Monday, July 18, 2011

The Lion King: A Review.

     It's not as good as I remembered it. 
     Perhaps my film palette has become more sophisticated since the first time I saw it back in 1972.  I had fond memories of it and I vouched for it when convincing my three-year-old nephew* to watch it.  "It's full of bright colors and fun songs!  It's so happy!  You'll love it."   Wrong-o!
     I feel like a pretty shitty aunt now, having shown this to such an impressionable child.  Although since every time something happened he asked what happened and why it was happening, I don't think the plot points stuck in his brain-wrinkles too much.  Plus, he did not understand that grown up Simba was not Mufasa.  That's not really the movie's fault, and three-year-olds don't take well to "you're just not paying attention" criticism.
     Something that had not occurred to me back in 1972 that really struck me this time is in implausibility of Simba's survival in that other part of Africa with Timon and Pumba.  Lions can't live off of bugs.  Lions are huge.  Warthogs are also pretty large, but I could suspend my disbelief for a bit that a warthog would eat bugs because 1. I don't really know a lot about warthogs and 2. he seemed like a scrounging trashy warthog who would eat whatever he needed for survival.  Whatever it is that Timon was I think probably actually lived off of bugs.  But there are not enough bugs in all of Africa to provide a lion with the protein it needs to survive, let alone thrive in such a way that it could fight for its rightful place on the throne.  Although presumably he was fighting an equally malnourished and much older lion, so perhaps in the case of two incredibly weakened and brittle lions, the younger Simba could win.  But he would be very winded when it was all over.
     Also, I don't really get why Simba, when younger, hung out with Scar.  At all.  Ever.  Clearly, he's a bad guy.  Mufasa does not approve of his brother's ways.  Why would he then tell his son to go hang out with him?  To cheer him up?  "Son, your uncle resents you being born, but why not go hang out with him in his cave and show off how cute you are!"  I'm not great at family, but I think if your brother looks like an evil genius, you don't send your kid over to hang out with him with no adult supervision.  Also, I wonder what Scar's real name was.  I doubt he was born with a scar over his eye.  That would be a tough delivery, even for a lion.  And in a family where the first son is given a name like Mufasa, are you really just naming your second son (probably born 20 seconds later, because that's how real lions are born) Scar?  And then slashing his face to make it make sense?  It just doesn't hold up.
     I still think the biggest problem with The Lion King  is how much Simba trusts Scar.  The logic of it breaks down too early for me to really enjoy the rest of it.  Also, at the end, I still find the fight ridiculous.  There's too much back and forth.  Specifically, when Scar and Simba are facing off and Scar goads Simba into admitting he was responsible for Mufasa's death.  All the lionesses are taken aback.  "Oh gosh Simba, how could you?  Is this true?"  But really, do any of the lionesses, especially his mother, really think he killed Mufasa. It's clearly a line of bullshit.  So then Scar starts fighting him or something and has him over the cliff.  Scar makes the classic villain mistake and tells Simba the truth of what happened.  This fuels Simba's malnourished body with enough rage that he jumps up and yells "murderer!" at Scar as he tackles him.  Now the lionesses are pissed at Scar.  What?  I suppose they're just lions, but do they really just believe every thing they hear, no matter who says it?  Then I think Scar confesses and the lionesses rip him the shreds and make a pinata out his carcass. 
     I just hope the overtly dark and frightening Lion King didn't give the kid nightmares. 

*He's not really my nephew; he's the child of my BFFs.  He calls me Auntie Pants, so I call him my nephew to simplify the relationship.  He might not be blood related, but I'm a better aunt than Scar is an uncle.  No, like waaaaaaayyyyy better.   

1 comment:

  1. I pretty much only enjoy Lion King up until Mufassa dies.

    Aladdin is WAY better.