Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Owl House

Plot: Luz is a self-proclaimed weirdo, and she usually has no problem showing it. However, those around her have problems with it, including her mother. While Luz’s interests and behaviors are generally harmless, though a bit chaotic, Luz’s mother urges her to just be normal. She even signs her up for a summer camp that emphasizes being normal as much as humanly possible and tells her to trash her weird stuff, including one of her favorite books on a fictional witch. Luz is not happy about this, but for the sake of her mom she decides to go along with it.

As she’s about to get picked up for summer camp, she’s lead away to a mysterious door that brings her to the Boiling Isles, a world where human things are a mysterious novelty and myths and monsters reign. She meets the Owl Lady, the great witch, Eda, who promises to bring her back home to her world if she helps her with a special task.

Breakdown: Cards on the table, I’m kinda cheating here. I’ve seen several episodes of The Owl House and have enjoyed every one I’ve caught. However, I’ve never seen the first episode, and Disney+ just got the series, so I’m not cheating too much here.

The Owl House does seem to work on a somewhat tired premise – kid who thinks they don’t belong finding a place they belong in a mysterious new world – but they do it with such a cool flair and a lot of clever writing that I won’t even ding it for that. I won’t lie, when Luz mentioned that one of the reasons that she’s weird is because she makes AMVs and writes fanfiction, I literally almost gasped at how eerily relatable that was to me when I was her age.

I will ding it a tiny bit for being too on-the-nose with their message – it’s okay to be weird and it’s wrong to punish people for their quirks. For most of the episode, it’s fine, but the start of the episode is just too much. Like, I get how they want us to like her mom, and it’s clear that she loves her, but she’s basically telling her daughter to her face that she’d love her much more if she just changed her entire personality and conformed in the most boring way possible. She also encouraged her to get rid of something as innocuous as a fantasy book about witches.

Everything else was really great, though. The writing is snappy, funny, clever and exciting, the characters are a bunch of fun, especially Eda, the art and environments are really cool, the animation is fluid and well done, Luz is easily identifiable and lovable, same for King, who has one of the coolest designs I’ve seen in a long time.

As an introduction episode, it does its job extremely well. You’re introduced to the premise, their universe and the characters in a natural manner that is paced very well. It doesn’t introduce some huge conflict or evil that will need to be addressed like many shows of this type tend to do. And, honestly, I prefer it that way. Not every show needs to make big promises it probably can’t keep anyway, and sometimes a more laid-back approach is better. This episode definitely leaves you wanting more either way. I look forward to finally watching every episode, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for The Owl House.

Continue Yes

Recommended Audience: It’s Disney so it’s nothing too bad, but they do show limbs and heads being cut off as non-graphically as you can, and they mention death a few times. 7+

AVAHS Finale – A Very Merry Pooh Year (+ Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too) Review

winnie-the-pooh-a-very-merry-pooh-year-dv

Plot: As Pooh and the rest of the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood prepare for Christmas, Roo’s question about whether Santa will arrive prompts the others to tell the story of a Christmas they shared before Kanga and Roo arrived.

Then everything falls to pieces when Rabbit decides he’s had enough of his crazy friends and decides to move away. As New Year’s approaches, the others resolve to change themselves so Rabbit won’t leave.

Breakdown: Happy New Year, everyone! May your 2021 be hopeful, positive, healthy and happy, and nothing like its bastard sibling, 2020.

Anyhoo, or anyPOOH! Hahahahahaha….please don’t click away. To herald in the new year, I thought we’d discuss one of the few animated New Year’s specials (and it is, trust me. It’ll get there.) A Very Merry Pooh Year.

As I mentioned in my review of Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie, A Very Merry Pooh Year utilized the same lazy story stuffing technique they did, which is to only make half of a new movie and fill up the other half of the runtime with a decade-old holiday special from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Meaning that little tagline of “A Brand New Full-Length Adventure” can go suck a Times Square ball.

However, this time, DisneyToon was not involved. Instead, the animation was done by Wang Film Productions and Sunwoo Animation (Under Walt Disney Television Animation).

Now, while this practice is lazy and downright deceptive to the consumer, the main reason it was such a pall on Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie was because the story they came up with was damn near identical to the episode they shoehorned into it, so including that feature just highlighted how ridiculously lazy and near self-plagiarizing the new movie was.

Does A Very Merry Pooh Year have the same problem?

The special that is being featured in this ‘movie’ is Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too. Christopher Robin helps Pooh and the other animals of the Hundred Acre-Wood write a letter to Santa. They throw it into the wind, as it’s blowing north, and wait for it to arrive at the North Pole. Later, they realize that Pooh never asked for anything, so he and Piglet decide to get the letter back and fix it before letting it reach the north pole, which doesn’t make any sense.

First of all, Pooh wants honey. Christopher Robin knows this, Pooh mentioned it about seven times when the others were making their wishes, there’s no way Christopher Robin didn’t write down that Pooh wanted a pot of honey for Christmas.

Second, why do they need to get the letter back? Why couldn’t they just send a new letter specifically for Pooh?

The amended letter with Pooh’s wishes as well as Rabbit, Tigger and Eeyore’s new better, more extravagant wishes, because everyone started going overboard, gets sent off in the wind, but the letter returns because the wind changed directions. Pooh and Piglet find the letter and panic because there’s no time to get a new letter to Santa now. In an effort to make Christmas happen, Pooh dresses up like Santa and Piglet dresses as a reindeer and they make the gifts their friends asked for. However, the gifts are incredibly shoddy and everyone’s upset about them.

They eventually find out what Pooh and Piglet have been doing and they figure out what Pooh did wrong – he waited until the weathervane indicated S for Santa when he should have waited for N for North, so it could get to the North Pole…..Which is not what happened. The weathervane was pointed west….I think. It’s hard to tell with their setup. And Pooh just said the letter would know which way to go.

They want to send the letter again, but the winds have died down. The only way to get the letter to the North Pole now is if one of them hand delivers it. Pooh immediately volunteers.

Piglet: “You? But the North Pole is so very far. What if you can’t get back in time for Christmas?”

Pooh: “It will be worth having no Christmas, Piglet, if I can bring Christmas to all of you.”

Gotta be honest, that was one of the sweetest and purist Christmas sentiments I’ve ever heard in a Christmas special. I literally went “Awwwwwww” out loud when he said that. What a sweetheart.

Pooh heads out in the now really windy snowstorm and quickly loses the letter, so he….goes home?

….Uh….Pooh? You remember what everyone wanted….Just…tell him? Santa doesn’t need the requests to be written out. How do you think mall Santas work?

Meanwhile, back at home, Piglet laments–…………Is that a fire…..they forgot to animate?

There are no flames. It’s like they’re just glowing logs……What happened here?…What is this?

Uh anyway, Piglet laments the fact that Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Pooh Bear around, even if they’ll eventually get good presents. Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore are still excited, but they quickly agree with Piglet that it’s just not the same without Pooh Bear.

Just then, Pooh returns, delivering the bad news that he couldn’t get the letter to Santa, but they don’t care – they’re just glad Pooh Bear is back to spend Christmas with them.

Suddenly, Christopher Robin arrives on the new sled he wanted, and he’s bearing gifts that were left from ‘Santa.’ A flyswatter for Rabbit to get rid of the bugs who keep eating his carrots, a snowshoe for Tigger’s tail so he can bounce in the snow, an umbrella for Eeyore to keep snow from plopping down on him from the trees (though….he’s still homeless. His second and better gift suggestion was a new house – he lost his after the letter was sent…..The umbrella was actually meant to keep the snow off of his house……) a……thing for Piglet (he didn’t know what he wanted, so he just said anything’s fine, but that’s….I don’t even know what that is.

He’s happy with it, so I guess that’s all that matters, but I’m so confused) and, of course, a pot of honey for Pooh.

However, Pooh doesn’t think he deserves the honey since he messed up Christmas so much. Christopher Robin tries to convince him that that’s not true, and Pooh starts to agree as he stands on the honey pot and says that it makes him just the right height to give Christopher Robin a big hug. Awwwwwwwwww!

The end.

Despite some logic issues, this special is incredibly wholesome, sweet and has a great message. The holidays really don’t mean as much when the people you love aren’t there. I know that’s more of a bittersweet moral in this year of all years, but we live in an era where we can practically have anyone we want with us without actually being there in person. Is it the same? No. But even just talking to them over the phone or communicating through video chat creates a connection that is invaluable, especially in rough times.

On its own, it’s a great Christmas special that I think any Winnie the Pooh fan would enjoy.

Now, onto the actual movie portion of which there’s, again, about a 35 minutes of new material.

Kanga and Roo join the others for the holidays this year, and they decide to regale Roo about the events of a previous Christmas, which is where the old Christmas special comes in.

When we cut back to the movie, Pooh sets out all of the gifts for….Christmas…..that…..everyone else made/got each other……which…..I don’t understand. This is just like the opposite situation of the Family Guy Christmas specials. Whereas they started out with everyone giving each other gifts and then in later seasons said Santa brought them all, Winnie the Pooh is saying that Santa delivered them before, but now they give each other gifts….Huh? And Roo even starts the special by asking if Santa will come, they tell him a story about Santa getting the gifts to them even when they thought he couldn’t, but now he didn’t get anything from Santa and got a gift from Tigger, which he acknowledges…..What is happening?

…………….Also, Tigger calls Rabbit ‘Rah rah’ a couple times and I got really giddy for some reason. That’s just an adorable nickname. Was that something he normally called him? I don’t remember.

Sadly, Pooh loses Piglet’s gift. He searches for days, until New Year’s Eve (See? We got there.) However, he’s searched for so long, he’s forgotten what he’s looking for.

Christopher Robin arrives with a box full of decorations for a New Year’s party. He gives the box to Pooh so he can make the party and Christopher Robin just….disappears for some reason. Not gonna help, dude? Just proclaim you’re going to have a party and hand off the planning to someone else? Nice.

As Pooh, Piglet and Rabbit convene, Tigger drops by.

Tigger: “Wanna hear the good news? Snow does not keep Tiggers from bouncin’. Not one bitty bit!”

…………………….

……………….

…………….

……….

……..

…..

A snowshoe for Tigger’s tail so he can bounce in the snow.

so he can bounce in the snow.

bounce in the snow.

It was directly stated and shown several times in the special that THEY INCLUDED IN THIS MOVIE that Tigger can’t bounce in the snow, that’s why he needed the snowshoe, is what I’m getting at here.

After nearly destroying Rabbit’s house and his prized carrot, Rabbit snaps and declares that he’s moving away so he won’t have to put up with them anymore. He’s tired of Pooh’s obsession with honey, Piglet’s paranoia, Eeyore’s gloominess and Tigger’s bouncing. Having learned of New Year’s resolutions from Christopher Robin, Pooh decides that they should try to fix these aspects of themselves in order to get Rabbit to stay. They all agree to make their New Year’s resolutions to never eat honey, never be scared, always be cheerful and never bounce again.

Tigger ties his tail to a rock to prevent him from bouncing, which, considering he’s literally tying his tail up, actually looks really painful. Piglet asks Tigger how it seems like he’s never afraid. Tigger says he was always too busy bouncing to be afraid. Piglet starts bouncing all over the place, and he finds that it works. He’s not scared as long as he keeps bouncing.

Cool.

But then…..

Tigger, using Tigger logic, thinks that, if bouncing keeps away fear and he can no longer bounce, then he must be damned to becoming an anxiety-ridden mess who is afraid of literally everything, which quickly ends up happening because self-fulfilling prophecies. This is bad enough, but the buildup to this change is actually legit creepy. The screen starts going black all around him, even casting a shadow on Tigger’s edges, there are some creepy noises included, and we even zoom in on Tigger’s eyes so much that it affected the image quality.

I think we can ascertain what will happen with Pooh and Eeyore from here, but even that’s presented oddly.

We see Pooh rummaging around a tree to try and check on some honey without eating it, and then Eeyore walks by standing on his hind legs, in a red shirt, humming to himself and gobbling down honey. I love Eeyore….it is very uncomfortable to see him acting like this. Please stop.

He doesn’t even explain how and why he started doing this. He doesn’t say he knew Pooh was happy all the time so he decided to start mimicking him. He just suddenly appears while acting this way. From what he says, it’s just like he randomly ate some honey and started getting a funny feeling, which…I guess changed his personality instantly. And can I ask what the shirt and the walking on hind legs thing is about? He’s just now getting that there was a connection between him being happier and him eating honey, meaning he wasn’t at all trying to emulate Pooh Bear. He just decided to start doing those things…….Or….is the implication that you start becoming a Pooh clone when eat some honey? You can just be happy and eat honey. You don’t need to become a new Pooh.

Oh also Pooh’s got depression now.

Then we get this frightening-ass image.

Eeyore: “Why…I think I’m glad. SeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?”

Hehe, frightening-ass image…

Hehe….he’s a donkey.

Hehe, seriously, someone stop this waking nightmare. I cannot take much more of this. It’s like they’re intentionally making him ridiculously creepy.

They all arrive at Rabbit’s place to show him how much they’ve changed, but since they’ve literally just changed into each other, including the same speech patterns and mannerisms, it’s just as bad if not worse than before, so Rabbit immediately storms out.

One thing leads to another, and Rabbit ends up caught in a tree with a beehive. Piglet becomes frightened for him, making him break his resolution. Tigger unties his tail so he can bounce up to save Rabbit and his carrot, making him break his resolution. The beehive falls into Pooh’s hands, which prompts him to eat the honey inside, breaking his resolution. Everyone else breaking their resolutions and being upset at it makes Eeyore so upset he forgets to be happy. This is going to sound terrible, but thank god for that.

Realizing they failed, they leave Rabbit to move out of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Christopher Robin arrives for the party, but everyone is saddened at the loss of their friend. Rabbit, however, says he can’t think of leaving friends so loyal as them, especially when they cared so much about him that they tried to change themselves to make him happy. He loves his friends just the way they are.

Piglet: “Oh Rabbit! I was afraid I’d never get to be scared again!”……..Okay, back up.

The moral of all of this is to be yourself and to appreciate your friends for being themselves because they help you be who you really are, which is fine and dandy.

However, in regards to the New Year’s resolution stuff…..what kind of message are they trying to convey there? Because it really comes off like resolutions are bad, at least in regards to ones where you try to stop doing something. Like, yeah, these traits help the characters all be who they are, but being overly afraid is bad, and it probably negatively affects Piglet’s quality of life. What sane person says “I was afraid I’d never get to be scared again!”? I get that the wording is a joke, but that’s still a concerning thing to say.

Keep in mind, the only ones who experienced positive outcomes from taking on the traits of their friends were Piglet and Eeyore. Piglet became brave and had a lot of fun bouncing, and Eeyore became happier…..and creepy. Tigger, however, became a nervous wreck and Pooh lost all enjoyment in everything. When their resolutions broke, Pooh was happy he got to eat honey, and Tigger was happy he was bouncing again, but Piglet can’t have been happy that he was afraid, and Eeyore wasn’t….happy….he was….sad? Maybe they were at least relieved that they didn’t have to pretend to be something they weren’t, but these factors still present issues.

A better lesson would be to not have such extreme New Year’s resolutions. Unless you really have serious, harmful problems, your New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be to completely overhaul your personality. Just try to improve yourself a little.

Tigger’s resolution could have been to bounce as much as he wanted but to try and control himself indoors or be more aware of his surroundings while bouncing.

Pooh could try to learn more self-control around food, especially honey.

Rabbit could learn to unwind and not be so uptight.

And Piglet and Eeyore could seek therapy.

They all head to Rabbit’s house and count down to the new year. Pooh suddenly remembers where he hid Piglet’s gift and rushes home to get it. It’s a lovely little music box that plays the New Year’s…anthem song…..what’s that song called? It plays so often on New Year’s but I never know what it’s called.

*Google*

Auld Lang Syne!? Chalk that up as something I never would have guessed ever. They even sing the proper lyrics at the end. I feel like I’ve been living in a void my whole life.

Pooh makes his own lyrics to the song and sings them to Piglet, and it’s really cute and sweet. Everyone sings as the movie zooms out and concludes.

—————————————

This movie didn’t have the problem that Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie had in that it wasn’t basically the same story as the included special, but I still have to ding it a little because, really, what a weird New Year’s special. It honestly makes it look like New Year’s resolutions aren’t a good thing. Granted, most people don’t fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, but they’re typically never a bad thing to set. Even when Pooh’s initially learning about resolutions by Christopher Robin, it gives off a vibe that it’s about changing yourself and that changing yourself isn’t something you should do.

But changing yourself, if your current behaviors cause problems or negative repercussions, whether for others, yourself or both, can be quite good. At least take some self-reflection into consideration. You don’t have to throw away your personality and construct an entirely new persona or adopt someone else’s, you just have to improve as a person.

It’s a little bit difficult to say that the message is bad, though, because, yes, being yourself and loving yourself and being your best self around your friends is great. That’s the way it should be. But you should always strive to be better. I dunno. I guess it’s up to your own interpretation on how good the actual message is in contrast to the bad light they put the resolution message in.

Overall, though, while it is still lazy and deceptive to include a completely separate special in this movie and claim it’s entirely a “brand-new full-length movie,” this is a mostly fun, sweet, heartwarming and festive holiday movie. Plus, it is nice to have a Christmas and New Year’s special rolled into one to cap off the year. The songs are very short, and none of them are very memorable, but they’re fine for what they are. There are some logic issues peppered throughout, but it’s Winnie the Pooh – I can mostly overlook them. The best section is definitely Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too, but the New Year’s section is still perfectly enjoyable…..barring creepy Pooh!Eeyore. That is going to haunt me for a long time.

And with that we close out A Very Animated Holiday Special for 2020. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to fill the entire 31 days, but I hope you all enjoyed what I came out with this year. I certainly had a lot of fun with it. Found some awesome entries, some weirdos and some ech, but it was all around fun. Now it’s back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans.

Happy New Year!


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Animating Halloween | Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (+ Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh) Review

Plot: It’s Lumpy’s first ever Halloween, but he’s finding the occasion much too scary to enjoy. When Pooh eats all of the candy in the Hundred Acre Wood, Roo and Lumpy head out on a quest to find the legendary Gabloon, who can supposedly grant their wish of mounds of candy or turn them into “jaggedy lanterns.”

Breakdown:

Disney: “Hey there, Twix!”

Oh….Uhmmm….Hi there…Disney….???

Disney: “We heard you recently finished watching and reviewing all of the Disquels!”

Yeah, I did….

Disney: “Do you want a BONUS Disquel experience!?”

….What are you implying by that?

Disney: “Here’s Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie!”

That title is very awkward. Also, again, what did you mean by that? This is a Winnie the Pooh movie. It can’t be a Disquel.

Disney: “Watch it and seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!”

*sigh* There’s something seriously wrong with that guy.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..

I get it.

So yeah, this isn’t a Disquel. It was a direct-to-video movie made in 2005 that was a sequel to another direct-to-video movie, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, which I’ve never seen. It WAS made by DisneyToon Studios, who were notorious for making the Disquels, so make of that what you will.

Why am I comparing it to a Disquel otherwise? Before I answer that, let me ask you a question. Why do you think Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh is lumped (haha, puns) in on the title?

That’s right, you guessed it! They pulled a total Disquel move. This movie includes the ENTIRETY of that special played off like a flashback. There is only a little more than a half hour of new animation in this hour long movie.

I mean, it is a little better than having three episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (of which Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh is based from) stapled together with hardly any new animation, but still. Lazy, lazy, lazy pricks trying to get money for old rope while ripping off people who have already seen that special.

It’s really jarring, too. This movie came out in 2005 and has sharper animation as well as stronger lines and more saturated colors. Boo to You Too! came out in 1996 and has obviously lower quality than the movie we’re watching.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the fact that they shove in the entirety of Boo to You Too! as an example of how Lumpy can be brave and enjoy Halloween highlights the fact that….this entire movie is basically just a copy of that special….Like…nearly beat for beat.

Piglet/Lumpy is too scared to enjoy Halloween, which nearly causes him to ruin the holiday for everyone else. He’s encouraged by his best friend Pooh/Roo, but it takes Piglet/Lumpy mistakenly believing Pooh/Roo is in danger to get him to brave the scariness. Meanwhile, Pooh/Roo and friends mistakenly believe Piglet/Lumpy is in danger and try to save him. When Piglet/Lumpy believes he’s defeated the nonexistent threat, he finally enjoys Halloween with his friends by his side.

There’s another reason they would have been way better off if they had omitted the Boo to You Too! segment. I’ve never seen it, and I never would never have noticed it was a rip-off of that story if they hadn’t literally shoehorned it into this movie to force me to take notice of their plagiarism. Good job, DisneyToon. You never cease to disappoint.

On its own, it’s a pretty alright movie, same with Boo to You Too! Predictable, sure, but that’s pretty much to be expected with any Winnie the Pooh story. However, I can’t ignore how lazy and obtrusive it is to just chuck Boo to You Too! into this movie.

Give the TV Frankenstein’d Disquels some credit. At least they didn’t tend to ruin their entire movie’s structure by including stories from unaired or aired TV shows that had stories that were exactly the same as their new bookends. Imagine if, in The Little Mermaid 2, they had a scene where Ariel was talking to Melody in the middle of the movie and she went “This reminds me a lot of what I went through at your age.” and then they just played the entirety of The Little Mermaid before cutting back to the main movie.

