|The Lion King 1½|
The poster for The Lion King 1½
|Directed by||Bradley Raymond|
|Produced by||George A. Mendoza|
|Written by||Tom Rogers|
|Starring|| Nathan Lane|
|Music by|| Score:|
Don L. Harper
|Editing by||Joyce Arrastia|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Home Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||February 10, 2004|
|Running time||77 minutes|
|All Movie Guide profile|
- "Thought you knew "The Lion King"? You don't know the ½ of it!"
- —The movie's tagline
The Lion King 1½ (also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata in some countries outside the United States) is a direct-to-video part prequel/part parallel (or "in-between-quel" according to the film's teaser trailer) animated film to 1994's The Lion King, made by DisneyToon Studios. The movie focuses on the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa before they met the young lion Simba, and how Simba lived with them.
As the original 1994 film was based partially on the Shakespearean play Hamlet this movie is highly suspected to be inspired by Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, a play that created a humorous back story for two minor characters from Hamlet.
The movie begins with Timon and Pumbaa viewing the opening act of the original film "Disney's The Lion King" in a dark movie theater when Timon suddenly uses a remote control to fast forward to where they appear in the film. Pumbaa argues that the film shouldn't go out of order, and attempts to rewind the film back to the beginning. After arguing back and forth, Timon decides to show Pumbaa his backstory where he lived in a meerkat colony far away from Pride Rock. He was one of the worst diggers underground. While his mom has always been sympathetic and encouraging of Timon, his Uncle Max is more skeptical and embarrassed by his nephew. His father is not mentioned at all in the film, but did appear in a deleted scene; a sort of flashback. Timon's mom convinces Uncle Max to give Timon a job as sentry. The job results in disaster when Uncle Max narrowly escapes being eaten by the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Timon loses the little respect he had from is colony and leaves, hoping to find his place in the world. On his journey Timon meets Rafiki who tells Timon that he seeks "Hakuna Matata", and tells him how to get there. Timon mistakes Rafiki's words of wisdom as an actual place located at Pride Rock. Along the way, Timon and Pumbaa meet for the first time. Unfortunately, Timon was scared of predators which made Timon and Pumbaa scream loudly when they bump into each other. The adventures of Timon and Pumbaa begin to coincide with the events of The Lion King at this point. When they walk through the herd of animals witnessing the presentation of the new-born Simba, Pumbaa becomes a victim of his demophobia-triggered flatulence problem, and the terrible smell causes a few animals to collapse. The animals at the front see this and believe that the fallen animals are bowing, and soon they all bow together too. Timon and Pumbaa continue their journey and find a new home near Pride Rock. One morning, they are disturbed by some noise from outside, which is actually Simba, Nala, Zazu, and the animals singing "I Just Can't Wait to be King". Timon gets mad and hits the leg of an elephant supporting the tower of animals. The elephant jumps in surprise and causes the tower to collapse, explaining why it collapsed in the original film. Timon and Pumbaa's home is ruined by this event and they set off to find another home. On the way, they travel to the Elephant Graveyard and witness Mufasa saving Simba, Nala and Zazu from the hyenas. That night, going further into the graveyard, they witness an army of hyenas marching to "Be Prepared", and the duo run away. Later, they end up in the gorge only to encounter a wildebeest stampede, which is the same one from the original film where Simba loses his father. In the midst of it all they fall down a waterfall and, just as Timon is about to give up, find themselves before a large, luscious empty jungle in which they make their new home. Later they find Simba and the film shows us some of their life in the jungle throughout the years. As an adult, Simba re-encounters his childhood friend Nala, and Timon and Pumbaa try everything to stop Simba from falling in love with her. This has disastrous results, although explaining a few things not touched in the original film: Simba and Nala fell off the cliff because Timon and Pumbaa tripped them with a vine; and Timon and Pumbaa re-appear at the end of the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" sequence at another place because they were running around trying to interfere with the lions during the song. Although they fail, Timon is happy when he notices Simba arguing with Nala and running off to the grasslands. They go back to sleep, mistaking Mufasa's ghost appearing in the clouds as bad weather. However, in the morning, they realize that Simba has returned home to challenge Scar. Pumbaa follows after Nala and Simba, leaving Timon alone. Rafiki appears before Timon but before he can say anything, Timon realizes that his "Hakuna Matata" is all about his friends, not his home. Timon catches up with Pumbaa and together they head to Pride Rock. There, Timon re-encounters his mother and Uncle Max for the first time at Pride Rock, since he left the colony. They battle the hyenas while Simba fights with Scar. Thanks to Timon's quick thinking, the hyenas roll down a tunnel just in time to meet Scar after he is thrown from Pride Rock by Simba, onto a rock that is surrounded by fire. After the defeat of Scar, Simba becomes the king and Timon tells his mother that he found his place but something is still missing – his family. In the end Timon and Pumbaa return to their jungle paradise, bringing Timon's entire meerkat colony with them. The meerkats now have a safe, work-free, predator-free place to call home and Timon is hailed a great hero. When the movie is over, Pumbaa says he wants to watch it again, but Timon refuses to. However, Timon's mom, Uncle Max, Simba and Rafiki suddenly arrive and request to watch the movie as well. They are then joined by numerous Disney characters, first by Mickey Mouse, then Snow White and her seven dwarves, and so on. Timon gives up and begins to play the movie again. Right before the credits roll, Pumbaa says he's still not used to crowds.
- Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane), the main protagonist. He is a meerkat who is somewhat self-centered, selfish, and distracted, but he shows strong loyalty towards his friends.
- Pumbaa (voiced by Ernie Sabella), the deuteragonist. He is a warthog who is slow-witted, yet very empathic, and he would be anyone's friend.
- Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick as an adult and teen and by Matt Weinberg as a cub), the tritagonist. He is a young lion who leaves his home at Pride Rock after believing that he killed his father and he becomes Timon and Pumbaa's close friend.
- Ma (voiced by Julie Kavner), the secondary tritagonist. She is Timon's mother who is quite protective and attached to her son, often trying to get him accepted amongst the colony. She sometimes has small arguments with Uncle Max.
- Uncle Max (voiced by Jerry Stiller) is Timon's cranky, old uncle who has an unfriendly relationship with his nephew, but it softens towards the end of the movie.
- Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings), the main antagonists. They are a trio of hyenas who serve as Scar's henchmen.
- Nala (voiced by Moira Kelly) is Simba's childhood friend as a cub and later, his mate as an adult. She appears very briefly in the movie, and she has an extended conversation with Timon and Pumbaa about Simba's past.
- Rafiki (voiced by Robert Guillaume) is a wise, old mandrill who, in this movie, teaches Timon about Hakuna Matata.
- Zazu (voiced by Edward Hibbert) is a hornbill who serves as Mufasa's majordomo.
The Lion King 1½ was released on Blu-ray in The Lion King Blu-ray trilogy on October 4, 2011. It received its separate Blu-ray release on March 6, 2012, just like The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. It is set to be produced in two different packages, a 2-disc version with Blu-ray and DVD, and a DVD edition. The release has also been attached with a new Timon & Pumbaa short, in which they gaze at the night sky as the star constellations resemble their favorite meal: Insects.
Based on 15 reviews from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 73% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.3/10.
Frank Lovece of TV Guide gave the film 3½ stars out of 4 stating that "This retelling of THE LION KING (1994) from the point of view of comic sidekicks Timon (voice of Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) is one of the rare Disney direct-to-video sequels worthy of the original." He went on to say that "The only aspect of the film that feels forced is the revisionist positioning of Timon as young Simba's step-dad, which has no emotional echo in the first film. The quality of the animation is surprisingly impressive; some static backgrounds are the primary concession to a small-screen budget and the fluid character movements and expressions are vastly superior to those of, say, the Timon and Pumbaa TV cartoon series".
The film soundtrack, The Lion King 1½: Songs From Timon and Pumbaa's Hilarious Adventure, was released to CD by Disney Records on February 10, 2004. It includes two songs from the film, "That's All I Need" re-performed by Nathan Lane as Timon and "Digga Tunnah". The rest of the soundtrack includes various R&B tracks, including remakes of the Kool and the Gang classic "Jungle Boogie" by The French, and two instrumental pieces from Lion King 1½ composer Don L. Harper. The theme of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly composed by Ennio Morricone also appears on the soundtrack.
- "Grazing in the Grass" - (Raven-Symoné)
- "Digga Tunnah Dance" - (Lebo M and Vinx)
- "That's All I Need" - (Nathan Lane)
- "Hakuna Matata" - (Lane and Ernie Sabella)
- "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (Lebo M)
- "Jungle Boogie" - Kool and the Gang
- "Timon's Traveling Theme" - Lebo M
- "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
- "Sunrise Sunset" - Fiddler on the Roof
- A list of all Disney characters which appear at the end of the movie: Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Aladdin and Jasmine on the Flying Carpet, the Genie, Lady and the Tramp, Belle, the Beast, Mrs. Potts, Chip, Hyacinth the Hippo from Fantasia, Stitch, Goofy, Mad Hatter, March Hare, Donald Duck, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, King Louie, Pocahontas, Baloo, Mowgli, Victor, Hugo, Laverne, Terk, Dumbo, Flora, Fauna, Merryweather, and Br'er Bear.
- In the movie, it shows you how Timon and Pumbaa met each other and became friends. Oddly, in the episode, "Once Upon a Timon", of The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, it tells a similar yet different storyline of how Timon and Pumbaa met each other. Also, the episode, "Mombasa-In-Law", presents a different portrayal of Timon's mother than that of The Lion King 1½. It's most likely that those two episodes are not canon to the Lion King continuity.
- Over fifteen hidden Mickeys appear in the movie.
- This is the only Lion King movie where the title doesn't make a second appearance at the end of the film.
- A list of the mistakes and continuity errors in this movie can be found here.
- Conceptual Ideas can be found here.