|The Lion King II: Simba's Pride|
The VHS cover of the film
|Directed by|| Darrell Rooney|
|Produced by||Jeannine Roussel|
|Written by|| Flip Kobler|
|Starring|| Matthew Broderick|
|Music by||Nick Glennie-Smith|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
|Release date(s)||October 27, 1998|
|Running time||81 minutes|
- "The Circle of Life continues..."
- —The movie's tagline
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (later retitled The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride) is an American direct-to-video film released by Walt Disney Home Video on October 27, 1998 as a sequel to The Lion King. It was later re-released as a special edition DVD (which altered the original title's "II" into "2") on August 31, 2004, and on Blu-ray, for a March 6, 2012 release.
This film wasn't rated until the 2-disc Special Edition was released. It was then given a G rating by the MPAA.
While the original film's plot is inspired on William Shakespeare's Hamlet, this sequel's plot is similar to another Shakespearean play: Romeo and Juliet.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride centers around King Simba's daughter, Kiara, who falls in love with Kovu, a male lion who was raised in a pride of Scar's followers, known as the the Outsiders, who are Simba's enemies. Desperate to be together, they must overcome the two obstacles that are keeping them apart: Kovu's mother, Zira, and Simba.
The film starts off with the presentation of King Simba and Queen Nala's newborn cub Kiara, a ceremony which the ghost of Simba's father, Mufasa, proudly watches over. Some time passes and the princess runs from her suffocating babysitters Timon and Pumbaa, and her overly protective father, and sneaks across the borders of her father's kingdom to the Outlands, where she encounters an "Outsider" cub named Kovu. The two soon get into trouble when they find themselves in a river surrounded by crocodiles. Luckily, Kovu distracts them long enough for the two to escape. The cubs become friends, and Kiara attempts to initiate a game of tag, only to find Kovu has no idea how to play. In a bid to relax him, she playfully growls, but when Kovu retaliates, out of nowhere Simba appears. Kovu's mother Zira, who had been watching from the bushes, also emerges.
The two face off as Simba's pride appears, and Zira reveals that the Outlanders were exiled by Simba for remaining loyal to Scar, and that Kovu was Scar's heir to the throne – and therefore a threat to Simba. However, Simba is unwilling to hurt a cub and orders the duo to leave, much to Kiara and Kovu's dismay. As they journey home, Simba scolds his daughter for breaking the rules and endangering herself, reminding her that one day she will be a queen.
Meanwhile in the Outlands, Zira's teenaged son Nuka complains to his younger sister Vitani about Kovu being "The Chosen One", when as the eldest, the honor should be his. At that moment, Zira returns and scolds her two sons. She mocks Kovu's claim that he and Kiara could be friends. She then realizes that, by using Kiara, Kovu could get close enough to Simba to murder him and take the throne. Thus, he can avenge Scar's death. Alone in his tree, Rafiki communicates with Mufasa's spirit, and voices his fear of Zira and mistrust of Kovu, brought up with hate in his heart. Mufasa however, has his own plan – Kovu and Kiara will be together, and unite the two prides.
Time passes and Kovu grows into an adult. He is molded by Zira into the perfect assassin, with only one goal in mind: kill Simba. Kiara has also grown, and, keen to go on her first solo hunt, makes Simba promise he will let her do it alone. However, Simba sends Timon and Pumbaa after her to ensure her safety. Kiara is unable to catch anything, but is furious at her father when she finds he has lied and sent his friends to track her. Nuka and Vitani watch the events before lighting a series of fires around Kiara, trapping her. Kiara faints from the smoke as Kovu appears, as part of Zira's plan, and carries her back to the Pride Lands. Though angry at first that he has interfered, Kiara soon recognizes her old friend. However, Simba, drawn by the sight of smoke, appears, along with Nala. Kovu lies and claims that he has left the Outsiders to become a rogue, and asks to join Simba's pride.
Simba is suspicious of Kovu's story and motives. However, he is forced to acknowledge that he owes Kovu a debt which must be paid according to Mufasa's law. He allows Kovu to stay at Pride Rock, but makes him sleep outside the den, separate from the pride. Despite this, Kiara thanks him for saving her and the two arrange for him to give her a hunting lesson the next morning. That night, Simba dreams his father's death in the stampede. In it, Scar holds Simba back to prevent him from reaching Mufasa telling him 'trust me'. As Mufasa falls to his death, a laughing Scar morphs into Kovu, who throws Simba from the cliff.