I wouldn’t be AS bothered if it was just another random old Halloween special crammed in there. It’d still be intrusive and lazy, but it’d be adding some variety of content. Here, though, it’s very clear that this story is just a revamp of Boo to You Too! and they shove this fact in your face.

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie is a perfectly fine Halloween watch, especially for little kids. It teaches good lessons, and by that I mean it teaches the same good lessons twice in a row, and there are some pretty entertaining and heartwarming moments. If you’ve seen Boo to You Too! though, it’s probably best to keep your finger on the fast forward button. Lumpy’s a very cute character, even if he is a bit too much like Piglet, and Roo was always one of my favorites.

The art and animation is pretty nice, especially for DisneyToon Studios. There was one moment that nearly made me barf though, and that was when they did a completely overly done slow motion cheer in the climax. Seriously, what the hell was that? Saving money by barely animating that part? The musical numbers are also pretty decent, although I can guarantee I’ll forget all of them by the time I’m done writing this review. I just really, really, REALLY wish they had chosen to make the entire movie original instead of putting in an old special to pad it out.

And as sad as it is to say this, I learned that this isn’t the only Winnie the Pooh movie they’ve done this with. They also did the exact same thing with A Very Merry Pooh Year by jamming in Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too in the middle of it…Guess I have something to look forward to this December….

Most of the same points can be said of Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh, barring the art and animation note, which takes a few hits because of the tighter budget and being nearly a decade older than our feature presentation, and, of course, the fact that it’s an entirely original story with nothing placed in the middle of it. It’s a cute Halloween story that people of all ages would enjoy this time of year.

Ratings:

Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh: 7/10

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie: 4/10


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Animating Halloween | Mickey Mouse: Lonesome Ghosts (1937) Review

Plot: Mickey, Donald and Goofy have created a ghost-hunting business and their newest ‘clients’ happen to be a group of bored ghosts looking for some fun scares.

Breakdown: Ghostbusters 50 years before Ghostbusters. Instead of proton packs, they used a shotgun, a butterfly net and an axe. And instead of “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” they said;

Goofy: “I’m brave!….but careful.”

This short is pretty entertaining, I smiled a few times and even laughed out loud a couple of times, particularly at Goofy. Not their best work, but it’s a nice watch for Halloween. I sometimes get nostalgic for Mickey’s old ‘dot eyes’ design.

I will say that the sound design on the ghosts is terrible. I get that this is the 1930s and they were going for a ghostly echoing voice, but it really just sounds like they recorded their lines in an airplane hangar on their lunch break.

Not much else to say about this short. It’s fun, it’s Halloweeny, it has some great animation, and I still don’t understand how you can fight ghosts with an axe. Supernatural has taught me that the shotgun might be loaded with salt rounds, and Fairly Odd Parents taught me that butterfly nets can catch supernatural beings, but the axe is just silly.


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CSBS | Fillmore! Episode 8 – Ingrid Third Public Enemy #1

CSBS - FILLMORE EPISODE 8

Plot: This episode explores the backstory of how Ingrid and Fillmore became partners in the Safety Patrol. Fillmore, having just lost his best friend and previous partner, Wayne, after he moved to Tennessee, tries to go solo on a case to clear the new kid, Ingrid, of a crime she didn’t commit.

Breakdown: As much as I hate to say this, this was a massively disappointing episode.

I’ve been really looking forward to rewatching the backstory episode because I didn’t remember it, and now I know why I didn’t remember it.

I feel like this episode needed to be a two-parter because it required more time to do the following.

– Flesh out Wayne.

We know he was very important to Fillmore and, maybe, the Safety Patroller who saved Fillmore from his troublemaking ways, but that’s about it. In order to really feel for their connection or care that he’s gone, we needed more time to learn about him and connect with him. He seems like a really nice guy, so it’s a shame he barely misses getting glossed over.

– A little more development on Ingrid and Fillmore’s meeting and relationship.

For someone who supposedly is super pissed that his BFF left and is gunning for the ‘lone wolf’ cop lifestyle, he sure takes a shine to Ingrid quickly and vice versa.

Ingrid was set on writing off this whole school from one day, even admitting to a crime she didn’t commit for the sake of getting expelled, but just knowing that Fillmore had a piece of irrefutable evidence that convinced him that she didn’t do it is enough to make them friends.

Both of them had very bull-headed attitudes that were extinguished way too easily. I liked how they started working together to clear Ingrid’s name, especially utilizing her skills in ‘forensics,’ but they needed more time to work on their relationship from the starting point. Maybe have Fillmore be skeptical purely because he’s salty about Wayne leaving, and then have him be kinda cold to her in interrogation or something, but then slowly realize she’s innocent and make amends.

– Make the case more complex.

The case was WAY too easy. I knew from the second I saw Parnassus that he was the culprit, and the instant someone said he was the smartest kid in school, I knew the motive. It was way too easy, even for a kid’s show. Fillmore!’s usually more clever than this. I was looking for them to subvert my expectations because it’s usually not the first suspect, but they didn’t include any other suspect and he was constantly coming up with new evidence and pointing at Ingrid as a criminal.

We know it’s not Ingrid, because this is a flashback so of course she’s not, and we’ve never seen Parnassus in the previous episodes, so all signs point to him. The insanely bright neon signs…..set on fire….with sirens blaring ‘PARNASSUS DID IT.’

Another odd thing about this episode was the incredibly bad light they put X middle school in. I have stated in the past that X is such a batshit crazy yet awesome school that I would’ve loved to have gone there when I was a kid, but this episode makes it look terrible.

It especially makes Fulsom look like a total bitch. New kid in school? Have a big assembly to not only introduce her, but also embarrass her by proclaiming she’s the smartest kid in school.

Think she’s blissfully unaware of the position this puts Ingrid in? No. This assembly is called for another reason. She knows that new kids are always the targets of abuse just because they’re new and different, so, just to get all the abuse out of the way, she allows the students to pelt the new kid with foam balls for two minutes.

What the fuck? So, instead of stopping the abuse, the school just has it’s own kid version of The Purge by letting them abuse the new kid by throwing balls at them? And the faculty AND Safety Patrol just sit there? They’re ‘harmless foam rubber balls’ but who cares? That’s still terrible.

Who’s to say this even works? The kid is still new and strange to them, they’ll still either ignore or pick on them either way.

I didn’t much like that Ingrid also has a sordid past. Come on, that’s Fillmore’s thing. They can’t both be the reformed criminal. That’s just lazy. And why is this just coming up now? Why has Fillmore been called out for his ‘criminal’ past a few times before but everyone ignores Ingrid’s troublemaking days? Just because she didn’t go to the same school when that stuff happened?

Minor thing, but I also didn’t like that Lemmy, Parnassus’ ‘friend,’ took the heat for Parnassus’ crimes. He seems like a nice guy overall. After Ingrid helped save him in the tire fort, he grabbed her and saved her from the stink bomb in return. Fillmore and Ingrid have plenty of evidence to clear his name but Fulsom won’t hear of it because Parnassus is a massive suck-up.

They actually failed for a change, and that’s just depressing. I know Lemmy helped Parnassus in the crimes, but he just seems like he does everything Parnassus tells him to, seeing him as his only friend.

He didn’t just throw him under the bus, either. He convinces him to make a full, taped confession right in the principal’s office with Parnassus standing right beside him. What a prick.

There were a couple of decent jokes like the cardboard boxes Fillmore runs into when he’s chasing ‘Ingrid’ have the words ‘Cliche Box co.’ on them, and the Safety Patrol in Tennessee not only uses horses, but their stable is in the Safety Patrol room. That does not, in any way, help this episode, though.

Such a shame. The potential of a backstory episode is so vast yet this is what we get. I hope we see more of Wayne and even Parnassus in the future, but as it stands, this episode was incredibly disappointing and just flatout not good.

Rating: 3/10


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Animating Halloween | Kim Possible: October 31st Review

AHKPO31

Plot: Kim wants to go to Monique’s Halloween party, especially considering her crush, Josh Mankey, will be there, but she ends up creating a web of lies while trying to avoid going Trick-Or-Treating with Ron. What’s worse, she has a top-secret nanotech bracelet on her wrist that slowly covers her in armor the more she lies – and Drakken and Duff Killigan both want it.

Breakdown: Considering how much I loved Kim Possible so much when it was airing, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

….But on the other hand I can totally believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

It’s just such a cliché plotline with one of the most overly parroted lessons in all of media – honesty is the best policy. It’s so overly done that the episode kinda pokes fun at itself for doing it. Kim’s little brothers points out how stupid it was to lie when Ron and her parents both would’ve understood, and even the villains go on about how disappointed they are in her.

And, really, a Halloween special has to be the absolute worst setting to use something like the Centurian project (the nanotech bracelet) because she can just claim the armor is part of her costume or is her costume – which she did, even though she tried to cover it up with a princess outfit. Actually, considering the Kim Possible universe, she can just claim that the armor is slowly covering her up for some reason. She doesn’t have to tell people it’s because she’s lying.

Outside of the cookie cutter plotline, though, this episode is perfectly fine. There are some funny moments, and the Centurian project is a pretty awesome set of armor. The one part I don’t like is the part that covers her head. It just looks weird. Also, if that’s the full armor, I’d think it should cover her face. The suit is so advanced that it can instantly recover from any damage, but all someone would have to do is aim for her face and it’d be all over.

The animation is a bit rough, but this was season one Kim Possible and it had a habit of being all over the place. There’s one scene that’s just terrible, though. Kim’s mom is taking tickets at the hospital’s haunted house, and they show her saying ‘Thank you, enjoy.’ THREE TIMES without anyone handing her a ticket or entering the haunted house. The only part of this shot that is animated is her lips. It’s like they forgot to animate everything else.

I can’t imagine there will be many more Halloweens where I’ll purposely seek out this special, but it did stoke my fire to do a Cartoon Step-by-Step of Kim Possible sometime soon.


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Animating Halloween: The Proud Family – A Hero for Halloween Review

AHTPF

Plot: Penny begrudgingly partakes in Halloween as Snack Girl when her parents (taking the roles of Snack Man and Snack Woman) force her into it. She believes Halloween is just for little kids and wants none of it, not even attending Wizard Kelly’s Hallo-Tween Frightacular with special guest Lil Romeo. After consuming one of her father’s putrid Proud Scary Snacks, she gains superpowers. Also, there’s a ghost in Penny’s house.

Breakdown: The last time I tangoed with The Proud Family, I kinda tore into it – justified as though it may be. I did legitimately hope that today I could present a good example of a Proud Family episode to make up for it a little.

Credit where credit is due, this episode is nowhere near as anger inducing as the Kwanzaa special, but it is just all kinds of silly and weird.

Like many episodes, a lot of the characters are just being assholes to each other. Penny’s making fun of her friends and family for partaking in Halloween festivities and acting like she’s better than them because she’s oh-so-mature and refuses to partake at all in such childish frivolity. Her friends make fun of her back. I honestly don’t get why she’s not into the Frightacular, though. She seems to be a fan of Lil Romeo, so why not endure it just to watch him perform live?

Oscar forces her to dress up as Snack Girl and give out his gross Proud Scary Snacks at the door or else she’ll be grounded until the end of the year. Oscar’s also very unpleasant to everyone else, even slamming the door on the face of the guy who was trying to warn him of the ghost, but what else is new?

Addressing the story, yeah, Penny becomes a superhero by eating her father’s gross snacks, after getting hit by lightning because of course…She also loses her powers after a bunch of the snacks get caught up in an exploding ghost.

I kinda don’t feel like giving you the context for any of this stuff, because I don’t think it’d help.

The other kids are enjoying the Frightacular, and for all you Lil Romeo fans out there, he does voice himself here, and he does perform. The song’s pretty good, but it’s a very weird and out of place moment in a Halloween special.

Penny comes to the Frightacular after saving all of the goodie bags from the Gross sisters, and she gets greedy asking for rewards for the deed. She’s invited to perform with Lil Romeo, but we never hear them both (or her at all) singing.

Back with her family, her father is warned by a previous homeowner that their house is haunted by a man named Garret Krebbs, which is why he sold the house to Oscar for a mere $500. And wouldn’t ya know it, even though they’ve lived in the house for over ten years, tonight’s the night Krebbs decides to attack.

Penny saves the day and destroys the ghost, but since she loses her powers as a result of the battle no one believe it was her. However, she’s gained a better appreciation for Halloween as a result.

Also, throughout this entire ordeal, they are very clearly playing a knockoff of the Halloween theme, even though absolutely nothing in this episode has a single thing to do with Halloween, the movie, besides taking place on Halloween….

The next day, everyone talks about the hero who saved Halloween, but Penny keeps her secret. They see something flying in the air, believing it’s the mysterious hero….and it’s Suga Mama’s dog, Puff, who has now become a superhero after eating some of the snacks.

The, uh….end I guess.

I gotta be honest, I completely forgot this Halloween special even existed. I was browsing lists of animated Halloween specials and this one came up as one of the best ones from Disney Channel, and I went from “The Proud Family had a Halloween special?” to “OH YEAH! It did….I completely forget what it was about…” to finally, after looking it up “OH YEAH…I kinda remember that……a little!” And bear in mind, I did watch The Proud Family fairly often when it was airing.

……I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. I don’t really get good Halloween vibes from this special. I don’t get much of anything besides confusion. It’s like a word salad, but with random plot elements.

Have a performance by Lil Romeo. Have Penny gain superpowers. Have her father’s snacks be the conduit for said superpowers, somehow and someway. Have a random as hell meteor nearly hit a small child. Have a ghost wait ten years before attacking the family of the house he’s haunting. Why was he even dicking around pretending to be a magician at the party for several hours before attacking?

I guess the lesson was that Halloween…..Uh…Halloween’s not just for kids….because you can get superpowers? No, that can’t be it. Don’t buy houses for $500 because there has to be a hitch? Maybe….Is there even a lesson in this episode?

By the way, all of this DID actually happen. They didn’t balk and say it was a dream or something. It all legitimately happened. The world of The Proud Family is very, very odd sometimes….and I still haven’t reviewed the movie yet…..

This episode really highlighted how god-awful the animation was in this series. I look back to the Kwanzaa special and realize that they must have bumped up the budget a smidge on that episode because I didn’t have much to complain about there, but here? It actually makes me sad. It’s so cheap, the lip syncing is terrible and there are numerous very obvious loop animations. I remembered the animation quality being bad, but this was near laughable levels. Disney, why was your budgeting for the animated Disney Channel shows so inconsistent?

I guess, at the end of the day, this is a perfectly harmless Halloween special. It’s nothing good or bad, it’s just really, really goofy and nonsensical and doesn’t capture the Halloween mood that much. It didn’t make me angry, it didn’t make me happy, it just kinda baffled me.


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Dissecting the Disquels Finale – The Ultimate Disquel Rankings List!

To cap off Dissecting the Disquels, I have decided to make a finalized rankings list of all of the movies in the set. Now, you might think that, since all of the movies have been reviewed with number ratings, that the list should be easy enough to sort out, but that really isn’t the case. Considering I’ve been sitting on these reviews for years, as many as seven years for a few of them, I found myself seeing some of the entries in a different light for a variety of reasons, and that made their places on the list either higher or lower as a result.

Here’s what I was focused on.

Overall Quality – this is basically the initial number rating I gave to the movie.

Memorability – How much I remember the movie now and how memorable I found it upon watching it.

Entertainment Value – How much fun I had watching it.

Original Respect/Disrespect – How much it disrespected the original movie OR if it displayed particular notes of respect for the original. I’ll be gauging this via positive or negative ratings.

Rewatch Desire – Not really rewatchability, as in if you’d get any benefit from watching it again, but moreso whether I WANT to rewatch it.

With those factors in mind, let’s finally rank all of the Disquels!

Going from best to worst;

1 – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (Part One | Part Two)

I don’t think there’s anything more I can say about this movie that I haven’t already said. It is, by far, the best Disquel and a fitting followup to one of my favorite movies ever, The Lion King. It doesn’t surpass its predecessor, but it is still a very good movie on its own with great characters, an amazing soundtrack and an awesome villain. This is what all of the Disquels should have aspired to be, but, alas, that obviously didn’t happen.

Overall Quality – 8.5/10

Memorability – 9/10

Entertainment Value – 9/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +6 While it does do the original justice and doesn’t really disrespect anything directly, the massive chasm between the original movie and the sequel’s plot is way too noticeable. There’s just too much left unexplained……

…..THE OTHER LION WAS GOLD AND MALE, GUYS. GOLD AND MALE. Where did he go!?

Disney:

Rewatch Desire – 9.5/10

2 – The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (The Little Mermaid 3)

I decided Ariel’s Beginning would get second place because, while it is very much neck and neck with my third place choice, I just felt like Ariel’s Beginning had more substance and reason to exist. It allowed us to better understand why Triton was the way he was about humans, and it introduced us to Ariel’s mom for…a few minutes.

Plus, it’s a very entertaining movie that never really annoyed me at any point, and I still love Benjamin. It suffers from having a very weak villain and a deja vu plot, but it still stands up well enough on its own.

Overall Quality – 8/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 8/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +7 Their biggest sin here was, despite having a movie celebrating music and how important it is to both undersea life/mermaids and, well, the movie series as a whole, the original soundtrack is very much lacking and that’s greatly disappointing. Plus, while Ariel’s mom was in the movie, it was very, very briefly.

Rewatch Desire – 7.5/10

3 – Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

The big surprise of the whole set of Disquels was definitely Cinderella III. The original movie didn’t call for a two let alone a three, and two was awful, so how good could a third be? Quite good, bafflingly enough. It has a very appealing style to it, it’s entertaining, charming and funny, it gave Cinderella some agency and it fleshed out the relationship between her and the prince more than the original or the second movie ever did.

This movie doesn’t have much of a reason to exist, is all, and it doesn’t change the status quo at the end, which is understandable because it’s a time travel movie. It shifted focus to Anastasia, which continues to be a confusing choice to me, but works well enough. She’s a good person now, having gone through a legit redemption arc this time, but doesn’t get her own love interest in the end, which is both welcome because that’s cliché and a bit confusing because where’s the damn baker from the second movie? He was a normal dude, looking normal and doing a normal job, and he really Disney-loved her. He would’ve been perfect for her to end up with. It would’ve been easy to work him in. Make him the royal baker or something. Come on.

Overall Quality – 8/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 7.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I’m keeping this one neutral because, technically, this movie is doing the ultimate disrespect to the first movie by basically erasing it from ever happening. However, like I said, I liked what they replaced it with, so…..People will probably argue this one, but I’m keeping this where it is.

Rewatch Desire – 7.5/10

4 – Bambi II

This is another movie that can sorta justify its existence, but didn’t really need to be made. Bambi II tells the story of Bambi’s life after his mother died but before he grew into a buck, being raised by the Great Prince of the Forest, which is an interesting enough premise. Being a midquel, it suffers from midquel predictability in that we know everyone will survive and nothing too impacting will happen, and it doesn’t, but it’s an enjoyable cute little movie that I liked so much that, in the review, I said it would’ve taken second place in my list of Disquel rankings. It’s not a must-see movie or anything, but I’d recommend any Bambi fan give it a watch.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 6.5/10

Entertainment Value – 7/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +4 It didn’t really do anything to mar the original, and it provided us with a look into a stronger bond between Bambi and the Great Prince. Kinda makes the original’s ending even more impacting.

Rewatch Desire – 7/10

5Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch

Lilo and Stitch was the last Disney classic to get the Disquel treatment, and it somehow managed to get the most Disquels with three movies – Lilo and Stitch 2, Stitch! The Movie and Leroy and Stitch. Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch, was the lowest rated out of all of them, but looking back I feel like I have maintained more of an appreciation for this movie slightly above the others. I just think the actual premise, Stitch going crazy due to a glitch, could’ve been done better. They don’t go far enough with him going ‘bad’ and the conflict was poorly handled since Jumba and Pleakley literally could have cleared everything up in a sentence but chose not to.

However, we do get more about Lilo’s mom, we get some really heartwarming moments, there’s some nice music, and out of all of Lilo and Stitch’s Disquels, this is the one I’d most want to watch again.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +1 Mostly neutral here. They do some things to respect the original movie and nothing to really disrespect it outside of maybe Lilo being a bit too harsh with Stitch when she’s always been understanding of him and should have known something was wrong instead of just believing he had gone bad again.

Rewatch Desire6/10

6 – Leroy and Stitch

The finale of the Lilo and Stitch universe….barring the anime versions…Leroy and Stitch is about Dr. Hamsterviel using a new experiment made by Jumba, named Leroy, who is basically another more powerful Stitch, to destroy all 625 of Stitch’s cousins. This is a very fitting finale to the entire franchise. It has a great epic battle, it properly reforms 625 and has him team up with Lilo, and it ties up quite a few loose ends. However, when I really thought back on it, I realized I didn’t really remember much of the movie beyond the ending battle and the resolution with the concert. Also, I didn’t feel as much of a desire to rewatch it as I did with Lilo and Stitch 2. It was a close call here, and it’s a good movie, but Leroy and Stitch just squeaks out a little lower.

