Friday, November 9, 2012

Movie Review of Disney's "The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride"

Disney's The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride was extremely painful to watch. Directors Darrell Rooney and Rob LaDuca were unable to pull off a stunning sequel to Directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff's original film, The Lion King. Matthew Broderick still played Simba, Moira Kelly still played Nala, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella still played Timon & Pumbaa. They added a few new actors to the movie including Neve Campbell as Kiara, Jason Marsden as Kovu, Susanne Pleshette as Zira, and Andy Dick as Nuka. The actor that totally distracted me during the movie the most was the actor playing Zazu named Edward Hibbert. The original Zazu was played by Rowan Atkinson and he was great at pulling off the humor and the character of Zazu. Every time Hibbert spoke I was immediatley reminded that this was not what is was and I didn't like it. Hans Zimmer was only allowed to compose one song in the film and that was "He Lives In You." That song was the best attribute to that film. The other music was boring and typical Disney, as in nothing original, done by Randy Peterson and Kevin Quinn.

The plot of the movie was obvious and therefore totally boring. Since the original The Lion King was loosely based on Shakespeare's play Hamlet, the powers that be decided to make a Lion King "Romeo & Juliet" movie. Everyone knows the plot of that play even if they've never read it and therefore knows the plot of this movie. It starts off with all of the animals gathering to greet the King's heir (big surprise there, not.) who is a girl named Kiara. Simba is insanely protective of his daughter and has Timon and Pumbaa follow her everywhere. Even so, she escapes them and runs into an "Outlander" cub named Kovu from the part of the pride that was Scar's and banished/exiled from the Pride Lands when Simba came and defeated Scar. They begin to play and end up in big trouble because the fall into the midst of a ton of crocodiles who try to eat them. Kovu saves Kiara and they end up on the Pride Lands side of the border where Simba has come with back up to get Kiara but before Simba can do anything to Kovu a lioness called Zira (Pleshette) jumps in the way and starts threatening and promising to bring down Simba's regime, Capulets vs. Montague part 1. Then Zira departs carrying Kovu in her mouth and Simba leaves carrying Kiara and the two cubs whisper goodbye to each other.
Time passes, mostly boring, while the cubs grow up. Zira grooms Kovu (Marsden) to grow up and kill Simba and Kiara (Campbell) is sheltered and followed as she grows all the time by Timon and Pumbaa.
Then comes a test for Kiara, her first lone lioness hunt, in which her father promises not to have her followed. However, right after she leaves he secretly tells Timon and Pumbaa to make sure she doesn't get hurt. When Kiara discovers them she leaves the Pride Lands to hunt where she gets trapped in a field of flames lit by Zira's followers. Kovu is sent to "save her" and make his way into the pride and kill Simba when they are alone together. So he saves her and is able to weasel his way into Simba's pride but is there on sufferance until Simba is certain he is truly left the other pride. Then with the help of Rafiki the baboon and a little music Kovu and Kiara fall in love. Kovu decides to tell Kiara why he joined the pride and that he has decided to not kill Simba because of his love for her. Before he can tell her this Simba says he wants to talk to Kovu for a bit. So they go off and Simba tells him the story of Scar (we never really hear any of it since they jump from the start of the talk to this point. Then Kovu accidentally leads Simba into a trap that Kovu knew nothing about but from which Simba was injured and Kovu gets blamed for a crime he didn't commit. (sound familiar?) Kovu is exiled despite the pleas Kiara makes to her father not to. After Kovu's left Simba tells Kiara she's to stay on Pride Rock at all times and will be escorted everywhere, no exceptions. So Kiara runs to one of the caves in Pride Rock and discovers that there is a way out through there and she leaves immediately to go find Kovu. Meanwhile, back at the Outlander's gathering Zira commands them to get ready and fight the pridelanders and so they start heading for the border. The same thing happens on Simba's side. Kovu and Kiara finally find each other then Kiara convinces him that they have to go back and unite the prides so there will be no more fighting. They arrive after the battle has started however right before Simba and Zira go at it together Kiara and Kovu jump in between them. Kiara asks everyone to look at each other and see what they see and that is they are all lions and they shouldn't be fighting. All the lionesses do and all of Zira's pride go over to Simba's pride. Zira decides to not change prides and starts to attack Simba but Kiara gets in the way. They both knock each other and end up falling down a steep cliff until Zira is hanging by her claws over a rushing flooded river. Kiara tries to help her and offers her paw to Zira to pull her to safety but Zira doesn't take it and falls off into the river and dies.
Kovu and Kiara get "united" by the monkey and they stand at the edge of Pride Rock just beside Simba and Nala and look at the animals below and roar their fuzzy hearts out. We go to black with the words "THE END" written in red across the screen. (What ever happened to the "Circle of Life?")

Ok this film definitely did NOT meet nor come near my expectations. I was truly disappointed and upset. The voice actors were fine except for Hibbert, who played Zazu, ruined it by speaking because he was not the original Zazu. It's not that he can't act it's just that he isn't Zazu. The animators really disappointed me. The animation was totally different than what was done in the first movie. It looked more computer-generated to me and I did find out it was CG. (The animation wasn't bad per se but that's because it's CG and not hand drawn as the first one was) Also one particularly painful part for me was when Simba relived Mufasa's death in a dream. The images used were a mockery of the original ones. It was terrible. There was not as much attention to detail taken in this movie as there was in The Lion King and it showed.

Film techniques were boring at best and annoying at times. One thing that bothered me to death was this little bit of floating leaves/grasses that went through the air with the use of winds. It looked WAY too much like Pocahontas to me but the colors were boring and the animation was bad. Jerky cuts in weird places did not help the film gain my respect. The music only had one spot of glory and immortality and that was Hans Zimmer's "He Lives In You" in the beginning of the film. The other songs were typical Disney cheesy lyrics with badly edited dance numbers and that music helped set the tone that made me dislike the movie.

Don't go see this movie. It was terrible. It was boring. It might have once had some potential but that's pointless in the face of this flop. The only thing good out of it you can get is the "He Lives In You" song and you don't have to buy the movie soundtrack to get it thank goodness. It was so good it was either put into the musical version of The Lion King or the movie got it from the musical version of The Lion King. So go see the musical! Definitely  do not go see this  mockery of a movie. It's not just a waste of time, it's also quite painful sitting there and watching it.

The original Kiara with parents and Rafiki at the end of The Lion King

The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride version of Kiara with Rafiki and her parents. See the difference? Not bad animation but it was to different to the first movie to let me like it.

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