A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
This was a sequel that I never knew existed. It seems that even back in the 90’s there were unnecessary follow-ups being created that rode the coattails of the successful original.
“The Lion King” is one of the all time great family films and conquests in animation. The originality, the emotion and the timelessness of this Disney classic is what made it such a success. There was some major apprehension leading into the sequel “Simba’s Pride”, and after watching it, there were some interesting elements taken from it, yet it ultimately felt like a poor spin-off of the original. The ‘direct-to-DVD’ status of it was enough proof to begin with…
Taking place in the period following the death of Scar, “Simba’s Pride” sees Simba himself ruling over his kingdom and becoming a father for the first time. His newly born daughter Kiara has an almost identical ceremony that commences the film to Simba in the original. The only difference is that instead of the classic “Circle of Life”, we get a b-grade attempt at an inspirational piece in “He Lives In You”.
The film progresses in it’s own unique way initially. We get to know the villain of the story, Scar’s banished wife Zira; a strikingly menacing lioness with powerful, threatening eyes that seem reminiscent of Gloria Swanson’s Norma Desmond from “Sunset Blvd.”.
She is outraged about Simba’s ruling of the kingdom and her banishment from the lands. She and her derelict pack of feeble, ravenous predators (some of which appear to have severe substance addictions) plot vengeance on Simba by training Kovu, the son of Scar to befriend and ultimately infiltrate Simba’s pride, generating a chance to murder the current king, leaving Zira to take the ranks once and for all. As Kovu (who is more or less the spitting image of Scar) becomes increasingly friendly with Zira, “Simba’s Pride” becomes more and more like an animated version of “Westside Story”, in that, Zira begins to develop a likening and some strong feelings towards Kovu in amongst this conflict of two opposing parties.
The songs aren’t as appealing as the original’s soundtrack, yet they are quite charming and fun at times. There are some overly dark tunes that add a brooding feel to the antagonists which works very well. The audience gets a fair dose of Timon and Pumbaa, the loveable odd-couple Meerkat and Warthog; their antics are more or less time fillers between scenes, but they are quite entertaining to an extent.
At the end of it all, “Simba’s Pride” wasn’t anything unique or memorable. It appeared to be a rough first draught version of the original masterpiece with some character alterations to make it flow better overall. The story is similar and the sequel doesn’t offer anything particularly special. Sameness and parallelism are elements that dominate “Simba’s Pride”, it feels unnecessary and forced which is a great shame.
Recommended By Adrian Chiprian