Overall Quality – 7.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +6 They remembered every single experiment outlined in the show and gave names to those who never appeared. They also resolved several storylines and fixed some issues, but I don’t agree with some of the resolutions such as the endings with Mertle and Gantu. Those seemed rushed and undeserving. Also, while I understand why they couldn’t do this, and this is barely a decimal against them, they never did show all 626 experiments after building a TV show based on the premise of reforming every single experiment. Disney had their idiotic 65 episode rule at this point, so they basically went into the series knowing they’d never cover anywhere near that many experiments, but they still dangled that carrot in front of us.

Rewatch Desire5/10

7Return to Neverland (Peter Pan 2)

As I mentioned in my review, Peter Pan wasn’t a beloved Disney classic to me. I just didn’t get into it much, and I always kinda hated Tinkerbell. This entry is one of those movies where it’s just…’fine.’ It’s a fine movie. I didn’t gain much from it. I didn’t lose much from it. It’s fine. I definitely give this movie props for having the balls to have its setting be World War Freakin’ II and having the main plotline with the main character, Jane, daughter of Wendy, be her sacrificing her childhood because of World War Freakin’ II and trying to recapture it with Peter, but other than that it’s a lot of ‘fine.’

Also, I still can’t stop rolling my eyes at the fact that they replaced the alligator with an octopus who makes a popping noise all the time. That was just dumb.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +4 They do very much respect the original movie by showing how much of an impact Peter had on Wendy’s life and how much he still means to her, and I don’t think they do anything to really disrespect the original much. I just wish Peter and Wendy had more interaction besides that brief moment in the end. Also, we never get any information on where Wendy’s brothers are.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

8 – Stitch! The Movie

I rated this movie higher than Lilo and Stitch 2, but when I was finding a place for it on this list I realized I only barely remember anything about this movie. I remember Stitch feeling like he doesn’t belong….again, and Sparky existing, but that’s about it. Stitch! The Movie is certainly a good intro to Lilo and Stitch the Series, but, looking back on it, I’m not sure I have as much respect for it as a Disquel because, if the series didn’t exist, this movie would just be leading into a giant hole. Likewise, Leroy and Stitch is entirely reliant on the TV series too. If you didn’t watch the series beforehand, you’d be a little lost as to what’s going on in the movie. I’m just imagining someone watching all of the Lilo and Stitch Disquels without realizing there’s a TV show and being horrendously confused.

That being said, the movie isn’t bad by any means, but it lost quite a few spots in the rankings as time went on.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +3 While they did sort of retcon the original a little by having Stitch lost on his place in the world when that was a pretty good chunk of the first movie, it’s made up for by keeping the original spirit alive in introducing us to Stitch’s cousins.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

9 – Kronk’s New Groove (The Emperor’s New Groove 2)

There was a whole lot of potential with this Disquel. The Emperor’s New Groove is a fantastic, memorable and very funny movie. A spin-off with Kronk could have worked very well. However, this movie tries to go in so many directions that it ends up going nowhere. It tries so, so hard to be the first movie, but it also tries to be its own thing, and it also tries to follow Disquel formulas while maintaining the ENG style. It’s just too much. And lest we forget that this is one of those three-segmented ‘movies’ that is part of the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection. There was some fun to be had here. It’s self-aware, it has a good sense of humor and the story is slightly workable, but it’s cliché as all hell.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I feel like I should leave this neutral. It almost goes overboard with how much it references the original and tries to replicate it, but on the other hand it’s also trying to repackage the first movie and resell you something else (A Kronk TV series that was never made, although ENG did get a Disquel TV series that was centered on Kuzco again) and that’s pretty disrespectful.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

10Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure

I found that, over time, I actually enjoyed this movie more than I first thought. I’ve seen this movie several times at this point, and…I’d watch it again in a heartbeat. Which is weird, because there’s not that much to this movie. It’s a very simple and predictable plot, but…for some reason that works with me? This movie’s problems mostly lie in its Disquelisms (Kid of original main character basically does the first movie in reverse) being very predictable, having an annoying lead character and having a forgettable antagonist who just doesn’t work.

So why do I find myself enjoying the movie whenever I put it on and having a desire to watch it again in the future?….It’s enjoyable and relaxing. The soundtrack’s good with some of the most memorable and well-made lyrical songs of the Disquels. I still sing ‘A World Without Fences’ to myself on occasion….I dunno, I just like it, which is especially weird considering, as I mentioned in the review, I have no attachment to the original movie.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 6/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Keeping this neutral because I honestly don’t remember enough about the original movie to say anything either way. They do introduce a new character who was supposedly very important to Tramp’s life and whom he ‘betrayed’ when Tramp left to live with Lady, but he never appeared in the original movie. It’s a very Zira-esque situation. But I’m not sure that counts as disrespect. Moreso laziness.

Rewatch Desire – 6/10

11 – The Lion King 1 ½

How did TLK2 rank so high but TLK 1 ½ doesn’t even get top ten? Well, because, again, looking back on it, this movie didn’t stick with me much. I remember most of it, but nothing stood out as being particularly impacting or funny. And it’s a damn shame that a TLK Disquel is so far down because, as I’ve mentioned, TLK is one of my favorite movies. A midquel with Timon and Pumbaa could have worked so much better than this. They skimped on the stuff with Simba, which is what most people wanted to see, Timon and Pumbaa’s first meeting was lame, and I will never forgive them for that stupid fart joke during the presentation ceremony. That still makes me angry. It’s relatively fine, and could’ve been a lot worse – I did give it a pretty decent overall score – but after mulling it over I can’t find it within myself to put it any higher than eleven.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 6/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -5 I can’t not dock it off for the presentation fart thing. I’m sorry. I thought I’d just get over that, and when I reached this point that wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but nope…it’s just too stupid and disrespectful to one of the most memorable and awesome moments in Disney movies. I also REALLY didn’t care for the montage of them trying to sabotage Nala and Simba’s budding romance during ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ However, credit where credit is due, they do otherwise respect the original quite well and even make some pretty decent jokes about key scenes in the movie.

Rewatch Desire – 4/10

12Aladdin and the King of Thieves (Aladdin 3)

Yeah, I was surprised I put this so far down the list too considering I gave it a 7.5. I was just re-reading my review of it and I suddenly had the realization that I never wanted to watch the movie again. I mentioned I had watched it once before the review rewatch, and….yeah, that’s enough. It has pretty decent quality as a Disquel, some good action, and it FINALLY closes out the series proper by marrying Aladdin and Jasmine and showing us what happened to Aladdin’s father, but there’s nothing to really draw me into wanting to watch it again.

I can’t remember any of the songs now, except a short part of ‘There’s a Party in Agrabah,’ the comedy just isn’t there, despite finally getting Robin Williams back as Genie, and that’s because they, for some reason, rely very, very heavily on Disney references, and any drama about Aladdin’s dad is pretty blah once you’ve seen the movie once. I do recommend any Aladdin fan see this movie at least once because it’s definitely worth that price of admission, but beyond that…eh.

Overall Quality – 7.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +1 Pretty benign here. They do respect the original by finally holding Aladdin and Jasmine’s wedding (though, again, I’d SWEAR they were married at the end of the first movie. It plays off so much like they’re married.) and they don’t really do anything to disrespect the original movie outside of Genie not having a purpose or being funny. I almost feel like Robin Williams was given no room to improvise like he was in the first movie. There are so many Disney references that it just has to be Disney shoving the script down his throat.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

13The Return of Jafar (Aladdin 2)

One of the very first Disquels and one that many people seem to hold dear to their heart, myself included a little, The Return of Jafar is alright but just not that strong story-wise. You’d think the return of Jafar, one of the most threatening Disney villains, would warrant a bit more excitement but…pbbt. Most of the movie is made up of redeeming Iago, which is fine but not really all that much of a hook, if you ask me. The fact that Jafar was also technically beaten by Iago is a little on the corny side. It was nice to give him a good scene like that, but it’s just kinda lame.

Couple with that a very corny but just alright-ish mostly soundtrack and animation that is only up to TV standards, plus a Robin William-less Genie and it’s just a bit of a mess. I might feel like watching this movie again in the future, but it’s much less memorable and entertaining than I remembered it being back when I was a kid.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -2 Jafar’s a bit of an idiot in this movie, far removed from what he was originally. His main drive is to become a free genie, but he realizes that free genies have much less power than bound ones, soooo….The tone and style are also much schmaltzier than the original. It never commits any big sins against the original, but it also doesn’t really give any good sendups to it either.

Rewatch Desire – 3.5/10

14The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

When I think of Disquelisms, I always think of TLM2. It is such an unabashed example of the Disquel tropes, it’s actually quite sad. Main character the original main character’s kid? Check. The original movie in reverse? Check. The villain basically being a discount version of the original’s villain? Check. Throw some nonsensical plot threads, some of the worst comic relief sidekicks I’ve ever seen (that are also complete rip-offs of Timon and Pumbaa) and a mediocre to near cringey soundtrack into the mix and this movie just………..

FLOUNDERED! 😀

The only real redeeming factors are that Melody’s an alright character, she had better motivations than Ariel did in the first movie, Ariel herself actually has character development in this movie, and the production values are pretty good for a Disquel. I have a tiny bit of nostalgic fondness for this movie, but I’m not sure I’d ever watch it again. There’s just nothing there to really warrant it.

Overall Quality – 5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Keeping this one neutral because, outside of introducing Ursula’s never mentioned before sister, they don’t do anything one way or another. I can’t say copy-pasting the original movie and reversing it is really respect and not laziness.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

15Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World

Ahhhh….Pocahontas 2….This one of those situations where I can’t say much more beyond ‘They shouldn’t have even tried.’ This was a lose-lose situation out the gate. People were complaining about how historically inaccurate the original movie was to the true story and how kinda creepy it was to pair up real adult man John Smith with real 12 year old child girl Pocahontas and how disrespectful it was to basically make Native Americans magic and bunch of other stuff, so they tried to make a sequel closer to the original story and more grounded….and it just culminated in people yelling ‘WHO CARES ABOUT HISTORICAL ACCURACY?! MY OTP WAS DESTROYED!! :’(’

The movie, on its own, is quite fine, and, as someone who doesn’t give a duck in a bucket about Pocahontas and John Smith’s relationship, I’m also fine with her going off into the sunset with John Rolfe (who did marry her in real life.) People act like John Rolfe was super boring, but, got news for ya, so is John Smith. As for the movie itself….it’s fine. There’s just not a lot to sink your teeth into and it’s not all that memorable. It does have some funny moments, though, and it tied up several loose ends. It’s very much a lot of ‘fine.’

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – ???? I just bailed on this one because I’m not touching it. One side would argue that it commits the most deplorable of wrongs to the original by splitting up Pocahontas and John Smith in lieu of her being with Rolfe, but another would say it actually does more respect to the original historical story by a mile, and continues on with the themes they were trying to get across in the end of the first movie by having Pocahontas attempt to strengthen relations between the Native Americans and the English settlers. Make your own judgment call here.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

16 – 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure

This movie was fun and a relaxing watch, but it really wasn’t memorable at all. Nothing all that interesting happened, Patch isn’t that memorable of a main character, and the plot is predictable. Plus, it’s a little depressing that it’s perfectly understandable for Patch to feel like just another face in a sea of puppies, but to have the climax basically being that his family never does realize he’s missing on their own and they have to find out by seeing his picture in the paper…it’s really just sad. I can’t imagine how hard it is to try and spread yourself so thin that you have to assure 99 puppies that they’re loved equally, but still. In the end, though, there’s nothing terribly wrong with the movie – it’s just that there’s nothing terribly right with it either.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Might as well stay on the neutral path here. Is there even anything from the original to really lend respect to? Not to say the original’s  a bad film, but it’s mostly lacking substance in story and characters. It’s still a cute movie about puppies, so there ya go.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

17 – Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

This one I didn’t rate that bad. However, as Christmas approaches I tend to think of movies/specials etc. that I’d like to watch over the holiday season, and as I was looking over my review of this movie I didn’t even think about considering this one. I also didn’t really remember much of it, either. I remembered Tim Curry as Forte, but as for the actual story, I was pretty much at a loss. Christmas was involved, I think. Looking back, I did enjoy myself a little watching this movie, and despite remembering none of the songs now, apparently they were decent, so I’ll give it points for that, but the movie no longer registers in my mind past, present or future.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 4.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -1 Doesn’t do anything terribly wrong, that I remember, but it introduces two servant characters who never appeared in the original movie, despite being a midquel, and the criticism of Belle shifting from only liking the Beast when he makes steps to improve himself on his own to seeing him as a project is warranted. Granted, Beast was still trying to improve himself anyway.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

18 – The Jungle Book 2

I criticized this movie quite a bit for being boring, and, yeah, I still feel that way. I remember more about this movie than I do Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, but not by much. And I think one of the reasons I remember it more is because, for a short while, I was fairly into the two original songs they made for the soundtrack. The art and animation are pretty darn good, and so is the voice acting, but the writing is cliché, the characters’ decisions are very questionable, even though I realize that they’re children, and not much happens over the entire movie. They brought back Shere Khan to dick around for an hour before making his move and then he just ends up getting thwarted rather easily. Not to mention the little bit I’ll get to in the respect section.

Overall Quality – 4/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -6 The ending of this movie completely reverses the message of the first movie. Mowgli was a human child who needed to live a human life. It was safer, it provided more avenues for life fulfillment and happiness, and it was what he ultimately chose. It was a bittersweet reality somewhat akin to The Fox and the Hound. But this movie was like ‘Aw, dat sad. Let me fix it.’ So now the jungle is perfectly safe for children to traverse just because they defeated one tiger, and Mowgli, Shanti, Baloo and Bagheera can live together in harmony. No need to swallow any harsh truths here, folks. I get that some people probably liked this ending, and Disney is all about making unrealistically happy endings, but still. They made one ending that was pretty perfect – stick to it. Show Baloo and Bagheera checking up on Mowgli every now and then or something, but don’t reverse everything…

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

19Tarzan and Jane

Unlike several Disquels that pretended they were legitimate sequels when they were just backdooring a pilot for a TV series, whether or not it got made, this movie changes that up by….repackaging the last few episodes of a TV series that did get made and created some bookends for the stories so it could pretend to be a new movie….Now, I didn’t give this ‘movie’ too much flak despite being…not good, because it did have a few genuinely funny or entertaining moments. However, I can’t help but think of the people who are Tarzan fans who watched the TV series and would be massively disappointed to grab this movie thinking it’s new material when 97% of it isn’t….It’s really sneaky advertising, it’s unfair to the fans, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hence why, despite the slightly higher ratings, I actually put this one below The Jungle Book 2.

Overall Quality – I gave this movie two ratings; one based on if you’ve seen the series, which was 1/10 and one for if you haven’t, which was 4/10. I was going to split the difference, but I think I’ll just leave it as two ratings.

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I can’t really think of anything they did in either direction. Maybe the fact that Jane and her father can seemingly speak to animals now, without a lick of explanation as to why and how this is possible (Tarzan can do it because he was raised by them) but that’s probably just something they glazed over in the show itself so they could include all of the animals in the show without it being difficult with Jane and her father.

Rewatch Desire2/10

20Brother Bear 2

Everyone gets a girlfriend. That is this entire movie. Everyone gets a girlfriend. Brother Bear never had a romantic plotline, so they made up for that in spades here. But it was a story centered on brotherhood. It doesn’t need a romantic plotline. It wasn’t ‘missing’ one so much as it didn’t need one, and it would’ve been detriment to the story to try and include one.

As a result, Brother Bear 2 ends up being less about brotherhood (Sitka never shows up, neither does Denahi, and Kenai’s relationship with Koda is now coated in a lot of jealousy and Kenai neglecting Koda.) As I said, it could’ve been worse, and it’s harmless on its own, but this was a purely unnecessary movie that doesn’t do much of anything either. There’s no big lesson learned or anything, it’s the same ‘*gasp* I realized I loved my childhood friend all along!’ plotline you’ve seen a hundred times. Nita’s also not that interesting in the slightest – she doesn’t even make much sense. I’m still not really angry with this movie, despite being a fan of the original, and it does have a few moments that are genuinely good, but its existence is a little insulting just on the basis of ‘GIV EVRY1 A GURLFREND!1’ and I can’t see myself ever watching it again.

Overall Quality – 4/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 3/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -3 They half-disrespected the themes of the original movie. Brotherhood is still a theme, but it takes a backseat to the romance aspect. And much of the brotherhood stuff, even with Rutt and Tuke, is slathered in jealousy and neglect. While I did say that I understood omitting Denahi from appearing because his voice actor passed away, it’s disrespectful to not, ya know, mention him or anything. And there’s no excuse for not including Sitka at all.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

21Tarzan 2

Goddamn, this movie is boring. And it’s making the situation worse for itself by being a midquel, meaning we know none of this matters anyway. It’s not even exploring anything interesting during the middle of the original movie. It’s literally just what Tarzan was doing during the ‘Son of Man’ segment….and we saw that. So they had to make up some dumb plotline where the ultimate lesson was…be yourself….*sigh* The only redeeming thing in this movie is the song ‘Who Am I’ because it’s pretty catchy and well-made. Also, they did get Phil Collins back for this, which is cool. Otherwise, there is not a single reason to watch this movie.

Overall Quality – 3/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 1/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 It doesn’t do anything, so it can’t do much in this aspect. It does maintain Tarzan and Kala’s sweet relationship and brings back Phil Collins and some of his music, though that might be because he was a big pull in the original movie, but the storyline and placement of this movie makes no sense when you think about it and kinda messes up the story flow of the first movie.

Rewatch Desire – 0.5/10

22Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

Hey, do you want to see a solid hour of Cinderella planning parties? No? Well, apparently, Disney thinks you do. Cinderella 2 is another movie in the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection, and it was the first Disquel I ever reviewed. It is very boring. It is very stupid. Much of it doesn’t even make sense.

I have no clue why they thought a Cinderella TV show would work in the first place. It’s clear they didn’t think much of it working either because, as I mentioned, Cinderella does nothing but plan parties the whole time. The final segment where a somewhat reformed Anastasia is trying to find love with the baker dude is the only somewhat memorable-ish and decent-ish thing about the movie, and that was retconned. We don’t even see Anastasia actually get reformed in this movie, which might be a decent tale, as we see in Cinderella III. We’re just suddenly supposed to sympathize with her because Cinderella got her happily ever after and she didn’t. Boo hoo.

Overall Quality – 2/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 2/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -2 The movie does mostly nothing of note in the first place, but it reforms an antagonist from the original movie with no reason given as to how or why (At least with Iago in Aladdin 2 they showed him connecting with the characters and slowly lightening up.) but that’s not too bad because reforming Anastasia can actually work. It’s not like they were irredeemable people, besides Bitch – they were just egotistical jerks. I also got the slightest bit insulted in the first segment where Cinderella was actually complaining about her cushy new life as a princess after being magically rescued from an abusive household….

Rewatch Desire – 1.5/10

23Atlantis: Milo’s Return

Entry #37462B-46 of the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection….I really liked the original Atlantis: The Lost Empire. I think it’s a slept-on classic. Not the best in the world, but still doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It also didn’t warrant a sequel at all. It was a very contained story. But here we are with a sequel that was planning on spawning a sequel TV series that never happened.

This movie’s not completely terrible, but it’s also not good. I have no desire to ever watch it again, and I barely remember anything about it.

Overall Quality – 3/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 3/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -7 I will give it props for keeping basically everyone in character, but this movie did the original dirty when Kida decided it would be oh so intelligent to raise Atlantis to surface level and merge her culture with that of the surface world….all to have material for a TV series that never happened.

They sugarcoat it by pretending everything will be all well and good and everyone will live together in peace, but bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit. They knew that at the end of the first movie, which is why the crew lied about Atlantis when they returned home. Hell, they knew what a terrible idea this was in THIS movie because the only reason there was any conflict on land was because the power of the Atlantean artifacts was causing all sorts of problems on the surface world. Kida risked the safety and well-being of her entire culture, one her late father entrusted to her, one that barely avoided destruction via a surface-dweller mere months prior….because the writers needed a convenient method of making stories for a TV show….that never even happened. Bite me.

Rewatch Desire – 1/10

24Mulan 2

Second verse, same as the first! Now with an asshole dragon! Yup, another movie where they thought ‘Hmm, the original movie didn’t have much romance. Let’s fix that by making the sequel obnoxiously about romance.’ This is such an unnecessary pile of crap. They made Mulan boring and inert, they gave the boys three perfectly suited for each of them princess love interests, they basically made Mulan and Shang’s relationship look bad and like it would probably never last, and they made Mushu into a selfish dumbass who hurts Mulan and tries to break her and Shang up all because he wants to keep being pampered by the other ancestors (who are waiting on him hand and foot for no reason. Also, despite being an asshole the whole movie, he ends up still getting pampered by the other ancestors…) There’s no antagonist, there’s barely a conflict and the barely conflict is fixed via stupidity and tired as hell cliche. As someone who absolutely loved the original Mulan, this movie can rot in a garbage can.

