the animal audience the same way that he did Simba all those years ago. Then at the end of the song we blackout to the words written across the screen in red just like in the beginning, "The Lion King." And in doing s so we complete the circle of life within this moving and it is so moving to watch and the music is so beautiful that it is making me cry right now and it makes me so happy, too, at the same time. End credits roll here.
Happy Ending.
The voice actors and animators exceeded my expectations by a lot. When I decided to review movies I hadn't seen since childhood, I never thought that they would be just as good or even more fun to watch now that I am grown and an adult. The actors are so good at voicing the emotions and the animators are so good at showing the emotions that it is unbelievable that they did all this back before the use of computers to make animated movies wasn't done. All of this was done and drawn by hand. These animated movies took much longer to make than most live action movies because it is hand done. You can feel the love the animators put into their characters and the dedication of the actors. These men and women wanted to make this movie so well that they studied live lions and lion cubs as in some actually were able to pet and play with them. That is what you can call a hands on approach indeed.
Awesome two scene overlap. While a tiny Simba runs in the background we see an extreme close-up of his legs
Anyways, there were some film techniques used in this movie that I don't recall seeing as much in other Disney films. There were a lot of cross fading scenes where as one scene we see dissolves another one resolves. This made the changes between sets smoother but it also helped to compare what was in that first scene to what is in the scene that resolves.The music in this film is just amazing. It captures the emotions of each moment correctly and makes you feel the emotion even before you see the action and helps foreshadow what is to come. Hans Zimmer did and excellent job at this. Elton John was amazing too. If you go out and buy he soundtrack for  The Lion King or even  The Lion King Musical you will find that most of the background music is human vocals and in specific people singing African chants. For example, when the wildebeest stampede, all of the music behind it is vocal. That is one of the reasons that this movie made an amazing musical. It had all the music it needed. And if you do get the Musical soundtrack and you watch the movie you will find that in every one of the new songs in the musical you hear the musical melody during some part of the movie version. It may only be a couple of notes but I recognized it and you can to. I could name them since I love the musical and have memorized it's soundtrack but this is suppose to be a review on the movie and not the musical so sorry. Maybe I'll be able to do it later.
The beginning and ending of the movie. This helps the movie demonstrate the "Circle of Life"
If you have not seen this movie GO SEE IT NOW! Or buy it an watch it since it isn't actually in movie theaters anymore. If you have seen it, WATCH IT AGAIN! You'll be surprised at how these children's stories make just as much sense for adults and are just as much fun to watch. Go see it for the music, and for the acting (voice actors AND animators), and for the scenery, and for the contrast between the different places used. You won't be disappointed. Go watch The Lion King!


Screenshots from The Lion King








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