Posted on 11/26/07 11:08 PM
I find it odd that my first review is of a movie that I saw back when I in first grade, but I somehow feel the need to do so. First off, I'd like to start by saying that the first Lion King is one of my all-time favorite movies. And while I did enjoy Simba's Pride as a child, looking back it's just not that good
The Good: . It has it's heart in the right place. Unlike many Disney sequels, it attempts to (almost) match the first in visual quality. It also tries to incorporate a Shakespearian element to further disprove the Kimba controversy. It even got many of the original cast to return which always a good thing when the cast is already excellent. The voice acting is almost always stellar in this film and rarely falters. Andy Dick even provides a very funny performance as the lion Nuka, giving him an almost paranoid persona which works well with the character. Now with the absence of Scar, the writers did well by creating Zira. Even though she is not as complex as Scar was (mostly because of Jeremy Iron's dpot-on delivery), she holds her own as a villain. The Outlanders are good subsitute for the hyenas and they pose more of a threat.
When it comes to the love story, there are some very good moments between Kiara and Kovu including trying to figure out cloud formations.
The opening song "He Lives in You" is very well-written and quite catchy.
Lastly, it was a good touch by the animators to actually bulk up Simba a little bit to make him more like Mufasa.
The Bad: Even though LK2:SP tries hard to match the look of the first LK, it doesn't quite do it. I know there is less time and smaller budget, but everything is much darker and it takes away all of the fun that the original provided with its scenery. Also, all of the lions have very dark areas above their eyes. They're present in the first, but they're just ridiculous in this one.
Second, the songs are sub-standard at best. With the exception of "He Lives in You" all of the songs lack the impact that they are supposed to have and "Upendi" is just embarrassing.
Next, with the love story being the primary tale, it doesn't really do much for me. Kovu and Kiara have more screentime together than Simba and Nala had, but Simba and Nala's relationship felt like it was more than a teenage crush. The main relationship never really seems like it would last, but it has to because Kovu's the only other male lion.
The first LK had a shifting tone that went from comedy to tragedy in a matter of seconds, yet it worked. SP tries to recreate that, but fails. There is a lot of death in this movie, but it never really hits any emotional soft spots. Nuka's death almost does, but it's hard to feel bad for him. Timon and Pumbaa once again provide comic relief, but it feels like their old TV show rather than a Lion King movie. The first LK tried hard not to have many cultural references and the ones that were included didn't detract from the African feel (maybe the hula, but that's just funny). In SP, Timon states that Kiara should have a beeper. Ah, the wild.
Finally, my biggest complaint is Simba. The hero of the first film returns bigger, stonger and... an ass. Everything he learned in the first movie apparently went out the window when he became king. He hates Zira and offers no chance for forgiveness. He's also very watchful of Kiara and doesn't trust Kovu and he gets lambasted for both even though he almost died twice as a kid and Kovu was originally out to kill him. What a douche right? He's made into a villain of sorts by being too watchful of Kiara even though she also almost dies twice and no one understands why he doesn't trust Kovu. That's not the Simba I remember.
And Why? Does Mufasa say "Well done my son" at the very end of the film? Simba didn't do anything. Mufasa arranged the relationship between Kovu and Kiara and Kiara stops Simba and Zira from fighting. He never comes to his senses by himself, someone else has to do it for him! He's just... there for the sake of calling it Lion King.
[left]The debate continues....