Overall Quality – 2.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 2/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -9 About the only thing this movie respects about the original is the ‘be true to your heart’ thing. Otherwise, Mulan’s a boring sack of dull. Not to mention that Mulan’s pretty focused on love here and even has a couple ‘squeeing’ moments. She battles once very briefly against no-name bandits, but who cares? Also, she needs to be saved by Shang from a marriage she doesn’t want.

Any message against sexism is pretty much null and void because the boys still want girls who suit their every desire and wait on them, and that’s what they get. They do push a message of not forcing people to marry, but I’ve seen some people complain that that message is disrespectful to Chinese culture in regards to arranged marriages because it’s western culture trying to force their views on them, and I get that.

Shang’s being a prick, Mushu’s being a bigger prick and it rewards him for it. Feh. There is one good dramatic moment during Shang’s death fakeout, which actually felt reminiscent of the original movie, but that’s about it.

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

25 – Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World

If you thought trying to make Cinderella into a TV show was a stupid idea that would never work, wait until you hear that Disney was trying to make a TV series as a midquel for Beauty and the Beast. It’s been a long time since I watched this movie, and I still can’t believe that was a plan. Squeeze out seasons worth of material in one or two months, at absolutely most, of a gap in the middle of the original movie. Yikes. The stories and songs here are basically as uninteresting and unmemorable as Cinderella 2, now with less animation quality. As a midquel, we know how everything turns out anyway, especially in the plots that involve strife between Belle and Beast. This movie and pilot idea couldn’t be more pointless.

Overall Quality – 1/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 1/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – – 3 Beast is just a crazy person in this movie. His attitude is much worse and flip-floppy than in the original movie. Belle is similarly worsened as she becomes slightly childish in her fights with him. The biggest offense this movie commits is really just having the gall to claim all of this happened in a little tiny time frame in the original movie – and all because they don’t have any ideas for Belle and Bea—Adam after the transformation back to normal. They legitimately could have gone for the child-of-previous-main-characters shtick and it would’ve worked a lot better than either movie, to be honest (as long as they did it well, of course.)

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

26 – The Fox and the Hound 2

Thinking about this movie gives me a headache. If there’s one thing I can say for a decent chunk of the Disquels it’s that you can easily identify them as being sequels to the original movie. This movie is so bland and boring and listless and forgettable and so far divorced from what the original movie was that if I explained the full plot to you without mentioning either character’s name (or saying ‘fox’ and ‘hound’) that you’d never believe this plot was a sequ—excuse me, midquel to The Fox and the Hound.

And yes, as if the terrible story and several degrees of separation from the original’s tone, message and pretty much everything weren’t enough, this is a midquel so it’s super pointless to watch this, not to mention depressing. Like, yeah, kids, enjoy watching this cute little friendship withstand a hardship just to eventually realize that they’ll be forced apart by the norms of nature and society as adults! The only good thing I could ever say about this movie is that the music was okay, but as of this moment I can’t even remember any of the music either. It is more than deserving of the runner-up…or runner-down spot on this list.

Overall Quality – 1.5/10

Memorability – 1/10

Entertainment Value – 1.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -9 As if everything I already said wasn’t bad enough, they also tried to imply that Widow Tweed and Amos were going to be romantically linked, which, uh, no. No….And no.

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

27 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

And the winner of the bottom spot of this ranking list is none other than The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 – or as I like to call it ‘Pain in Movie Form.’ There is nothing this movie did right. Nothing. Not as a movie, not as a Disquel, not as a use for thousands of VHS tapes….Nothing. The art and animation is terrible. The music makes my insides self-immolate. The story is stupid, doesn’t make sense, and the overall message is ridiculously simple and one that was already gone over in the first movie. And it’s one of those stupid ‘someone didn’t get a love interest in the last movie. Gotta give them one now’ plots.

The new girl, whose name I don’t even remember, is literally just a constructed love interest for Quasi because he didn’t get Esmeralda in the end. She’s so boring and one note that it’s actually impressive. I don’t even want to acknowledge that the joke of ‘villain’ even exists. It’s hard to follow Frollo as it is, but they didn’t even try. No no, it was more like they were told to try even less than they intended on trying. Why this movie dares to exist is a mystery I still have yet to solve, and it is more than deserving of the bottom spot on this list.

Overall Quality – 1/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – .5/10 Just for the little kids.

Original Respect/Disrespect

Rewatch Desire0/10

And that finally, completely finishes off Dissecting the Disquels. It’s been a long and bumpy road with some nice detours along the way, but all g–….things must come to an end.

But fear not. Despite the Disquel movies being done, we still have work to do. There’s still Disquels TV shows to explore and……We’ll have to tackle….the live-action reboots. I am scared.


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Dissecting the Disquels: The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (Part Two – Step-By-Step Analysis)

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Simba has become a great king in the Pride Lands, and now he’s welcoming his first child, Kiara, into the world. While Simba has become a bit of an overprotective stick-in-the-mud and greatly values tradition and the kingdom above all else, looking forward to the day when his daughter supersedes him and becomes queen, Kiara is uncertain about her future and just wants to be herself.

When she grows up, she falls in love with a lion from the Outlands named Kovu, who has been trained his whole life to get close to Kiara in order to get in good with the royal family and kill Simba. His mother is Zira, leader of the Outlander lionesses who have previously pledged loyalty to Scar and have been banished to the desolate wasteland outside of the Pride Lands because of it. But when Kovu starts legitimately falling in love with Kiara, their loyalty to both of their lands and their families will be tested. Can love end the feuding once and for all?

Breakdown:

Read Part 1 (In-Depth Analysis) Here.

Part two, baby! Before we start on this section, let’s talk about some of the foundations of the movie’s story.

First and foremost, the Lion King movies all have a tradition of sorts in that they all base themselves off of Shakespeare plays. The original Lion King was based on Hamlet, TLK 1 ½ was based on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and TLK2 is based off of Romeo and Juliet.

Obviously, there’s quite a bit in Romeo and Juliet that simply wasn’t adapted here, especially the suicide bit – that goes a bit too far for Disney’s standards.

Secondly, at face value, this movie seemingly tries to explore racism and/or classism in its narrative. As I’ll discuss further later, if this is a part of the narrative and isn’t just something implied though unfortunate choices of wording or situations, then they don’t do a very good job at all touching upon it. I feel like, after analyzing more, the racism/classism angle is more of a stretch than I initially thought, but it’s something to consider.

Finally, TLK2 is something kinda special in that it does remain canon to this day. In the newest iteration of the franchise, the Disney Junior show, The Lion Guard, all of the characters in this movie are part of the story, to my knowledge. We’ll return to The Lion Guard in the future, but it does show something that Disney actually acknowledges one of the Disquels as actually being canon. Granted, from what I read, TLG messes with a lot in regards to known Lion King lore, but, again, we’ll get to that down the line.

Now for the breakdown of the full story of The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. Enjoy!

—————————————-

Since the beginning of this movie is picking up right where the last movie left off, our story starts out extremely similarly to the first movie, damn near beat-by-beat, only this time Mufasa is shown watching over the presentation ceremony. Also, it seems like they do the presentation ceremony wrong or backwards? Or both. The way the ceremony went for Simba was he had fruit goop put on his head, dust thrown in his face, and then he was brought out to be shown to the animals of the Pride Lands. Here, Kiara is presented, then she has fruit goop put on her head and then it’s done.

Maybe it’s different for princesses. Actually, now that I think about it, the cub at the end of TLK didn’t have goop on his head….it was still a different lion, but goopless. Maybe when you do the goop doesn’t matter?

Goop’s a fun word. Goop goop goop.

Timon and Pumbaa actually seem to mirror the general feeling of this little twist.

Rafiki: “Hehehhe, it is a girl.”

Timon: “Girl….”

Timon and Pumbaa: “GIRL!? Oy…” Also, Timon and Pumbaa are a little sexist here – let’s just admit that. Maybe not fullblown sexist, but a little. Just a smidge.

Skip ahead to Kiara being a little older cub. Overprotective Simba is trying to reel in the adventurous Kiara before she heads off into the wilderness to play. He gives her all sorts of rules for being out by herself, which makes Kiara roll her eyes, but she knows her dad loves her. After agreeing to everything he reminded her about, she heads off.

We get a pretty cute moment between Nala and Simba, and it is really apparent how much Nala has matured over the years. Adult Nala was never really immature, but this Nala has taken to motherhood like a duck to water. She’s always very evenly toned and understanding, yet she still remains playful with Simba, even giving Simba the old trademark pin to the ground. She’s also protective of her daughter, but she’s more trusting and understanding of Kiara’s desires and her personality.

She points out that Kiara is similar to Simba, which Simba points out is a bad thing because they got into so much trouble as kids, but Nala still says she’ll be fine.

Proving Nala’s point, like young Simba, Kiara also likes to practice hunting (though, technically Simba was only practicing pouncing, since lionesses are the hunters.) and she’s enamored with the scary place outside of the Pride Lands borders – in this case the Outlands.

And like Zazu followed Simba and Nala when they went off alone, Timon and Pumbaa are assigned to watch Kiara. However, unlike Zazu, Timon and Pumbaa tail her in ‘secret’ because Simba is so paranoid that he wants to have someone keep an eye on his daughter without letting her know she’s being watched. I have to imagine this is more because of Nala, because Simba tells them to do this while whispering immediately after Nala walked away.

Of course, they suck at it and alert her almost immediately to their presence. It does create a pretty funny sequence afterwards where they nearly drown and crush her, though…..That doesn’t sound nearly as bad in context, trust me.

Which brings me to the weird change in dynamic Timon and Pumbaa now have with Simba. It seems like they’re less his surrogate parents and more his most trusted advisors (considering Zazu’s in this movie for all of 56 seconds.) They’re scared to death of what Simba might do to them if they let anything bad happen to Kiara, and I can’t decide if that’s pathetic or depressing.

They are fine in this movie – their shtick really hasn’t changed at all – but it’s just kinda weird how their role in Simba’s life has changed so much.

We get more insight into Kiara as she feels like literally no one listens to her. She feels like people just see her as just a princess when that’s only half of who she is. When Pumbaa asks who the other half is, she has no real answer. And well she shouldn’t at this point, because she’s still a little kid. Really the only thing she truly knows about herself is that she doesn’t want to be just a princess and she’s none too keen on being a queen because she feels like the position impedes on her freedom and happiness.

As Timon and Pumbaa argue like an old married couple, Kiara sneaks off to the Outlands. I don’t really understand why she does, though. It’s a bunch of dead trees, dirt and gross water. I get that Kiara’s probably a little intrigued because it’s a forbidden area, but it’s really quite boring compared to the vast beauty of the Pride Lands.

As Kiara explores the Outlands, she bumps into the lion cub, Kovu, who tries to intimidate her. However, Kiara kinda bounces back and forth to ‘evade’ him. Kovu doesn’t understand what’s she’s even doing, and Kiara tells him that her father warned her to never talk to an Outsider.

Kovu strikes back by asking if Kiara always does what her daddy says, which she vehemently denies, but Kovu doesn’t believe her. He brags that, as an Outsider, he doesn’t need anybody. He does everything on his own and takes care of himself, leaving Kiara in awe.

But enough of the meet cute – Alligator attack!

The duo are attacked by a slue of alligators, in a scene that might be reflective a little of the elephant graveyard scene in the first movie. I do like how it’s more about Kovu and Kiara working together to get out of this jam than it was when Simba was just protecting Nala. It’s a very well-done and exciting scene. I mean, any adult watching this would be able to deduce that these cubs won’t die. Not only are they cubs, they’re the main characters, but it still manages to be intense.

Back on safe ground, Kiara and Kovu more genuinely meet and bond.

And damn, Kiara’s laying it on thick.

Kiara: *eye flutter* *getting all up in his personal space* “I’m Kiara.”…..Kiara, aren’t you like the equivalent of a first grader? Maybe tone down the sultry voice.

Kiara tries to play Tag with Kovu, but realizes he’s probably never played in a normal non-violent capacity and then tries to play fight with him.

Because I guess their parents believe they’re fighting for real, they swoop in from the shadows roaring their furry faces off, which also reminds me of the elephant graveyard scene, but not so much because they don’t pretend like either of their growls/roars are coming from their parents.

Here’s where we get pretty much the only background exposition – Zira and her lioness posse were banished to the Outlands for reasons.

There.

Hope you’re satisfied.

Zira, I can completely understand. She’s bonkers, hates Simba and probably did something bad to earn being banished. I just find it hard to believe that Scar had this many lionesses who were so dedicated to his, let’s be honest, shitty leadership. I get that he has an allure to him, (I’m aware of the fanart….I wish I wasn’t.) but that idea is a bit more insulting. There are just too many of them to conveniently be missing from the first movie at once. Maybe Zira was the only one really enamored with him and she just managed to rally others into being brainwashed against Simba. I mean, she does seem pretty good at it.

This is also where we really see how deep and acidic this conflict is between the two factions. Even Nala is copping an attitude, and Timon and Pumbaa are sneering at and yelling at Zira to “get outta our Pride Lands.” For God’s sake, Simba even growls at Kovu when he learns that he was hand-picked by Scar to follow in his pawprints. Dude, he’s a little kid trembling in your shadow. Chill.

Simba reminds Zira of the penalty for re-entering the Pride Lands….which…is what? Death? Zira seems to imply it might be death considering she just hands Kovu over to him to seemingly kill. Simba tells her to take Kovu and get out because they’re done here, but in a menacing tone, while staring directly at Kiara, she says “Oh no Simba. We have barely begun.” In this one scene, she pretty much cements herself as being, by far, the best Disquel villain. Granted, it’s not like there’s much competition, but still.

In this one encounter, she sarcastically taunts Simba, plays the victim, tries to sacrifice her son while also challenging Simba at the same time and then threatens the princess. And, by the way, her voice acting is deliciously marvelous. It’s just mwah. She does act a tad like Scar, especially in the theatrics, but she’s certainly enough of her own character to differentiate herself from him.

Each side grabs their respective cub and walks off, with Kiara and Kovu giving each other a meek ‘bye.’ before losing sight of each other. Aw.

Simba breaks away from the group, him and Nala exchanging knowing glances, and Simba starts to lecture Kiara. He asserts that he simply doesn’t want to lose her and reminds her that he won’t always be around to protect her. He tries to also remind her that she’ll be queen one day, but she bursts out that she doesn’t want to be queen because it’s no fun.

Simba says it’s simply in her blood, as he is, they are all part of each other in the great circle of life. Kiara still isn’t buying it, but Simba playfully pushes her off the rock she’s sitting on and he gives that old trademark Simba smile. It’s nice to get those brief glimpses into young Simba every now and then.

They cuddle, and in starts song number one – ‘We Are One.’ You can find a full analysis on my views on this song in part one.

The basic gist is that Simba convinces Kiara that being responsible, being queen and accepting her place in the circle of life is just the way things are. It’s in her blood. She’s not old enough to understand yet, but one day she will be. Kiara solemnly accepts this for now.

Back in the Outlands, we see how desolate their land really is. Lions are pawing at bones, fighting over sticks and, if what I make out in the far back is right, eating termites and ants. We meet Vitani, Kovu’s sister, and Nuka, their older brother. Vitani is a smart and responsible girl, loyal follower of her mother, and Nuka is a bit of a bubblehead, but he’s mostly geared towards jealousy of Kovu for him being Scar’s heir instead of him. He desperately wants his mother’s attention above all else, but is usually overlooked.

Zira chews Nuka out for not watching Kovu, but Kovu defends him by saying it was his idea. Zira threatening reminds him that Simba is the enemy – the one who killed Scar, the one who banished them to the Outlands – and he should never associate with him or the Pride Landers. Kovu tries to explain himself by saying Kiara didn’t seem so bad, and he thought they might be friends. Zira scoffs at the idea until she starts believing he was cooking up an idea of getting close to Kiara so he could get close to Simba – be a bit of an insider agent and take them down. Zira praises her son for such a brilliant idea and marvels at how much he’s taking after Scar, much to Nuka’s disgust.

Zira takes Kovu back to their den to put him to bed, jazzed about the future opportunities this new plan presents to them. Kovu will kill Simba, avenge Scar, and reclaim the throne in Scar’s name. In comes the most awesome villain song of the Disquels (which isn’t saying much, honestly) and one of my favorite villain songs in general, ‘My Lullaby.’ The analysis of which you can find in part one, but damn, I love that song.

Cut to Rafiki, who acts as our time skip interlude. He makes drawings on the wall of Kiara and Kovu, explaining to Mufasa about his growing hopes for Kiara as future queen, but also his increasing concerns about Kovu growing into a threat under Zira’s guidance. Mufasa tells him through symbolism that he wants Kiara and Kovu to be together to unite the Pride Lands and the Outlands and end the tension between the two. Rafiki thinks he’s a crazy person, but after getting a gust of wind blown in his face, he relents and agrees with his plan.

So….from what I gather, Rafiki’s role in this movie is basically Friar Lawrence, only….he’s pretty much pointless. Rafiki’s only meant to speed along a process that is clearly already going to happen. The most he does is, later, when Kiara and Kovu are enjoying their time together and falling further in love, a slight rift in their relationship develops because of Kovu’s conflict with his secret duty, so he wraps them up in a happy peppy love song to make them love each other….more? Maybe to make Kovu more determined to stay with her and end the charade? I don’t dislike Rafiki here, he’s perfectly fine, I just don’t think they knew what to do with him that much.

In The Lion King, Rafiki acted as a guide for Simba to figure out who he truly was. He lead him to literally reflecting on himself and contacting the spirit of his father, which eventually prompted him to go back home and face his past and Scar. While it’s likely Simba probably would have gone home anyway, he was having an inner crisis about the situation and needed both the guidance of Rafiki and Mufasa to finally have the courage to go back. Also, Rafiki told Nala, Timon and Pumbaa that he went home, but that’s minor.

In TLK2, his role isn’t anywhere near that vital. Kovu and Kiara are already flirting with each other as cubs – they’re bound to fall in love as adults no matter the circumstances, which they did. It’s not like he did anything to streamline or allow their reunion. It’s not like he talked to Simba about giving Kovu a chance – he just sang a love-themed dance song. Again, I’m not saying I dislike his role here – he’s still a fun and unique character, especially when he was having his ‘conversation’ with Mufasa – but I wish he had been given more importance is all.

Time skip ahead a few years, and now Kovu and Kiara are adults. Kovu is sufficiently brainwashed by Zira. He’s set on his mission to trick Kiara, get close to her and subsequently get close to Simba so he can kill him.

Kiara, however, has become a beautiful young princess ready to go on her first solo hunt as a rite of passage, despite Simba’s reluctance. He promises to let her do it on her own, but sends Timon and Pumbaa out directly behind her anyway. Kiara is very excited to finally head out by herself, but finds that hunting is much harder than she anticipated. She keeps scaring away her prey by making noise. Already frustrated by fumbling her hunting mission so many times, she becomes enraged when she finds Timon and Pumbaa shadowing her under Simba’s orders, breaking his promise.

Gotta say, he was definitely starting to overstep his bounds here. If he wants to send babysitters after Kiara when she’s a little cub, fine. But sending them out when she’s performing a rite of passage as an adult is just insulting.

Kiara gets so angry that she runs off declaring that she’ll hunt on her own away from the Pride Lands. She runs off and manages to escape Timon and Pumbaa.

Meanwhile, a now-grown Vitani and Nuka head to the old hideout of Scar and the hyenas. The hyenas supposedly fled the area some time after Scar died for some reason. I would say maybe they were forced out, but they technically killed Scar and figured out he was a conniving asshole in the end, so I dunno where they went. They’re there to set some sticks on fire via the……*lip smack* I’m not exactly sure what’s happening here, to be honest. She sets some sticks on a hole in the ground, what looks like steam shoots out and then the sticks are ablaze.

I did learn of something called fumaroles, which are cracks or holes in the ground where shallow pockets of magma meet the groundwater and make steam and toxic gases, but that wouldn’t set the sticks on fire. Can someone more schooled on volcanoes/magma please explain how she just did that? Because I feel I’m might be missing something very basic.

It’s even weirder because, afterward, Nuka sticks his face over the top of the hole (scholar he is) and the steam shoots up, but his head isn’t set on fire (despite him yelling ‘AH, FIRE!!!’) it’s just kinda singed.

Anyway, they need the fire to start their plan to have Kovu infiltrate the Pride Lands and assassinate Simba. They set the land around her hunting area on fire to trap her in so they can send out Kovu to swoop in and save her.

Kiara does indeed get completely trapped by flames, in a pretty damn intense scene, but manages to give herself a somewhat safe spot for a minute by fleeing to the top of a tall rock. She ends up passing out anyway due to the heat and smoke. The last thing she sees is Kovu standing over her. He throws her on his back and rushes her out of the area. They accidentally tumble down a cliffside, so he then has to rescue her from drowning.

When he gets her to shore, she becomes upset because he brought her back to the Pride Lands. He’s understandably, confused as to why she’s pissed that he saved her life, but Kiara asserts that she didn’t need help – she had everything under control.

She tries to leave, but Kovu charmingly reminds her of who he is by referencing an exchange they had when they met. Kiara’s happy to see him, but it’s shortlived because Simba and Nala show up, and Simba’s none too happy. Kiara yells at him for breaking his promise, but he doesn’t care because he now feels fully justified in doing so since she nearly got killed. And he’s angry about it too like it’s her fault the fire started? He bans her from hunting forever because logic.

Rafiki shows up to tell Simba that Kovu saved Kiara’s life, even though, again, that’s information that didn’t need to given by Rafiki and would’ve been given by either Kovu or Kiara (or even Zazu – he was a witness) soon enough.

Kovu puts on his act and pretends that he’s a good lion who has left the Outsiders. He’s now a rogue who wishes to join the pride in Pride Rock, but Simba vehemently refuses. Kovu challenges that position because all he’s done, to Simba’s knowledge, is save Kiara’s life, but Simba seems to be persecuting him for a crime he didn’t commit.

Simba has to concede a bit here, because despite becoming a bit of an asshole in his older age he does still have some reasonableness in him, but it conflicts him greatly. He paces back and forth, frustrated that this is even an option being presented to him. However, with the words of Nala and even Zazu, reminding him that all debts must be repaid under royal decree – one his father created – Simba decides to allow Kovu to stay but basically on a probationary period. He’ll reserve actual judgment on whether he can stay after getting to know him more.

Zazu: “Hmph, riffraff.”…Erf….Okay, I can’t keep quiet about this anymore. I mentioned earlier the stuff about racism/classism that seems to be popping up throughout the movie, and it’s comments like these that really drive the point home.

Riffraff may seem like a silly insult in a modern vernacular, but he’s basically calling Kovu lower class trash right now. It’s uncomfortable how superior Zazu keeps acting to the Outsiders. Despite many characters in the Pride Lands having similar views, he’s the one who keeps being snide about it. You can maybe excuse it for the older lioness Outsiders since they may have done something to earn this ire, but this is Kovu – a young lion who has seemingly done absolutely nothing but exist and save the princess’s life.

It’s even more uncomfortable when you take into consideration that Simba and Zazu are basically falling into the typical stereotype of royalty – believing the lower class is literally below them even though it’s pretty much their fault that they’re in that position. Here, Simba literally is the direct reason why Kovu is ‘riffraff.’ He can’t control who his mother is, and he wasn’t a part of what she may have done.

And before anyone says it, yes, even here, Simba is kinda justified because Kovu IS planning something and he’s NOT on the up and up, but outside of him being born under unfortunate circumstances (Considering both Zira’s influence and being chosen by Scar.) Simba has no reason to be so vehemently against this. Simba’s making assumptions based on Kovu’s lineage and where he lives, and that’s not right. Everyone should be given a chance and judged on their individual character not on factors beyond their control.

Also,

I couldn’t not make that reference.

They all head back home, but Kovu is not allowed in the den – he has to sleep outside.

After everyone else heads in, Kiara goes to Kovu to thank him for saving her, but he scoffs at her skills as a hunter and tells her she’d never survive on her own. Kiara similarly scoffs and mockingly asks if he’d teach her, he mockingly says he would and then she seriously accepts his offer.

Later that night, Simba has a rather odd nightmare. Scenes like this usually feel like they’d otherwise be deleted, but they kept this one for some reason. Simba’s remembering his father’s death. Mufasa’s crying out for Simba as he’s latched onto the side of the cliff. Simba tries to reach him, but Scar grabs Simba’s paw and prevents him from saving Mufasa. Scar tells Simba to trust him. As Mufasa falls down to the stampede below, Simba glares up at Scar who suddenly turns into Kovu. Kovu throws Simba off the cliff, causing him to follow his father in death.

This is a really interesting nightmare because it does provide us with more insight into why Simba is so wary of trusting others. He trusted Scar, his own uncle, and look where that got him. It got his father killed and lead the Pride Lands into several years of suffering, nearly wiping them all out.

It doesn’t change the fact that Simba’s going a bit too far with it, but it does allow you to see his side a little better.

The dream is also prophetic because, yeah, Kovu is being sent there to get him to ‘trust (him)’ so he can betray Simba and kill him. Also, later, he will have a scar on his left eye.

However, he’s not seeing the flip side of the situation, which is the fact that the only way he defeated Scar and took his rightful place as king back was by trusting and working side by side with his family and friends. His traumas and fears are overshadowing that aspect. It makes his plight more understandable, but not fully.

He’s still placing a lot of misplaced fear and anger on someone for poor reasons. Even with the Scar stuff in play, Kovu was named his successor probably immediately after he was born. He hadn’t developed any sort of personality by that point, nor did he have any control over the situation.

This is one of those times where I kinda wish they had been able to work it so that Kovu was Scar’s son. Then Simba’s fears might be a little more founded. It’d still be kinda stupid, of course – people aren’t defined by their parents, especially if they didn’t raise them – but considering Simba takes such, forgive the pun, pride in being Mufasa’s son, it only makes sense that he’d have a great respect for bloodlines and believe that they do greatly influence someone as a person.

It would also make the conflict between the Outlands and the Pride Lands stronger too because they’d see Scar as being the true ruler of the Pride Lands, and Kovu, being his son, would be considered the true king now on a more legitimate level. Remember, Scar was technically royalty. He was still a prince – meaning Kovu would have had royal blood in him to strengthen this idea even further.

But I guess that’s just something to sit on anyway. Unless they removed the romance angle or became an anime, they’d never be able to work Kovu as Scar’s son.

The next morning, we get a really cool shot where a very gentle rendition of ‘We Are One’ starts playing as Simba stretches in the sunrise. There’s a part where Simba shakes off and it’s accompanied by a cymbal swell, and I just thought that was a cool detail.

Another cool detail was how the music changes to menacing in tone when Kovu is spotted prepping to ambush Simba while Simba goes to the watering hole for a drink. Not sure why he’s choosing now to attack. His guard is still very much up. He hasn’t really gotten that close to Kiara yet. He’d be way better off playing the long game. If the plan was just to wait in the shadows and attack when he was taking a drink, they’d just sneak around and do that. There’s no point using Kovu to get close to Kiara.

Anyway, Kiara pops up from nowhere and greets Kovu for her hunting lesson.

Cut to Kovu playing the prey while Kiara tries to sneak attack him, but fails miserably because she’s making a variety of noises the entire time. It’s weird how the sequence immediately preceding this scene is one where she sneaks up on Kovu flawlessly, especially when he was prepping for an attack.

Kovu tells her that she’s breathing too hard and needs to relax so she can more accurately become in tune with her environment and reduce noise as much as possible. To demonstrate what he means, Kovu decides to attack something hidden nearby, but it’s a panicked Timon begging for his life.

Timon explains that he and Pumbaa are trying to enjoy a treasure trove of bugs, but they’re being gobbled up by a flock of birds who won’t go away no matter how much they try to scare them.

Pumbaa wonders if Kovu could help them out (and Timon takes the credit for the idea because he’s a jackass) and he and Kiara start roaring to get all the birds out.

They all start running around roaring and having fun, which baffles Kovu because he still doesn’t understand playing or fun, which is even sadder than it was before. This poor kid has been robbed of a childhood.

They’re stopped dead in their tracks when they come upon a herd of rhinos who are buddies with the birds. They’re none too happy that their bird friends have been harassed, so they chase the group in retaliation.

They manage to hide in a very small cave, still yuckin’ it up and having a great time. Timon even ruffles Kovu’s hair and gives him his seal of approval, which was nice of him. When Timon and Pumbaa pluck themselves out of the hiding space, Kiara and Kovu accidentally smooch. OooooOOOOOoooohhhhh!

Later that night, Kovu and Kiara go stargazing and pick out some clouds that look like various shapes, but Kovu can’t help himself but see scenes of violence in some of them.

Kovu admits that he’s never stargazed before, which surprises Kiara since she and Simba used to do it often. He took that opportunity to explain how the great kings of the past are among the stars. Kovu wonders if Scar is up there, which obviously makes things a little awkward.

He solemnly tells Kiara that, despite Scar not being his father, he was still a part of him….I still don’t quite get that, though. Did he actually know Scar? Like…did he ever meet him? How can someone who is not related to you be a part of you if you never knew them? Scar simply pointing his paw at Zira’s new baby and saying ‘He’s my heir’ doesn’t automatically make someone connected to someone else.

Maybe he feels like Scar was a part of him because he was constantly told stories about him and everyone kept hailing him as Scar’s successor? I guess, under those circumstances, you probably couldn’t help but develop a weird sense of attachment to someone that way.

Kiara tells Kovu that her father once said that Scar had a darkness in him that he couldn’t escape. Mmm……I mean, I guess. If you take the books as being canon again, then Scar has been a little asshole since day one. He became endlessly upset once Mufasa was named primary heir to the throne when they were (the equivalent to) teenage lions. He tried to have Mufasa killed shortly after he was named future king, so he’s been a psychopath for a long time. Add to that years of stewing in jealousy and then Simba taking his place as next in line for the throne again and you have a pot full of evil stew. He’s pretty much just straight-up evil. He never tried to be good legitimately, as far as I know.

Fun fact: In the books, Scar’s original name was Taka, which has two meanings in Swahili – Waste and want. Both of these definitions fit Scar to a tee because he is fueled by jealousy (Wanting something he can’t have) and his life was basically a waste because he had such great knowledge and sophistication that he could have made him a great and lasting ally on the side of good, but he wasted it all to be evil and that lead to his death.

Apparently, The Lion Guard gave him an entirely new backstory to actually establish a canon backstory for him, but I prefer Taka being his original name than Askari. That name doesn’t fit him at all. Granted, if you look at it from a larger perspective, Mufasa and Scar’s parents come off as assholes if they give one son a name that means ‘king’ and the other a name that means ‘waste’ and ‘want.’ Askari, for the record, can mean ‘police’ ‘soldier’ and ‘guard’ and it was derived from their ancestor, who was a great king of the Pride Lands. Scar himself would later become leader of the lion guard, but I’m getting way off-topic, and The Lion Guard is a review for another day, so let’s move on.

Kovu wonders if there’s a darkness in him too, and Kiara cuddles with him to comfort him. Awww.

Anyway, Simba’s watching this from afar….….creepy. He’s talking to the spirit of Mufasa (not literally) about his conflict in accepting Kovu since he’s an Outsider and Scar’s heir.

In comes Nala with her longest scene clocking in at thirty seconds. I wish I was kidding. I know there’s just not a lot for Nala to do, but it’s disappointing that such a beloved character is given such short bursts of screentime.

Nala tries to explain to Simba that he’s so preoccupied trying to uphold his father’s legacy and do what’s expected of him that it’s clouding his judgment on Kovu, who might not want to walk the path set before him. The only way he’ll find the answer is by getting to know Kovu.

Cut back to Kovu and Kiara, and Kovu starts pulling away from Kiara because he feels guilty. He’s just about to tell Kiara about the plan to assassinate Simba, but decides not to and starts walking away. Rafiki busts in to stop him from leaving and leads them to Upendi. I guess I’ll give Rafiki some credit here because Kovu was starting to leave for…somewhere. Either he was about to just leave for the den, which leaves things open for their relationship to start back up again, he was about to bail on the mission and head back home or he was about to bail on the mission and run away somewhere. I always believed the first option, which makes the most sense. Still, there was no indication that their budding romance would end here if it wasn’t for Rafiki interfering.

Rafiki leads them to ‘Upendi’ which is basically a weird Tunnel of Love ride. Rafiki’s using a musical number to lock in their love, (Upendi means love) and because this is a musical, it works very well. (See part one for more information on my views of the song itself.)

After all the fun and luvey-duvey-wuvey-ness (Though….what time is it? Because it looks like the sun is about to rise and they were stargazing before the song, yet they’re going to bed?), they happily head back to the den. Simba decides to finally let Kovu inside the den to sleep, but as they’re walking in we see Vitani watching them. Vitani is silently urging Kovu to attack Simba now that he’s in with Kiara and Simba has his back turned to him. However, Kovu is too enamored with this new life he’s making in the Pride Lands that he doesn’t even think to do it. Frustrated, Vitani goes off immediately to report to Zira, who is not happy to say the least.

Zira realizes that Kovu has been swayed by Simba and Kiara and that he’s likely not going to go through with the plan. However, Zira is not going to allow Kovu to betray them nor is she going to let her plan fail because of him. She has a plan B….

The next morning, Kovu starts panicking because he realizes that he absolutely needs to tell Kiara about the plot now both because he probably realizes he can’t meander around for too long without something happening and because he feels he can’t keep lying to her and have a relationship with her. He practices to himself about what he’d say to her, but doesn’t have a lot of faith that it will work. Either way, he goes off to try.

Kovu: “Kiara, I need to talk to you!”

Simba: “Kiara, I don’t want you talking with him!…..I want to talk with him.”

Simba…it’s great that you’re warming up to the lad, but uh….kinda rude there. I know we couldn’t have Kovu actually confess and reveal the plot right now, it’d mess the rest of the story up, but really Simba? You can’t wait five minutes before you go off and have your little bonding moment?

Kiara is tickled pink that her father is warming up to Kovu. And aw, Simba’s little wink to her as they walk off. He is so adorkable sometimes.

As Simba and Kovu walk together through the ashes of the fire that occurred a few days prior, Simba relays the real story of Scar to Kovu, who is shocked. He now sees what a terrible person Scar really was.

Kovu: “He really was a killer.”

Simba: “….Fire is a killer. Sometimes, what’s left behind can grow better than the generation before…..if given the chance.”

I always really liked this exchange. Fire causes a lot of death and destruction. Simba knows this all too well because of the fire that raged in Pride Rock when he returned and fought Scar. And the fire started the instant Scar reached a crescendo in his intimidation of Simba, nearly causing his death. Also, the attack that resulted in Simba kicking him off the cliff and into the area where the hyenas were started by Scar jumping through the flames in an almost demonic manner. Once Scar died, the fire was nearly instantaneously put out, and everything was able to slowly regrow back into the lush and beautiful landscape that the Pride Lands originally were.

Zira (though technically Vitani and Nuka) used fire and burned all of this land just to start up a plot to kill Simba. However, Simba reveals a little seedling under the ash when he says the second part of the line, indicating that no matter how bad things look, the ones left behind can still flourish and make something beautiful again.

He’s obviously talking about giving Kovu a chance here, but I think he may also be foreshadowing the resolution later on. Remember, Simba is technically the generation after Scar. He’s been working very hard to ensure that everything’s ‘better’ than it was before, but he’s also been too blinded by fear and anger to be able to work anything out with any of the Outsiders. Zira may be a lost cause, but who’s to say anyone else there is – especially the children? And now, as we’ll see later, the next generation, Kiara and Kovu’s, help Simba’s generation see the light and eventually break down those barriers.

….I mean….the way they do it is silly, but…we’ll get to that later.

Ya know, I never really thought about it, but Kovu never had a father figure. With him, you’re so preoccupied with his connection to Scar that you never take the fact that he didn’t have a father at all into consideration. And with Zira’s nature, it’s understandable that he’s never had an actual heart to heart with a parental figure like this. It’s sweet….but bound to be ruined when the shit hits the fan.

Speaking of which….

Zira and the other Outsiders emerge from the haze. Gotta say, they made them look insanely intimidating during this sequence. Maybe a bit too much like zombies, but holy crap.

Zira congratulates Kovu on a job well done, which is such a terrible thing to do to him. In most other situations like this, Zira probably would have just done the predictable thing and called Kovu out for being a traitor while deciding to take matters into her own hands, but oh no. She decides to play pretend and act like Kovu was part of this ambush, deceiving Simba this whole time so she could simultaneously corner Simba, kill him and effectively squash any chance Kovu has of finding acceptance and happiness in the Pride Lands if Simba does get away. All to punish Kovu for balking on them. What an evil woman.

Zira commands the lionesses (And Nuka) to attack Simba. Kovu tries to get them off of Simba, but he’s flung into a rock and knocked out. Simba manages to knock the lionesses off, but he falls down a cliffside. He continues running, but he’s lead to a massive dam made of logs. He scrambles up the dam, with a now less unconscious Kovu watching from the top of the cliff. He immediately scurries down to help.

Nuka rushes in to kill Simba instead, taking his opportunity to impress his mother and have his moment of glory. He does nearly manage to pull Simba down, but he falls and is crushed by falling logs when Simba gets back on solid ground.

Yup, they killed Nuka. Crushed to death, which one of the worst ways they’ve had someone killed in Disney features. He didn’t even die immediately. Kovu rushes down to try and dig him out, but is swatted away by Zira who furiously digs to him. She’s devastated when she finds him near death. He weakly tells her,

Nuka: “I’m sorry, mother….I tried.”

In a deleted part of this scene, his final words were originally “Well…I finally got your attention didn’t I?” I like the changed version better because the original line makes it seem like Nuka’s kinda putting Zira on a guilt trip.

This scene, despite Nuka being a jackass, stayed with me through the years because it is such a dramatic and emotionally impacting scene. Zira, who has been nothing but an evil bitch and has never shown Nuka any caring, is visibly devastated by this. She rushes in to dig him out, not even caring at all that Simba got away, is shocked to find the state Nuka’s in, her voice cracks while trying to talk to him, and she even cradles his head and comforts him as he finally passes.

For a handful of seconds, you find yourself really sympathizing with both Nuka and Zira, which is something you never really got to do with Scar.

And let me point out that Nuka’s death is not quick, and it’s pretty morbid when you really pay attention. Not only did he not die immediately, which is what usually happens in Disney movies, but he was so badly pinned by the logs that they couldn’t extract his body and give him a proper funeral (however that’s done in the TLK world. They had a memorial service for Mufasa and Simba, but we never see if they did anything with Mufasa’s body.) They just had to have a short memorial service right there at the dam. Geez.

As much as I don’t care for Andy Dick, he also did a really good job acting during this scene too. He really sold it.

Back in the Pride Lands, Simba hobbles home. Zazu rushes to get help, and Simba is only able to convey that Kovu was part of an ambush on him before he passes out. Timon and Pumbaa help him back home, and as much shit as I give Timon it is very adorable that he carries Simba’s tail on the way back. However, Kiara is in shock and disbelief that Kovu would be a part of an attack on her father.

Meanwhile, back at Nuka’s funeral, Zira blames the entire fiasco on Kovu because, had he just killed Simba when he had the chance, none of this would have happened. She viciously slaps him in the face, leaving a very familiar scar across his left eye. Dun dun dunnnnnn…..however, even as a kid, I realized how bunk this was. Either she grazed him just enough to skim his fur off but not leave a wound or he has a permanent scar from a wound that didn’t bleed. In the closeup, you can see an indent in his skin, so I’m forced to believe the latter.

Again, questionable canonicity, but Scar and Kovu basically got their scars for the same reason, just on a flipside in regards to intent. Taka was scarred by a bison whom he had tried to trick into killing Mufasa, but his plan backfired on him. Kovu was scarred by Zira because she felt he had betrayed them, resulting in Nuka’s death. See? They both got scarred for ‘betraying’ their families/brothers.

….I know I probably look too much into some of this stuff, but I find it interesting.

Zira and Kovu get into a big argument about him betraying their pride and Scar, but he finally stands up to her. Zira will have none of it, though, and directly blames Kovu for Nuka’s death, even straight out saying “You’ve killed your own brother!” Damn.

Kovu runs off, but Zira refuses to pursue him. Instead, she rallies the Outsiders for one final attack now that Simba’s too weak to fend them off.

Back in Pride Rock, Kovu shocks everyone by showing up after he was seemingly a part of the attack on Simba. Everyone’s whispering about him, even pointing out the scar on his face.

Also, apparently Simba’s better now. He went from being half unconscious on the ground to acting perfectly fine when talking to Kovu. He never had so much as a visible scratch on him, but if you’re going to make the play that he’s now so wounded and weak that he’s prime for the assassinatin’ then at least…do…something with him. Dirty him up, scruff up his fur, weaken his voice, have him supported by Nala or something as he tries to maintain his balance. You’d never know he was just in a battle with dozens of lionesses and nearly died.

Kovu asserts that he had nothing to do with the attack and begs for forgiveness. Kiara pleads with her father, but he’s had enough. He doesn’t believe a word of what Kovu is saying and officially exiles him from the Pride Lands.

In comes ‘One of Us’ (See part one for my full analysis on this song.) Dammmnnnnn I love this song so much, it’s not funny. Admittedly, I might be overly attached to it because it was also put in a lot of Zuko fanvids back in the day, but it’s just such an awesome song.

The song shows all of the animals in the Pride Lands shunning Kovu as he hastily makes his way out after being exiled. It’s a very powerful and sad song because we know Kovu is innocent, but here he is being punished for a crime he didn’t commit…again. However, I can’t really blame Simba too much this time.

Sure, he can explain this away. Afterall, Kovu introduced himself as a rogue so it’s plausible that Zira would screw him over as revenge for turning his back on the Outsiders, but, all things considered, and given how much it took for Simba to even give him a chance, it’s understandable that Simba wouldn’t listen to him and choose to exile him.

In a cool shot, they throwback to the original movie and show Kovu looking into his reflection in the water and it turns to an image of Scar (which I guess means he must have met him before, so that doesn’t make things any less confusing.) In The Lion King, Rafiki showed Simba that Mufasa’s spirit lived in him by showing him his reflection in the water and it turning to an image of Mufasa. So here, Kovu sees Scar, but instead of being comforted and empowered like Simba was, Kovu is frightened of ‘his fate’ as Scar’s heir.

Kiara is fully pissed, though. She believes Simba should have at least heard Kovu out, but Simba’s just done. He even tells Kiara that she’s not to go anywhere without an escort from now on, which, again, while being a little understandable (he’s probably worried she might be the next target) she didn’t do anything and shouldn’t be punished for no reason. However, he makes it even worse by telling her she won’t leave Pride Rock period so he can keep an eye on her, which is way too far.

Simba: “I know he’s following in Scar’s pawprints….and I must follow in my father’s.”

Kiara: “You will never be Mufasa!”

Oh shit! Like, really, Kiara. Damn. Twist that knife, why don’t ya?

Although, points off because Kiara never knew Mufasa, so she doesn’t really have any ammo to shoot off that hot take.

Also, he kinda is like Mufasa in a lot of ways, both good and bad. It’s heavily implied that Mufasa exiled the hyenas (because they were too destructive) to a place where they had little food and water too. I think Mufasa had more diplomacy and a more even head about things, though. Those things come with experience and time.

Also also, fun fact, the hyenas were originally meant to be under Zira’s command in this movie instead of a bunch of other lionesses, but the lionesses make more sense. There’s no reason why the hyenas would be helping a bunch of Scar groupies. Remember, Scar betrayed the hyenas. Oh and there’s that little thing about them eating Scar alive in vengeance of him screwing them over.

The lionesses are a great deal more threatening, considering they seem more like true threats and soldiers than minions with teeth, but it’s just kinda hard to swallow that there were this many Scar fangirls out there, considering how shitty things were when he was king.

Moving on, Kiara escapes the den out of the back and goes off to find Kovu to no avail. She sees her reflection in the water and is shocked to see half of her reflection isn’t appearing. Which must mean she’s half vampire.

Sorry, I meant to say she’s missing her other half IE Kovu. Now, I do like this imagery and it does tie in well to the ‘We Are One’ theme the movie has going through it. And I am a bit of a schmuck when it comes to the idea of soulmates, but I am fully aware of how iffy the concept is, especially when it comes to imagery like this. Kiara is literally not a whole person unless she’s with Kovu now? That does sound romantic, but Kiara has enough issues as a character without implying that she’s less of a person without Kovu.

It is pretty cool that she’s revisiting previous locations from early on in the movie, though. The first place she visits is the rock that she was sitting on when she was a cub staring in awe at the Outlands. Also, it’s the place she nearly drowned in, but it barely covers her paws now. Next, she goes to the little cramped cave where she and Kovu first kissed, but doesn’t find him.

That night, we get our next song, ‘Love Will Find a Way.’ Kiara’s wandering around sullen looking for Kovu and, as movies typically do with heartbroken characters, she keeps stumbling upon a bunch of happy animal couples.

Now, as much as I do love this song (see part one for a full analysis);

Kiara: “I may not be brave or strong or smart….” I really hate that line so much. Stop highlighting how problematic her character is, and stop acting like the only thing she has going for her is Kovu’s love and her love of him.

More revisiting when Kiara spots the clouds that look like the shapes she and Kovu saw together. She also seems to think Kovu’s small enough to be the cause of the rustling in a tiny bush when it was really a frog. Yup, you may not be smart indeed, Kiara.

She finds herself in the burned out area of the Pride Lands (or maybe it’s more in a border area) and, when I first watched this, I was so confused on where she actually was because the colors and everything make this place look like it’s white sand dunes. The only indication that this is the same burned area is that there is one burned tree to her left.

Kovu appears behind her and they happily reunite, the song ending with Kovu also revisiting an earlier scene by pushing away some of the ash and showing a seedling, showing that he and Kiara have indeed grown better than the generation before.

They play around for a while, chasing a pair of butterflies, (Kovu’s actually the one who instigates the playing here, showing that sweet character development.) This is another sendup to earlier where cub!Kiara was chasing a butterfly, which is extremely cute. They eventually nuzzle near some water and find that their reflections merge together. Kovu points out that they are one, which gives Kiara a bit of an epiphany.

Kovu suggests running away together and…well;

Kovu: “And we can start a pride all our own.” You’re both really horny lions, ya know that?

I’m not looking too deeply into that line either. He’s got his ass up and waving it back and forth while saying that line in a sultry fashion.

Kiara, however, surprisingly, doesn’t want to run away. She knows they have a duty to end the strife between the Pride Lands and the Outlands because they’re their respective families and they can’t turn their back on their people. Kovu’s reluctant, but agrees with her.

Meanwhile, back in the rainy Pride Lands, buckle up buttercup because Zira’s had enough of plots and conspiring – she wants royal blood and she wants it now. It’s time for all-out war. You really gotta give her more credit as a villain here. She’s not cornered, she doesn’t have no other choice but to attack this way like many other villains of her caliber – she is just so pissed at Simba and the Pride Landers in general that she’s saying ‘screw it’ and calling for war in order to finally kill him.

This is also another reason why having Zira leading a bunch of lionesses is better than the hyenas because, again, we already know the lionesses of Pride Rock can beat them in a mass war with little issue. An army of well-trained lionesses is a much better match (Zira even mentioned earlier that they all have specific battle training.)

They do something kinda clever so you can tell the Pride Land lionesses from the Outlanders as they’re fighting. The Outlander lionesses wade through mud on the way over, so they’re covered in mud from the neck down.

It’s very foreboding that they show all of the animals fleeing the area in terror before the war even starts, but the only animals that remain are a bunch of vultures flying overhead – indicating death.

But of course Timon and Pumbaa ruin it a little by waving their asses at them and going ‘Na nana nana naaaaa!’

Zira: “It’s over Simba! I have dreamed of nothing else for years!”

Timon: “Boy, does she need a hobby.” *snort* Alright, that one was kinda funny.

Simba: “Last chance, Zira. Go home.”

Zira: “I am home!”

Love that line. Throwing his words right back in this face while also making it into a threat.

Zira: “Go for the eyes! Break his jaw! Hit him low! Get them! Do what you must!” Goddamn, Zira is vicious.

Actually, this whole battle is shockingly vicious for a Disney movie. They’re really not holding back here. It’s very intense. I mean, obviously, there’s no blood, but it’s about as violent as they’ve gotten.

Timon and Pumbaa flee the battle after one of the lionesses roars at them. When they’re cornered, we get a veiled fart joke because Timon pretends to use Pumbaa’s tail as a gun, implying he’ll make him fart at the lionesses if they come any further. It does work, and makes them run away in terror. I think this is just far enough for me to not be annoyed at another fart joke considering they didn’t actually make him fart. This entire battle would have been marred if they made him actually fart as a weapon.

Kiara and Kovu are rushing to the battleground. They run over the dam, which is currently starting to break apart due to the rain.

Simba’s being overrun, so Zira decides its her time to get in the ring. The instant she takes a swing at Simba, every other lion stops what they’re doing to watch this go down. They circle each other for a bit and are about to formally start the one-on-one when Kiara and Kovu interrupt.

And here’s where I have to basically halt the whole movie for a bit because I have a lot to say about the resolution to this battle.

Kiara tells Simba that they have to stop, and then we get this exchange.

Kiara: “A wise king once told me, “We are one.” I didn’t understand him then…Now I do.”

Simba: “But…they–”

Kiara: “Them? Us! Look at them. They ARE us. What differences do you see?”

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Sassy McSmartass here to tell you that there are actually visible differences between lionesses of the Pride Lands and those of the Outlands. The Pride Land lionesses are, for lack of a better term, fuller, have more rounded edges to them and have a slightly lighter/brighter color palette. The Outlanders have more washed out/grayish-tan colorings, darker circles around the eyes, are skinnier and have more jagged edges to them. They also typically look scruffier.

The differences in the male lions are way more obvious – Orange vs. Black manes, gold vs. brown fur. Scar, Kovu and Nuka are said to be based on the now extinct Barbary lions, which had black hair and were notoriously more violent than their cousins due to their higher levels of testosterone. (Barbary lions are from a lion subspecies called P.I. Leo or Panthera Leo Leo, whereas the main branch is Panthera Leo.)

Second of all, if this movie really is trying for some undertones of a message against racism/classism then…this isn’t really a good way to get that across. I get that this is technically saying that we’re all humans…or…I guess in this case, lions, but if you take her words at face value, it’s almost like she’s saying because they look similar that they’re the same, which is uh…kinda tone deaf.

Looking the same shouldn’t be a factor at all. That’s kinda the opposite of what you should be going for here.

Maybe, instead, Kiara could have said something akin to them all being lions and being equal, but then you kinda have to factor in the idea that…yeah, all LIONS are equal. But all of the power in the Pride Lands is explicitly on the lions’ shoulders. They’re the royalty of the Savannah. No other animal has any sort of power besides what is allotted by the food chain.

….And, ya know what, just to cover all of my bases, let’s talk about a sexism angle too. Because the Pride Lands very obviously work king by king. There needs to be a king to lead, even if there’s a queen. Mufasa ruled with Sarabi, but what did Sarabi get to do? Mufasa died, and Simba left, but Sarabi didn’t rule – Scar did. And when she was with Scar, she got smacked around and treated like a servant. Simba’s ruling with Nala, but what does she do?

Kiara is the first ever, as far as I can see, Pride Land princess who will become queen, but since she’s with Kovu and he’ll be king, does that mean her power won’t mean as much?

Now you may be saying “Twix, you’ve been reading a lot into stuff throughout this review, but don’t you think you’re going a bit overboard here?”

And to that I say “Yes, yes….yes, very much.” Thing is, the stuff that they’re seemingly talking about in regards to any -ism is something I feel I have to address because it’s very clear they’re trying to say something. If you don’t look into this at all, it’s a fine message about everyone being ‘one’ we’re all the same, we’re all equal, stop being idiots and fighting for no reason. Understand each other. Get along. Your differences are just surface level and are never the deciding factor in you as people. Unite, don’t separate. And that’s a very good message, but the way they dealt with this down to the details is just….sloppy. Like all of this -ismness was residual from a scrapped script, but they still kept it slightly because they liked the message.

In regards to any -ism they’re addressing, it’s, at best, confusing and, at worst, tone deaf and overly simplistic if you follow along with every step of the story.

Which brings me to my final point about this.

Kiara….that’s not what’s happening here.

Now’s an apt time to remind everyone that this movie is heavily based on Romeo and Juliet. But, before I go on, I am…..How should I put this?….Uhmm…

I’m an uncultured twit.

I barely know anything about Shakespearean works besides 1) What I’ve seen out and about in TV and movies, and 2) What I research when I need to do so – such as with this blog post specifically. So, if I miss something in the themes and meanings of Romeo and Juliet, feel free to correct my uncultured ass.

Anyhoo, in Romeo and Juliet, the audience is purposely left in the dark as to what caused the rift between the Montagues and the Capulets. The audience can’t analyze their feud or take sides because they don’t know the circumstances of it. It’s kinda implied that they themselves don’t remember what caused it. All they know is that they hate each other and that’s just the way it is. Kinda sheds a light on how stupid their feud really is and how tragic Romeo and Juliet’s situation was.

However, as I mentioned, this movie does not follow Romeo and Juliet all that closely – and one of those changed aspects is in the fact that the families have a clear reason for their rift.

I mentioned how we don’t know exactly what went down between TLK1 and 2 to lead to Zira and her compatriots being banished to the Outlands, but we can deduce at least what must’ve happened if you believe Simba is at least partially reasonable and not a dick who just jumped off Pride Rock immediately after his roar to tell Zira, her cubs and her friends to get the hell out of dodge just for having I ❤ Scar t-shirts on.

Even if the Kopa theory isn’t valid, and it probably isn’t, especially not in a post-Lion Guard world, I can bet anything that Zira either attempted to assassinate Simba/Nala or conspired to do so, with the help of her friends, earning them all a banishment. This is a woman so desperate to kill Simba that she groomed her son from cub to adult specifically for the purpose of killing Simba. There’s no way she doesn’t have a track record of attempting to or conspiring to kill Simba.

And after they were banished, the hatred of the Outsiders only got worse and worse, considering the bad conditions of their land. I wouldn’t be surprised if more assassination attempts were made in the meantime too.

But let’s just say I’m wrong about all that. They were just banished because Simba’s unreasonable or at least overreacted to a group of bitches who wished he was dead but didn’t do anything about it.

They now HAVE attempted to murder the king – and nearly succeeded! And they technically nearly got Kiara killed in that fire, too – not to mention all the lands that were destroyed and animals that were killed in that blaze, probably. Meanwhile, all Simba and the Pride Landers have done is ‘welcome’ Kovu to live with them and tell the clearly dangerous Outsiders to stay the hell out.

Is war the answer to anything? Of course not. But if someone’s attacking you, you have every right to defend yourself, especially if you’re the first line of defense for a land filled with other creatures who rely on you for protection.

Imagine if someone was attacking you with a knife and you fought back and someone got between the two of you and scolded YOU for fighting.

Now onto the second half of the resolution.

Zira: “Vitani, NOW!”

Vitani: “No, mother….Kiara’s right. Enough.” She doesn’t even know Kiara. She’s never exchanged dialogue with her. And the last time she talked about her was during the battle in which she told Nala in a very mocking tone;

Vitani: “Where’s your pretty daughter, Nala?”

Why is Vitani, Zira’s right-hand lioness and daughter, so easily swayed by this? I mean, maybe the stuff about Scar can easily be assuaged, she may or may not barely remember him, but she also blames them for Nuka’s death. Maybe a little line like “Nuka would still be alive if it weren’t for our hatred and vengeance.” would’ve helped a little here, delivered by either Kovu or Vitani.

Anyway, Kovu’s standing his ground against Zira, and now Vitani is standing up to her too, so Zira proclaims that they’re both going to die for it. She commands the other lionesses to attack, but they join the Pride Landers and refuse to fight too. I understand this one a little better because the other lionesses don’t decide to leave until they hear Zira telling her own children that she’ll kill them to achieve her ends, which is way more swaying. I, too, prefer to side with the people who don’t kill their children.

Simba tells Zira to stand down and let it go, but she refuses. Now completely alone, she decides to go ham and attack Simba herself. Kiara, however, intercepts the attack and they end up tumbling down the cliffside together. The dam upriver bursts, filling the canyon below with rushing waters filled with karma.

Kiara manages to get her footing, but Zira is hanging on for dear life. To her credit, Kiara tries to help her, even after Zira tries to claw at her paw, but Zira’s too stubborn to accept help, so she falls into the river and drowns. It’s rather poignant too, if you think about it. I mean, Nuka’s body has to be in that water now….

Kiara: “Daddy….I tried.” There’s something about this line that makes me think it’s meant to be a throwback to Nuka’s death, but for the life of me I can’t see the significance besides similar wording.

After Zira’s death, Simba admits he was wrong and welcomes Kovu as well as all of the Outland lionesses back to the pride.

Later, we get a Lion King wedding as Kovu and Kiara are wed on Pride Rock, surrounded by a bunch of the lionesses. Also, it’s insanely hard to tell if Vitani’s here. I THINK she’s the one sitting next to Kiara, but I can’t see her hair tuft, so it’s hard to tell. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t attend her brother’s wedding, but I honestly can’t discern her from the others.

After some cute as hell cuddles, they ascend Pride Rock and roar in celebration while all the animals down below cheer.

Mufasa’s spirit tells Simba “Well done, my son.” No pat on the back for Kiara, too? Or Kovu? They’re kinda the reason this all happened. Oh you’re not gonna say anything else? Could only get James Earl Jones in the studio for two lines? Okay.

With Mufasa’s spirit proclaiming “We are one.” the movie ends.

——————————–

And that was The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, the last Disquel to review for this series, what I truly believe to be the best Disquel and one of my favorite movies.

I’m not going to lie and say the movie doesn’t have its faults. I’ve written way too much about it to not go over as many as I thought were worth discussing, obviously, to say it doesn’t. Even when I was a kid I was bothered by the weird consistency issues between the two movies, which is quite a bit of the reason why this review so far has been insanely long. When you’ve watched a movie as many times as I have, and it means as much to you as this one does to me and you overthink things to a concerning level like I do, it’s hard not to get it all out when you finally have the chance.

However, I do think this movie has plenty of quality to weather its faults without affecting the outcome that much. I still enjoy this movie as much now as I did when I was a kid, and I think it’s a very deserving sequel to the original Lion King. I just wish more of the interim between movies had been fleshed out and Kiara were a more interesting character. Everything else is more or less awesome, particularly the plot with Kovu and Zira as a villain.

I keep imagining how incredible this movie might have been if they aimed for a theatrical release. Slightly longer runtime, even better animation, more elbow room for everything – It could have been even better. But I thank my lucky stars that The Lion King was one of the first to get the Disquel treatment because GEEEEEZZZ it’s mostly downhill from here. It’s amazing how we went from this to stuff like Hunchback 2, Fox and the Hound 2 and Mulan 2….

The voice acting is top notch, even if Neve Campbell as Kiara was kinda weak. Like I mentioned, I adored the performance of the late Suzanne Pleshette as Zira. She absolutely killed it. I also think Jason Marsden did a great job as Kovu. They also managed to get everyone else back from the original movie, barring two people.

Scar’s brief cameo was covered by Jim Cummings, who voiced him briefly in ‘Be Prepared’ in the original movie (he does a damn good job emulating Jeremy Irons) and Sarabi didn’t return at all because her voice actress, Madge Sinclair, died in 1995, just a year after the first Lion King movie. There is speculation that she is there in dialogue-free shots in the background, especially when Kiara goes on her first hunt, but I think that’s a stretch. I feel more comfortable saying Sarabi passed away with Madge.

The music is hands down the best you’ll find in the Disquels. People still reference and play several of the songs to this day.

The animation, while not being nearly to the original’s standards, is still extremely good for direct-to-VHS. It definitely could have gotten a theatrical release with no problem. Really, the only art and animation issues are when the characters are seen from far away, because they lose many features and become blobby. No real issues beyond that, though.

I highly recommend anyone see this movie. Even if you’re not a big Lion King fan, it’s still a good movie with emotional moments, intense action, an awesome villain and a sweet romance.

As for Dissecting the Disquels, sunset may be here, but I still have a couple things left to do before we move on to the Disquel spin-off TV series and even, yes, we’re going there, the Disney live-action reboots (I’ve been reading/watching a lot about their latest victim, Mulan, recently…..Someone hold me….) so stay tuned!

Recommended Audience: Disney+ gives it a G, but there are some darker themes here like a lot of mentions of murder, two counts of accidental death, child abuse, violence. Maybe 6 or 7+?

UPDATE 9/29/20: So quick update on TLK, they literally just announced a day after I posted this that they’ll be making a sequel to the live-action Lion King movie……but it won’t be a live-action version of TLK2 – instead, it will focus on Mufasa’s origins and be a prequel, while also somehow expanding on the main story even though he’s dead for most of the main movie? What? Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved as all hell they won’t be doing a live-action TLK2, they’re ruining enough as it is, but I’m also getting dreadful feelings because now they’re making unnecessary prequels, which has so much Disquel vibes it’s not even funny. What the hell are they doing?


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Dissecting the Disquels: The Lion King 2 – Simba’s Pride (Part 1: The In-Depth Analysis)

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Simba has become a great king in the Pride Lands, and now he’s welcoming his first child, Kiara, into the world. While Simba has become a bit of an overprotective stick-in-the-mud and greatly values tradition and the kingdom above all else, looking forward to the day when his daughter supersedes him and becomes queen, Kiara is uncertain about her future and just wants to be herself.

When she grows up, she falls in love with a lion from the Outlands named Kovu, who has been trained his whole life to get close to Kiara in order to get in good with the royal family and kill Simba. His mother is Zira, leader of the Outlander lionesses who have previously pledged loyalty to Scar and have been banished to the desolate wasteland outside of the Pride Lands because of it. But when Kovu starts legitimately falling in love with Kiara, their loyalty to both of their lands and their families will be tested. Can love end the feuding once and for all?

Breakdown: Here we go, it’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally at the last movie to cover for Dissecting the Disquels – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.

I saved this one for last because it means a lot to me. I watched it right when it first came out, and it was a Disquel based on one of my all-time favorite movies. I watched it so many times when I was a kid that I was, not kidding, reciting entire scenes in my head line by line when I would pause the video and anticipate what was coming up next while rewatching for this review. Not to mention that it’s one of the few Disquels that actually manages to hold its quality somewhat close-ish to the original product. Obviously, since most of these movies were all direct-to-VHS/DVD, they can’t really get within the ballpark of the quality of the movies they were based on, but some of them gave it the ol’ college try with what they had, and this one is no exception.

I had a lot to say about this movie, and it’s for a positive reason for a change! That’s why, to celebrate the end of Dissecting the Disquels, for the first time ever, I’ve actually decided to make this a two part review – one that goes in-depth into the main facets of the movie and another that’s in my step-by-step style where I go through the entire movie scene by scene.

To put it into perspective, this is technically a rewrite. My other draft had 14 pages worth of material and I wasn’t anywhere near done. I had spent so much time analyzing and talking about other stuff, that when I got to the step-by-step part, I knew it’d be way too much for one post, so I split it into two.

Is it overkill? Probably. But I am crazy. You people signed up for this. Now you must pay.

What could I possibly blather on about for *checks final total page tally* 34 pages? Let’s find out in part one of my final Dissecting the Disquel entry – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.

Prologue

Mmmmbackground! The Lion King 2 is, I believe, the first ever Disquel I watched (I honestly don’t remember if it was this or Aladdin 2), which makes sense because it’s one of the first to ever be made. I absolutely adored The Lion King (It’s still one of my favorite movies) I watched the original so many times that my VHS tape wore out. Seeing a sequel come out really got me excited. I even nearly bought a Kovu doll I saw in a store, but I didn’t have enough money. 😦

As the years went on and I watched more Disquels, I was increasingly disappointed that none of them really reached the level TLK2 was on – far from it in many cases. Eventually, I just stopped watching them and became one of millions who rolled my eyes whenever they would crop up. However, TLK2 kept reminding me that the Disquels can be good, and I think, in some ways, keeping that in mind allowed me to more easily go through this entire review series more easily. If TLK2 can be good, then there has to be some good nuggets to find within the mess, and yeah I found those nuggets, even if I had to trudge through a lot of crap and there were only, like, three of four of them.

Rewatching the movie again for this review gave me a lot of nostalgia, but that’s not to say I had my nostalgia goggles on that tightly. Maybe I popped a lens out. We’ll see.

Simba’s Son/Daughter?

One of the first things you’ll notice about this film, especially if you’re a fan of the original movie, is that the opening sequence has a key difference that raises quite a few questions. Namely….who is this kid? This isn’t the same cub from the end of The Lion King. That lion was a male. It had gold fur, not tan – it was a male. Even if color didn’t indicate gender here, it still would not be Kiara because she’s tan and that cub was gold. In addition, the audio description for the first Lion King movie on Disney+ identifies the cub as a prince, and the audio book version, which was released before and re-released after the sequel was made, indicates that it’s Simba’s son.

Granted, it’s not like they had set up for a sequel when the first one was made, and I appreciate them wanting a female lead, but that doesn’t change the fact that it makes a massive continuity error, even with entries made after the sequel came to be.

Or does it?

….Yes.

Well, kinda. Maybe.

The Kopa Theory

This theory surmises that the cub at the end of the first Lion King movie was actually Kopa, the son of Simba from the Lion King book series – The Lion King: Six New Adventures. When this theory first arose, it was very questionable whether Kopa was actually canon in the movie series, even if his existence does answer several questions.

If Kopa does exist in the movie series, then the theory comes into place. The reason Zira and the other Outlander lionesses were banished was really because they plotted and succeeded in murdering Kopa. Perhaps this plan was an effort to ensure Simba would have no successor. It’s much easier to kill a cub than it is to kill the king of the Pride Lands. This would also account for why Simba is so crazy overprotective of Kiara to the point where he won’t let her go anywhere without an escort. (Although, admittedly, you’d think Nala would have similar reservations if this were true.)

However, at the end of the day, it’s mostly just fanon because neither Kopa nor anything indicating such an event is even hinted at in the sequel. It’s just a fan explanation that makes a lot of sense.

The writers and animators who worked on TLK2 reportedly had no idea that Kopa even existed, and that’s actually understandable. The books’ origins are really confusing. They were based on the movies, but they also weren’t made by Disney (only approved by Disney). However, the books were also written before the movie had even finished production. The author, Alex Simmons, even stated that he had no idea if Nala and Simba would have a cub at the end of the movie. So….I dunno if Alex Simmons had just seen a bunch of trailers for the movie and made books based on them or something? How do you not work at Disney, have enough information on an in-production movie to make books based on it but also get approval from Disney to sell what is basically Lion King fanfiction before the movie even exists? It’s really confusing.

Kovu’s Origins

Kovu’s family tree is a bit of a mystery. There aren’t any male lions in the Outlands besides Kovu and Nuka, both of which are Zira’s kids. Kovu is not Scar’s son, but Nuka looks down on him like he thinks he’s superior – as if he is Scar’s son. So that kinda brings a lot into question. Who is the father of Nuka, Vitani and Kovu? Do they even have the same father?

It should be mentioned that, originally, it was intended for Kovu to be Scar’s son, but then they remembered, whoops, Scar was Simba’s uncle and they intended on having Kovu and Kiara in a relationship. They didn’t want the tagline of the movie to change to The Lion King 2: All in the Family so they opted to have Kovu born of an unknown male lion.

This also makes Kovu’s age a bit off. If he was hand-picked by Scar, he had to have been born before Simba returned to Pride Rock, right? Doesn’t make much sense to choose an unborn child as your heir without knowing if it’s male. (I doubt Scar would select a female successor. He’s pretty sexist. He refuses to help find food for his starving people because it’s the lioness’s job to hunt, and he treats Sarabi like another servant when she’s still, technically, the queen.) And that means Nuka and Vitani definitely existed. So, again, where the hell were they?

Zira explains that Kovu was the last born before Simba exiled them, but then Simba acts as if he’s never seen Kovu before, which I guess is possible but it’s still weird.

Kovu and Kiara’s Relationship

Since this is a romance movie at its core, it obviously needs to have a strong main relationship to carry it, and Kovu and Kiara definitely pull it off. Not only do they have great chemistry and bounce off of each other very well, but they do complement each other. Kovu provides Kiara with a sense of adventure and actually listens to and respects her desires, and Kiara brings out the lighter side of Kovu and introduces him to true fun.

They also have many very cute scenes together from the instant they meet.

Them falling in love felt very natural, and they managed to pull it off extremely well while Kovu was still trying to keep up his charade. You can easily tell when he’s putting on the act to impress her and when he’s genuinely connecting with her. Admittedly, it is a tiny bit rushed, but that’s par for the course with Disney, especially considering the lowered run time.

Also, side note, but Simba and Nala are similarly adorable in this movie. They’ve become great parents, but they also have a very believable and sweet marriage. When Nala pinned him at the start of the movie, my heart fluttered with emotions from the first movie. They’re both amazing couples.

Disquelisms?

I’m not sure if it’s fair to analyze one of the first Disquels for Disquelisms, but let’s be fair here since you can find a couple.

First of all, this movie started the trend of having the children of the original movie’s main characters take the helm.

There’s a slight air of ‘the first movie in reverse/backwards’ happening here, even though, honestly, it’s not really that…..well….Okay it is. Well, except it’s not.

Simba is very Mufasa-esque in this movie. He’s a very proud king, he’s very stern, he doesn’t seem to withhold any of the Hakuna Matata-ness his surrogate fathers bestowed upon him. He’s very much into the old teachings of the previous kings and the circle of life etc. etc. etc.

Kiara, however, is a very free spirit. She doesn’t like being babysat by Timon and Pumbaa, like how Simba didn’t like being babysat by Zazu, and she just wants to do her own thing.

Also, Simba was jonesing to take his place as king, but Kiara has serious doubts about becoming queen.

There are also some things here and there throughout the movie that reflect the original, but I’ll discuss those in part two. They aren’t really stark enough to say they’re mirrors or redoing the original movie in reverse or anything. This is an entirely different story.

Speaking of redoing the original movie, though…

The Doppleganger Soundtrack?

Some people criticize the soundtrack for TLK2, claiming it’s filled with songs that are just the original movie’s songs with a different flair to them. I can see where this criticism is coming from, because a lot of the songs do fit certain roles that the original songs filled, but I think it’s unfair to write it off like that. I, personally, love the soundtrack for the movie and think that the tracks stand perfectly well on their own merits. But let’s address each song to see if there is any true validity to this claim.

He Lives in You

Our first song of the movie is ‘He Lives in You’ or what would be the equivalent to ‘Circle of Life.’ It’s the opening to the movie, it’s happening over the sunrise, and the animals are all coming together for the presentation ceremony. It’s the song that accompanies the introduction to our main character, a newborn cub and prince/ess of the Pride Lands. At face value, it seems like the criticism fits fine here, but this song is very purposeful on its own.

The ending scene of the first movie was nearly a beat-by-beat recreation of the first scene of the movie just with Simba and Nala taking the place of Mufasa and Sarabi, and that was done in order to create the symbolism of the circle of life. The movie started with Mufasa welcoming Simba into the world, Mufasa died, then the movie ends with Simba welcoming his own child into the world.

If we’re starting the sequel off immediately from the last movie, then it makes perfect sense that the opening song would have the same vibe as the original.

‘He Lives in You’ is probably the closest the movie gets to an actual song reincorporation because some of the lyrics from ‘Circle of Life’, namely ‘Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala’ (I really hope I was accurate on that…) and, well, ‘circle of life’, are also part of the chorus for ‘He Lives in You.’

‘He Lives in You’ heavily focuses on the running theme of the spirits of those that are gone living on in the characters, whether good or bad. Simba thrives on the memory of his father’s spirit and even seeks him for advice when trying to accept Kovu and his budding relationship with Kiara. When she makes her plea to him to stop the fighting, he looks up to the opening sky briefly as if Mufasa is looking down on him.

While it is much more subtle with Kiara, her grandfather’s spirit is also reflective in her. She chooses to go back home and help their families stop warring instead of running off and starting a family with Kovu because she knows that’s what’s right. She chooses responsibility over her own desires and proves that, whether or not she does actually become queen in the end, she has what it takes to be a great and fair queen.

On the opposite side of the coin, Zira is very obviously trying to carry on Scar’s legacy by getting revenge on Simba and taking back the Pride Lands. Nuka channels Scar, too, believe it not, but only in his pettiness and maliciousness. It’s never outright stated who Nuka’s father is, but he believes he’s more deserving of the role of Scar’s successor than Kovu is and uses the fact that Kovu is not Scar’s child to support this. Nuka is jealous of Kovu because he seemingly has a birthright by Scar personally selecting him to be next in line instead of him, who may or may not have the literal birthright to such a position. Scar was similarly jealous of Mufasa being chosen to be king, even though Scar was the younger sibling, because he simply believed himself to be the better lion.

The aspect of Scar’s spirit living on in Kovu is a heavy theme in the movie. He’s not only being specifically bred to become a new Scar, so to speak, but they even go so far as to actually scar his face in the same spot Scar had his. During the song ‘One of Us’ he sees Scar’s reflection in the water, which is a rather brilliant callback to Simba seeing Mufasa’s face in the water in the first movie.

Unlike Simba, who wants desperately to be like his father and live up to his legacy, Kovu wants to be anything but that. The only time in which he is aspiring to be New!Scar is when he’s brainwashed by Zira. In the end, Zira winds up being the most fitting spiritual successor to Scar, and like Scar, she ended up causing her own undoing because she couldn’t let go of her hatred and selfishness.

‘He Lives in You’ is a great song and a beautiful opener to the movie. It also stands as being a very deserving followup to ‘Circle of Life.’

We Are One

The next song is ‘We Are One’ which I think is suggested to mirror ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King,’ but winds up being the closer to ‘Circle of Life’ in regards to lyrics. Simba is trying to convince Kiara that being a princess and later taking her place as queen is her destiny. It’s in her blood. It’s part of the grand scheme of things. The song is really framed like, as the title implies, everything is connected and supports each other. Even the spirits of those who are gone help us through life, and their family is also there to guide and support her.

The reason this isn’t so much a mirror of ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King’ is that 90% of this song is Simba singing, not Kiara. ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King’ was Simba’s Disney-typical ‘I want’ song, but ‘We Are One’ is mostly channeling ‘Circle of Life.’

When Kiara finally gets her turn to sing, it basically turns into an entirely different song. The melody is much softer and somber, in contrast to the grand and prideful version Simba was singing, and it’s literally now an ‘I Want’ song since Kiara is so conflicted. Her only lines come out to,

“If there’s so much I must be, can I still just be me the way I am? Can I trust in my own heart, or am I just one part of some big plan?”

She wants to be able to be free and do what she wants, but everyone, especially her father, is pressuring her into a role she’s not even sure she wants since it’s so demanding and restricting.

Funnily, and sadly, enough, the next interlude to Simba really highlights that he’s simply not listening to his daughter’s desires and just wants her to accept her role because it juts right from her lines to talking about ‘We Are One’ again. He is basically also saying ‘You have your entire life ahead of you, and as you mature, you’ll learn to understand why things are the way they are and why you have to be this.’ but it’s clear at the end of the scene that, while Kiara is open to trying to understand, she still just doesn’t get it.

It’s a little interesting, because it’s the exact opposite of ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King,’ in a way. Simba believed being king would literally give him the power and freedom to do whatever he wanted, since he felt so restricted by his parents. Kiara feels the exact opposite, however, believing it will severely impede on her freedom even more.

If you think about it, even though both of them were being understandably immature about it, Kiara is taking the more realistic view on the situation. Being queen does come with an insane amount of responsibilities. Even though you have a lot of power, you must use it wisely, and you must take the needs of every animal in the Pride Lands into consideration when you make decisions. Simba was under the assumption that being king would be a non-stop party and give him the freedom to do whatever he wants, but such an attitude in real life would probably lead to a similar outcome as Scar.

Another interesting aspect of this song is that it reprises in the very ending of the movie instead of ‘He Lives in You.’ In the original movie, as I mentioned, ‘Circle of Life’ plays again at the end to loop the story back around. However, they chose ‘We Are One’ for the ending here. It does make more sense, however, because the Outlands and the Pride Lands were finally united and Kovu and Kiara were able to be wed. It does indeed show that they are all one, but it also proves that that doesn’t mean we’re destined for this that or the other thing.

While I like ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King’ better than this song, ‘We Are One’ certainly has more emotional impact, especially as an ‘I Want’ song. It has a bright air of hopefulness and togetherness while still reflecting Kiara’s inner conflict. It’s quite beautiful, but I just wish Kiara had more of a presence in it. It feels like she was meant to have her own version of this song, like musicals sometimes do – keeping the melody but changing the message to show connection but also contrast – but they opted not to at the last second.

Also, this line comes after the song is over, but the music is still running, so I’m counting it.

Simba: “As long as you live here, it’s who you are.” That line has a lot of layers to it. First of all, you’re pretty much encouraging her to run away. If she’s not here, it’s no longer who she is. No longer her problem.

Secondly, why does where she live suddenly come into the equation? So, it’s not part of her blood or destiny anymore if she just leaves the Pride Lands? Kinda makes the circle of life thing seem less grandiose.

I feel like that line was originally “As long as you live, it’s who you are.” but that doesn’t make sense either because spirits are canon in this series.

The little bluebird flying off at the end is also a little interesting. It was driven back to its nest by its mother earlier because she didn’t want her chick to try flying off yet, but by the end of the song it’s flying away into the sunset on its own. Kiara’s expression is happy, but also kinda sullen. The bluebird had to wait (about 53 seconds…) to fly off on its own, but once it was able to, it had the freedom to go wherever it wanted. Kiara, on the other hand, will be bound even when she reaches adulthood.

My Lullaby

My favorite villain song ever is ‘Be Prepared,’ so this movie really had to deliver on its villain song to kmake me really think this was a good followup to the first movie, and it definitely delivered in my book. ‘My Lullaby’ is Zira singing Kovu to sleep about how she’s going to shape him into the perfect successor to Scar, get her revenge on Simba for their exile and avenge Scar’s death. The lyrics actually get a bit darker than ‘Be Prepared,’ as she says stuff like “The sound of Simba’s dying gasp, his daughter squealing in my grasp, his lioness’s mournful cry – that’s my lullaby.”

Its only major misstep is one lyric where she says “And a lust for being bad.” I just thought that was cheesy. Not only is the wording lame, but if you believe you’re justified in what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t wish him to have a desire for being bad. In your world view, you’re the good guys….

Overall, though, it’s a really awesome and intense song. It segues nicely from a calm and gentle, well, lullaby, to a malicious villain song to bringing the oomph in the finale. It does pretty much mirror the purpose of ‘Be Prepared’ since it was literally Scar telling his hyenas to be be prepared for killing the king and overthrowing the kingdom, and this is Zira pretty much saying the exact same thing to her fellow lionesses. However, it’s by no means the same song nor is it anywhere close to being just Diet Be Prepared..

I like how they made such a twisted ‘lullaby’ because, remember, she is literally singing Kovu to sleep here. She is making his lullaby about killing Simba, torturing Kiara, watching Nala mourn Simba and listening to a ‘symphony of death’ while they usurp the entire royal family and invade the Pride Lands. It’s also interesting how Zira keeps saying he’ll be king or he’s a prince during the sequence. It adds more of a parallel between Kiara and Kovu – Kovu’s not just being preened as Scar’s successor; he must become the new king. It’s not his main focus, that would be killing Simba, but presumably, once he’s done that, he’ll take over as king.

Final note, but this song break is just gorgeous in the colors from start to finish. From Zira’s yellow eyes piercing through the darkness at the start to the lionesses jumping over the light to the blood red sky at the end, it’s really cool.

Upendi

The next song is ‘Upendi,’ and it’s seemingly taking the role of ‘Hakuna Matata,’ but mostly only in two realms – The title is a Swahili word (meaning ‘love’) and it’s largely a fun dancing song. However, whereas ‘Hakuna Matata’ was meant to help introduce Simba to Timon and Pumbaa’s way of life and get him to forget his worries and live a carefree lifestyle, ‘Upendi’ is pretty much just celebrating Kiara and Kovu’s budding romance. Rafiki is literally playing matchmaker to a pairing that was very very likely to happen (and pretty much was already happening) anyway. In addition, the lyrics are literally just talking about love and how great it is. It doesn’t have much substance to it or hidden symbolism – it’s just a simple song about love. In that regard, it’s, in my opinion, the weakest song in the set.

It’s a very fun song and easy to sing along with, but it’s not as strong as the other songs in the set. It just doesn’t have much of a purpose and nothing memorable happens in the animation either, except one cheesy segment where Kovu and Kiara parachute on pink leaves that take the shape of hearts.

One of Us

The first and only song that really doesn’t have a suggested mirror in the first movie is ‘One of Us,’ and it’s a spectacular song. After Simba nearly dies in an ambush set by Zira, Simba throws away any trust that was starting to build with Kovu and marks him once and for all as a traitor before banishing him for good. Thing is, Kovu wasn’t a traitor. He had decided earlier that he didn’t want to follow his mother’s lead anymore and was trying to build up the courage to confess to Kiara and Simba about what was going on, but Zira intervened and specifically called him out as a conspirator because she found out he was legitimately falling in with Kiara and Simba.

This song is literally the entire Pride Lands singing about how they were deceived and he was really evil the whole time, as they feared. They also sing the lyrics “Evil as plain as the scar on his face” which has dual meanings – the first being that his supposed evil was as obvious as the scar on his face, and the second being that he now looks like Scar.

It also really highlights how divided the prides really are, and how hypocritical Simba is being. The songs ‘We Are One’ and ‘One of Us’ directly contradict each other. How can we all be one yet there’s a separate ‘us’ that needs to be cordoned off from others?

Interesting note, on the VHS, they make the mistake in the closed captioning to attribute the line ‘He is not one of us’ sung by a woman at the very end to Kiara, and that confused me for years. There’s no way Kiara would be singing any of this song, let alone specifically saying that to Kovu. This is proven as such both before the song starts and after the song is over when she pleads with Simba to listen to what Kovu has to say, but he refuses.

One of the reasons this song hits so well isn’t just because it has great lyrics and instrumentals, but because you really feel bad for poor Kovu. He is a changed lion, but now he’s being shunned by both the Outsiders and the Pride Landers. In the time frame of just a few hours, he lost his original pride, his new pride, his brother, his girlfriend, his family and his home. It really stings when he finally ducks his head and walks off.

‘One of Us’ is a very powerful song, and I absolutely adore it. I listen to it fairly often on Spotify, and it’s my favorite song on the soundtrack. It has a soft opening but slowly builds up as Kovu gets increasingly upset and runs away from the Pride Lands. That final closeup shot of Simba’s face right as it quickly zooms way back to Kovu and the music swells is just awesome. When Kovu looks back one last time and finally starts slowly walking away, the song slows back down and becomes somber because now Kovu has accepted his banishment and both Kovu and Kiara are mourning the losses of each other. It’s very well-executed.

Love Will Find a Way

Finally, this being a movie largely about the romantic development between Kovu and Kiara, being an off-shoot of Romeo and Juliet, you obviously have to have a strong love song between the two leads. ‘Love Will Find A Way’ is obviously meant to fill the role of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ They’re even set up kinda similarly with it being a duet (which is common for love songs, anyway, but still) and the guy briefly singing about how he is/was afraid, which made him do something that was hurting their significant other. But, again, the two songs serve different purposes.

In the original movie, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ was meant to highlight how Simba and Nala, once best friends in childhood who were disgusted at the idea of becoming married when they grew up, are now developing romantic feelings for each other now that they’ve reunited in adulthood. They first rekindle their friendship by playing around in the water and then the grass, but then Nala licks Simba on the cheek and they both realize how much they mean to each other.

‘Love Will Find A Way’ builds upon a romance that was broken by external forces. Kiara and Kovu both know they love each other at this point – they’ve not only kissed and cuddled each other a few times already, but they’ve also expressed out loud that they love each other. However, Kovu’s banishment and Simba putting firm restrictions on Kiara’s comings and goings put a massive divide between the two of them.

This song has Kiara singing about how she longs for a perfect world with Kovu. They create their own little magical world when they’re together, but their families keep driving them apart. However, she knows love will find a way for her to reunite with Kovu and find happiness.

Kovu’s verse puts a spotlight on how he was afraid to tell her what was going on with Zira, which drove a bit of a wedge between them and somewhat contributed to his banishment, but he was foolish because he now realizes love will always find a way to conquer such things. And, again, a perfect world is brought up in his verse as he sings “There’s a perfect world shining in your eyes.”

When they’re finally singing together, they both express that they wish their respective families would be able to see how much they love each other and understand how they feel. But no matter if they do or not, they now have each other and they’ll get through anything together. This new beginning is also reflected when Kovu reveals a budding plant under the ash near the end of the song, as Simba had done earlier when talking to Kovu about how things can revive and flourish if you give them a chance.

I actually like this song little more than ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ I know that probably seems like an iffy thing to say, but even though I truly love ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,’ I can’t help but get more invested in ‘Love will Find a Way.’

It’s true that both Simba and Nala sing their respective feelings during their song, too. Simba expresses that he’s scared to tell her the truth about what happened to Mufasa, worried that she’d turn her back on him. And Nala wonders what’s bothering Simba and why he’s acting so different from the Simba she knew back when they were cubs.

However, it’s a bit jumbled as a song in the actual movie. We move from Timon and Pumbaa singing it to Simba and Nala singing and then back to Timon and Pumbaa. They don’t do a bad job in the song, but they try to merge a budding romance song with a song about two buddies losing their third buddy, which kinda makes it lose a bit of it’s emotional impact. Timon and Pumbaa definitely needed their time to process the possibility of losing Simba – afterall, at this point, he’s basically their surrogate son – but it’s mostly there to add some comedic value to their otherwise very romantic song.

‘Love Will Find a Way’ is sung entirely by Kiara and Kovu at a very tense and emotional part of the movie. Her verse and his verse move into each other while only changing tone slightly. Kiara’s verse is lower pitched because she hasn’t found Kovu yet. Kovu’s is slightly higher because he’s coming to the realization that he needs to return to Kiara because he loves her, and their love will get them through this. When they both see each other, reunite and start singing together, the music swells and it’s amazing, and they play together and it’s sweet. You really feel a strong impact of them reuniting.

Simba and Nala also reunite after years of being apart, but it happens earlier and not during any song. In addition, that reunion was more like two best friends who haven’t seen each other in years, because that’s what’s going on, and the song is more about them viewing the other in a different and more romantic light.

In ‘Love Will Find a Way,’ the end of the song goes back to soft and tender as Kovu and Kiara just enjoy each other’s company and cuddle.

I’m not really saying one song is objectively better than the other. I know very little about the intricacies of music composition and theory to claim such a thing, but I just feel like ‘Love Will Find a Way’ clicks just a tiny bit better with me as a love song. I still adore ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,’ but I can’t deny my feelings on this matter.

Character Analyses

I’ve already touched upon Simba quite a bit, but let’s delve further into how his character has changed from the first movie to now.

Simba has greatly matured into both a good father and a strong king, but he’s still so haunted by his past that it makes gives him a hair trigger temper and makes him very over protective of Kiara. He’s wants desperately to follow in his father’s pawprints and respect the legacy that he left behind, but he goes overboard with it.

…..Granted, being fair, he is somewhat right to be as paranoid and protective as he is. Zira and the other Outsiders are very much intent on killing him and taking over the Pride Lands, but in regards to respecting what Kiara wants or even entertaining the idea that she might not want to be queen, he doesn’t listen at all, which I noted in the section on ‘We Are One.’

Funny thing is, the first movie basically built Simba’s character on this concept. It was his destiny to be king. He had to accept it or else Scar’s reign would cause the certain death of everyone in the Pride Lands. Mufasa’s spirit even re-instilled this in him when Simba was having his internal crisis.

Mufasa: “Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king.”

Likewise, as I said, when Simba was a cub, he was excited about becoming king someday. He just didn’t want to do it anymore because he felt such immense guilt over what happened to Mufasa, and he was scared what everyone would think of him.

I do think the entire concept of destiny is really stupid, especially from a storytelling standpoint. Sometimes, like in The Lion King, they can pull it off pretty well, but otherwise it’s such a problematic concept.

The reason it was pulled off well in The Lion King was because, despite the fact that it was Simba’s ‘destiny’ to take his place as king, he had to want to do it. He had to want to face his fears and fight for his family and pride. Rafiki literally beat this into Simba’s head.

Simba: *gets smacked by Rafiki’s staff* “OW! Geez, what was that for?!”

Rafiki: “It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past!”

Simba: “Yeah, but it still hurts.”

Rafiki: “Ah, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it!” *takes another swing, but Simba dodges* “AH! You see?!”

Putting the past behind us is another theme of the sequel. Several characters say a line akin to “it’s time to put the past behind us.” Zira refused, so she couldn’t grow as a character and that lead to her downfall.

Simba basically forgot this lesson at the start of the movie and had to re-learn it. He had moved beyond his past enough to become king, but he clearly hadn’t moved past it enough to accept anyone who had any bonds to Scar.

With Kiara, she’s not afraid of becoming queen, she just doesn’t want the job. There’s nothing really at stake if she doesn’t take the role, as long as Simba and Nala get back to baby-makin’ anyway. And considering they’ll later have a canonical son, I think they’re doing fine in that department.

Simba is just not listening to her own desires because, eh, that’s the way things are and have to be. Destiny worked for me. It’ll work for you. You’re just a kid now. Adults know what’s up.

In a lot of ways, Simba here reminds me a lot of King Triton. He’s simultaneously very loving and over-protective of his daughter while also not seeming to give a crap about what she wants. However, in the prequel, we see that he has good reason to fear or hate humans and needs his daughter’s help to get him to learn to trust again. Likewise, here, we can deduce enough to realize he has at least a pretty good reason to distrust the Outsiders.

But Simba’s not really the main character here – Kovu and Kiara are. Technically, Kiara is supposed to be the main character….buuuutttt….

……This was way more Kovu’s movie than Kiara’s. I couldn’t help but notice it as a kid, and I definitely noticed on the rewatch – Kovu is the main character. It’s not even that much of a ‘shared’ main character role. He is the main character.

Kovu goes from a cocky yet kindhearted kid to a brainwashed soldier who slowly escapes his mother’s influence and the destiny set before him so he can follow his heart and find a new path. He defies his mother, leaves his family behind and even risks severe punishment to face Simba after the ambush because he truly loved Kiara and he wanted to be a better person with a good life. When he was banished, he didn’t return to his mother or seek revenge, he simply took his licks and went off alone.

When you think about it, it’s really Kovu’s story that is Simba’s story in reverse, or more to the point the opposite of his. Whereas Simba was building up to embrace his destiny and his one true role as king, Kovu did everything in his power to break free of the ‘destiny’ that was set upon him.

And what of Kiara? She starts off the story as a frustrated princess who wants to have freedom to a grown up frustrated princess who wants to have freedom who falls in love and her biggest conflict is fighting for her love, which…she doesn’t even technically do. When Kovu is banished, she just lashes out at her father and runs away behind his back to find Kovu.

Her biggest moments are convincing Kovu to return to the Pride Lands to stop the fighting, and then she talks her father down, which is alright as a character arc as she’s found her voice and she’s finally getting her father to listen to her for good reasons, but she as a character really hasn’t changed. She understands ‘we are one’ now, but that moment isn’t nearly as impacting as it should be.

She also saves her father and tries to save Zira (and ultimately fails) but that moment wasn’t nearly as important or grand as it could’ve been. Zira definitely wouldn’t have succeeded in killing Simba at the end, considering every other lioness would have backed him up and saved him once she pounced (and it’s not like she can achieve a one shot kill. Even Scar couldn’t do that.) and while it is noble and kind to try and save Zira, that just serves to prove that she’s a nice and forgiving person.

In the start of the movie, Kiara says “I’m not just princess, ya know? That’s only half of who I am.” And Pumbaa replies “Oh, uh, who’s the other half?” And she has no answer. At the end of the movie, you’d expect her to have an answer….but she really doesn’t.

Throughout the film, the aspect of having another half comes up a few times, especially when they get around to the song ‘Love Will Find A Way’ where they eventually show that Kovu and Kiara’s reflections in the water make one IE We are one. But that doesn’t answer the question of Kiara’s character….unless they’re blatantly saying that the other half of her is Kovu, which is rather eye-rolling. Yes, we typically call our significant others our ‘other’ or even ‘better’ halves, but that wasn’t the question being posited. Who is Kiara’s other half, as a person? Not someone else, in a soul mate way – who is she as a person on her own merits? What does she even really want? What does she want to become?

Again, I can easily answer this question for Kovu. He’s a character who desperately wants to do the right thing, but he also wants to make his mother happy and his people/Scar proud. After he reunites with Kiara, he wants to be a good person, live a good life with her and have fun. He realizes at that point that Scar was the evil one and he had been lied to his whole life, making him not want to return to the Outlands, but also not really hating his family for it.

He’s constantly at odds with his role and his desires, but despite his act of being a slick Scar Jr. he’s obviously very sympathetic and open to bettering himself and becoming a good person. Most importantly, we can see this even when Kiara is not around. His character is not fully driven by her. When he’s simply having a talk with Simba, you can see that he’s actively listening and it’s not his act that’s taking over. Simba is speaking to him, truly, even if he doesn’t realize it, and Kovu becomes enthralled with the idea of being given a second chance.

Kiara starts out not wanting to be queen, which isn’t much of a plot point as she gets older. She’s more about wanting independence and trust from her father at that point, but it’s heavily implied that she accepted her role as princess/future queen in the end. And in The Lion Guard, apparently, it ends with it being confirmed that she does become queen. However, is she accepting this role because she truly wants it now or because it’s her ‘destiny’ and now that she understands ‘we are one’ she appreciates the role more? Because I’ve already explained how little I care about destiny in regards to character arcs.

So she’s now not even a frustrated princess who wants freedom. She’s a happier princess who has accepted her role but it’s okay because she has her true love now. That’s not very compelling.

It’s weird when I can connect more with Vitani and even Nuka more than Kiara.

In a lot of ways, Vitani has a similar problem in that there’s not a whole lot to her character, but it’s not as big of an issue with her because she’s a side character. She’s somewhat like a child version of Zira for the most part. She’s violent and glorifies bad things. When she sees Kovu alone with Simba, she’s literally panting because she believes Kovu will kill Simba and is excitedly waiting for him to do the deed. When he doesn’t, she becomes angry and instantly alerts their mother.

She’s mostly just Zira’s right-hand lioness when she gets older, and she’s very good at what she does. The best we get in terms of signs of her being any different from Zira are that we can kinda see that she genuinely loves her brothers. She literally sings Kovu’s praises in ‘My Lullaby,’ she play fights with Kovu, and when Nuka dies she’s obviously deeply affected.

However, not enough happens to her to really say she had a character arc in the end, even though she does turn heel and become a good guy in that….somewhat questionable ending.

Nuka on the other hand, despite not changing, really, also has more character and becomes somewhat sympathetic.

In a bit of an ironic twist, Nuka IS a lot like Scar, only without the intelligence and style. Scar was also jealous of his brother for being granted a role he believed he was more deserving of, even possibly through birthright. Even though Nuka is angry about Kovu being chosen by Scar, which leads you to believe that’s his motivation, it’s really not. He clearly just wants his mother to be proud of him. He’s jealous of Kovu not because Scar chose him but because Scar choosing him made him the favorite in the eyes of their mother. Nuka doesn’t try to sabotage Kovu, even though he dislikes him, because, above all else, he wants to make his mother happy. When Kovu starts to falter in his mission, he sees his opportunity to take the reigns and impress her, and he dies while doing so. Tragically enough, he also dies while apologizing to his mother for failing her.

I’m kinda highlighting this issue with Kiara to myself as I’m writing this because I’m much more interested in writing about Kovu, Nuka and Vitani than Kiara. Don’t get me wrong, she is by no means a bad character. She’s quite likable and I adore her relationship with Kovu. But as a character she’s just not interesting enough or fleshed out enough as our main protagonist, which is a damn shame. In fact, she may even be treading into *thunderclap* Mary Sue territory because, technically, she has very minimal flaws.

She’s impulsive, sure, but that’s called being a child. She’s a bit naive, sure, but that’s called being a child. She’s not a good hunter, but that’s mostly a lot of inexperience due to being sheltered so much.

Other than that, I can’t really think of any actual flaws in her character beyond the fact that she’s not an interesting or particularly active character.

The worst we get with Kiara is she runs away after Kovu’s banishment, but she’s fairly right to do so because Simba was overreacting and Kiara was right about him. Immediately after she reunites with Kovu, she tells him they have to go back and help unite their families instead of allowing them to remain apart. She doesn’t have some giant moral quandary, she doesn’t struggle with needing to face a harsh reality (like Simba having to admit he caused Mufasa’s death) she just does it. And when she gets there, she’s able to quell the fighting really easily by offering some cheesy lines that don’t even make a whole lot of sense in context.

Even to Zira, Kiara is merely a pawn. She’s an opening, a stepping stone, a tool. Scar hated Simba because he took his spot as next in line for the throne. Before, the only one in his way was Mufasa, but when Simba was born, he took second spot, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He needed to get rid of both of them in order to take over. Both Mufasa and Simba earned his ire, and both Mufasa and Simba were necessary to fall in order for his plan to work.

In TLK2, however, Kiara doesn’t even register as a being. In fact, I believe, during the entire movie, Zira never even says Kiara’s name. Zira doesn’t have any reason to hate Kiara besides the fact that she’s the daughter of the person whom she really hates. Kiara isn’t getting in her way to kill and get revenge on Simba. If anything, she makes it easier.

The big final showdown of the movie is Kiara and Zira, but 1) they’re not fighting. Zira pounces Kiara, they roll around for a second and then they fall off a cliff. The rest of the scene is Kiara trying to save Zira, but Zira’s her own undoing and refuses help, resulting in her death. And 2) Zira wasn’t even aiming for her in the first place. Zira was trying to kill Simba, but Kiara stepped in the way.

Probably the only character who gets less development or focus/exploration in the movie is Nala, whose very small role is being the only voice of reason in Simba’s ear that he actually listens to (Sometimes) and the only one of Kiara’s parents who is reasonable and level headed. She doesn’t really need a character arc though because she has a set role and she plays it just fine. Her part may be small, and she may be underutilized, which is disappointing, but it’s fine.

The one time they show her as anything different from this is in the big battle scene where Nala says with the most acid she can muster, “VITANI!” when she’s confronted with Vitani mocking her about where her daughter is. I have no idea where this seeming personal hatred towards Vitani came from. Honestly, I’m not even sure how she knows Vitani’s name. Is this implying that she thinks Vitani/the Outsiders had something to do with her daughter’s disappearance? After this one shot of them fighting, we don’t see them together again so it seems even more out of left field.

Truth be told, I’ve wracked my brain on how to change Kiara’s character to make her more interesting and memorable without making the entire story different, but I’ve come up with very little.

My first suggestion is to make her a tough aspiring ace hunter, which was hinted upon in the scene where she’s going off to play by herself. “Mighty hunter has cornered her prey.” As a lioness, she is obviously a perfect fit for being a hunter, but we don’t typically see hunting being emphasized in the Lion King movies very much, so this would be a bit of new territory for her to explore.

Maybe even have a scene where we see Nala training her to hunt and Kiara shows a particular affinity for it. However, Simba is against it because of his overprotective nature and princesses and queens just don’t lower themselves, so to speak, to do such menial labor. (It’s suggested that queens do lead the hunting groups, but it’s unclear whether they actually still hunt or just organize them.) He’s really only allowing her to learn to hunt for the sake of a traditional celebratory hunt for when she reaches adulthood, but after that she’ll be barred from doing it, which Kiara firmly resists because she wants to be the best hunter she can be. When she goes off to find Kovu, she actually utilizes her hunting skills to track him down, allowing that part of her character to be incorporated. Maybe she could reach a dead end to let ‘love find a way’ but still.

At the end of the movie, she’s allowed to go hunt on her own and skillfully becomes the ace hunter she wanted to be….instead of the incompetent one she is in the midway point of the movie. They do show Kovu training her, but only once, and she absolutely sucks at it. We never see her getting better at all, and that’s really disappointing. Not to mention that it’s a little on the iffy side that Kovu teaches her hunting skills in the first place. Lionesses have hunting locked as their thing, but a male lion has to teach Kiara how to do it properly….

The second option I thought of was her wanting to be an explorer/adventurer, which fits right in with her personality as a cub. She was enamored with exploration, and was even incredibly interested in a place that didn’t seem to have really anything in it, but could be fascinating to someone like her who appreciates all the littler details, flora and fauna. Perhaps she could want to become a scout to report back on impeding threats to the Pride Lands or want to explore the unknown areas all around Pride Rock to find new sources of food, water and shelter in case of emergencies.

However, again, this is fully against Simba’s overprotective nature, and he frustrates her by making her strictly stay on marked paths and only go out with an escort. At the end of the movie she solves a problem for some of the animals in the Pride Lands by exploring to find them food or whatnot.

The final option I thought of was the closest to what we actually got, which is making her a sheltered princess who has heard her father prattle on about threats in the outside world so many times that she’s actually quite paranoid. The thing she ‘wants’ is more vague in this scenario. It’s more like something she needs.

She wants and needs to leave the comfort of her cave and have the courage to go outside without fearing something terrible might happen. The only reason she even goes out into the Outlands is because she gets lost after being spooked by something while walking along her marked trail. However, Kovu helps her open up and be a little braver. The incident with the alligators actually doesn’t damage her, but instead it shows her that even though scary things can happen, they can be weathered, and they can even be fun experiences. Plus, having someone with you through it makes it a lot easier to deal with.

She goes on the hunt because she’s pushed into doing it because of tradition, Simba promising this will be the only time. She tries her best, but her paranoid nature, nervousness and inexperience lead her to failure. The only reason she’s not more massively impacted by the events of the failed hunt/fire is because it lead her back to her friend Kovu.

When Kovu is banished, Kiara braves the unknown wilderness, at night even, because she loves Kovu so much that she’s able to brave her fear and go find him. This even makes the song ‘Love Will Find a Way’ have a little more impact. At the end of the movie, she stands up to her father, she’s confident in what she wants, she bravely protects Simba from Zira and even risks her life on the cliffside to save her, proving how brave and kind she is.

At the end of the movie, she becomes a brave and strong queen because that’s the lioness she wanted to be.

Those are just the options I thought of. I don’t know how her character may have been altered in The Lion Guard or if better suggestions have been made, but those three are the best ones that crossed my mind to help improve her character a bit.

The final character I should obviously talk about is Zira, who makes for a very good replace for Scar. She doesn’t have all of his finesse or full memorability, but out of all of the villains of the Disquels, she’s definitely the best, even on the occasions where the main villain returns. She’s one of very few Disquel villains who actually guns for killing and destruction, and she’s the only one who canonically dies in the end.

Zira is very much the evil mastermind who typically gets others to do her dirty work for her, but when the chips are down she will gladly take matters into her own hands. She’s ruthless, she’s hateful, she has a dose of that sarcastic bite that Scar had, and just to drive the Scar similarities home, they even put a notch in her ear so she can also have a bad guy facial deformity trope.

The best part about her is that she’s actually legitimately threatening, which is insanely impressive for a Disquel villain. They even managed to make her the tiniest bit sympathetic when it came to the death of Nuka. But they didn’t make her too sympathetic to the point where I felt bad when she died, which is also good. In fact, they link Nuka’s death to her love of Scar by having her pray to Scar to watch over Nuka during his funeral.

It’s clear that her love is conditional, though. She mourned Nuka so much because, even though he was a dolt in her eyes, he was still incredibly loyal and died trying to kill Simba for her. However, she has no qualms whatsoever about killing Kovu and Vitani because they no longer want to kill Simba or fight the Pride Landers anymore.

I just wish they bothered to explain a little more about why she’s such a massive Scar fangirl. Why does Scar mean so much to her? What did he do over his few years as king of the Pride Lands to warrant her undying devotion and servitude? Why was she seemingly not in the first movie? Where did all of these other Scar fangirl lionesses come from? They could have maybe thrown in a flashback or two to show us some reasoning behind these very vital parts of her character, but we get absolutely nothing.

Zira is also a parent, which makes her a bit of a mirror to Simba. While both parents are expecting their children to be something they don’t want to be, Simba is clearly doing it out of love while Zira continuously proves to care more about getting revenge than her own children. While Simba does his best to protect Kiara at all costs and tries to raise her as best he can while also sheltering her too much, Zira brainwashes Kovu and sculpts him into being the perfect Scar 2.0.

Neither of their parenting styles are really right, and both need to change, but the main difference is that Simba proves himself to be willing to change in the end while Zira ends up dead because she can’t let the past or Scar go so she can change for the better.

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I do believe that’s far enough for this half of the review. We’ll save everything about the actual story for the step-by-step analysis in part two! Thanks for sticking with me this far, and I hope you join me in part two for more of me overthinking stuff and rambling.

Part two coming soon….


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