The next morning Kovu attempts to teach Kiara to hunt properly, but the two stumble on Timon and Pumbaa, whose favorite feeding ground has been taken over by birds. They enlist the help of the lions to scare the birds off, but it soon turns into a game. Kovu, who has never played or had any real fun in his life, is confused by this new "training", but quickly starts to enjoy himself.
That night, as Kovu and Kiara stargaze, he questions whether Scar is considered one of the "Great Kings of the Past", and Kiara is visibly startled. He confesses that although Scar was not his real father, he was still a part of who he is, but Kiara tells him that part may be the darkness that made Scar evil. As Kiara and Kovu embrace, Simba watches unseen, and asks his father for guidance. Nala tells him that although Simba wants to walk the path expected of him, Kovu may not, and should be given a chance. As Simba leaves to ponder this, Kovu tries to pull away from Kiara, almost confessing his part in the plot against her father. Despite Kiara's please, he attempts to leave, but Rafiki stops him. Kovu and Kiara fall in love, and after returning home that night, Simba proves himself by inviting Kovu to sleep inside with the rest of the pride. Vitani watches Kovu give up a prime opportunity to murder Simba, and reports back to Zira.
Kovu eventually resolves to confess his true intentions to Kiara, but before he can do so Simba takes him aside for a private conversation. The two walk into the area that had been burned in the earlier bushfire, and Simba tells Kovu the true story of Scar. Kovu finally realizes he has been lied to, but Simba reassures him that, like the green grass springing through the ash, what is "left behind can grow better than the generation before – if given the chance". However, Zira decides to take matters into her own hands and organizes an ambush. The Outlanders chase Simba into a gorge, where he begins to scale a wall of logs to escape. Nuka, in an attempt to prove himself, tries to follow, but slips and is crushed. Kovu, who had watched the scene from above, tries to dig him out, but is shoved roughly aside by his mother. Zira lifts up a log to see her eldest son barely alive. He apologizes for failing her before dying. Zira blames Kovu for Nuka's death and slashes him across the face, scarring Kovu in an identical manner to Scar. Kovu defies his mother for the first time and runs back to the Pride Lands. Zira tells the other Outsiders that Simba has turned Kovu against them and declares war.
Meanwhile, Simba has escaped but is badly injured. Luckily, Kiara, Timon, and Pumbaa find him and take him back to Pride Rock Kiara refuses to believe that Kovu could be behind the attack, but she is the only one. Kovu returns and begs forgiveness. Simba refuses and exiles him, and the other animals drive him out. Kiara, confined to Pride Rock, breaks out and goes searching for Kovu. As she is about to give up, Kovu appears and the two are reunited. Kiara realizes they have to go back and stop the fighting, telling a dismayed Kovu that if they run away, the two prides will be divided forever. The Outsiders march on the Pride Lands. Simba leads his lionesses to meet them, and the two prides fight. As the fighting grow intense, Zira steps in to finish Simba off herself.
However, before the two can strike, Kovu and Kiara leap in between them. Kiara pleads with her father to stop the feud and tells him that a wise king once told her "we are one", and that there is no 'they' or 'us', but "they are us". Zira orders Vitani to attack, but she refuses, to which Zira furiously replies that she'll die along with the Pridelanders. In disgust, the other Outsiders change sides. While Simba is momentarily distracted by the sound of the river dam cracking, Zira tries to attack, but Kiara interferes, sending them both over the cliff. Kiara lands on a jutting rock but Zira continues to slide down towards the raging river. Kiara extends her paw to try and pull Zira up, but the bitter lioness, like Scar, is unable to let go of her hate, and falls to her death. Simba announces he was wrong about Kovu and invites the Outsiders back home. All the animals in the kingdom gather as Simba, Nala, Kovu and Kiara roar proudly on top of Pride Rock. Mufasa says to Simba, "Well done my son. We are One."
- Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick) is the titular tritagonist who is the reigning king of the Pride Lands and the father of Kiara. Cam Clarke provides his singing voice.
- Nala (voiced by Moira Kelly) is the secondary tritagonist who is Simba's mate and the mother of Kiara. She is less protective over her daughter and suggests to her mate to give Kovu a chance.
- Kiara (voiced by Neve Campbell as an adult and by Michelle Horn as a cub) is the main protagonist who is Simba and Nala's daughter. She falls for Scar's heir, Kovu, and tries to reunite the feuding prides. Charity Sanoy provides the singing voice as a cub while Liz Callaway provides her adult singing voice.
- Kovu (voiced by Jason Marsden as an adult and by Ryan O'Donohue as a cub) is the deuteragonist who is Scar's hand-chosen heir trained by his mother Zira to kill Simba. Gene Miller provides his adult singing voice.
- Zira (voiced by Suzanne Pleshette) is the main antagonist who is Nuka, Vitani, and Kovu's mother, and was the former follower of Scar. She uses her son to fulfill Scar's dying wish for Kovu to become his heir.
- Nuka (voiced by Andy Dick) is the secondary antagonist who is Vitani and Kovu's older brother and Zira's son. He is jealous over her mother's full attentions towards Kovu, and tries to prove himself to his mother.
- Vitani (voiced by Jennifer Lien as an adult and by Lacey Chabert as a cub) is the (former) tertiary antagonist who is Nuka and Kovu's sister and Zira's daughter. She is an active supporter of her mother's plans for her brother. Crysta Macalush provides her singing voice as a cub.
- Timon and Pumbaa (voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella) are the comical meerkat and warthog duo. Their friend Simba repeatedly assigns both to watch over his daughter, under his strict orders.
- Zazu (voiced by Edward Hibbert) is a hornbill who serves as Simba's majordomo.
- Rafiki (voiced by Robert Guillaume) is a wise, elderly mandrill who tries to get Kovu and Kiara to fall in love with each other through Upendi.
- Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) is Simba's father and the grandfather of Kiara, who was killed in the first film by his brother Scar. He tells his friend Rafiki through the wind to get Kovu and Kiara to fall in love with each other.
- Scar (voiced by Jim Cummings) is Simba's uncle, Mufasa's younger brother, and the great-uncle of Kiara, who killed Mufasa (and attempted murderer of Simba) in order to gain the throne. He appears in Simba's nightmare, and is seen in Kovu's reflection when he flees from the Pride Lands.
Discussion began about the possibility of a sequel to The Lion King before the first movie even hit theaters. In early 1995, it was reported that a Lion King sequel was to be released "in the next twelve months". However, it was delayed, and then it was reported in May 1996 that it would be released in "early next year" of 1997. By 1996, producer Jeannine Roussell and director Darrell Rooney signed on board, with its initial script centering around Simba and Nala's daughter, Aisha's, love for Nunka, Scar's son. The names, Aisha and Nunka, were eventually changed to Kiara and Kovu (which means "Scar" in Swahili) and Kovu's relationship to Scar was changed as well.
In 1998, Disney believed that The Lion King II: Simba's Pride would be so popular that it shipped 15 million copies to stores for the October 27 release date. Disney sold 3.5 million copies in three days. Thirteen million copies were sold while it was still in print in the late 90s.
The film was first released on VHS in the United States on October 27, 1998 and on DVD as a limited issue on November 23, 1999. Both were placed into moratorium on January 19, 2000.
It was not released again on DVD until August 31, 2004, when it was a two-disc special edition. This DVD went back into moratorium in January 2005.
The film has been rendered in high definition and, from October 4, 2011, became available in a trilogy box set with the other two films. The Blu-ray edition for The Lion King II was released as a stand alone version on March 6, 2012. The release is set to be released in two different packages, a two-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 the two friends gaze at the night sky as the star constellations resemble their favorite meal, insects. The Blu-ray release will be put into the Disney Vault in April 2013, along with the other two films.
Siskel & Ebert gave the film a "two-thumbs up" and said it was a "satisfactory sequel to one of the most popular films of all time, Disney's The Lion King". However, they also said it was best that it went to video, citing that the music was lacking and not remotely equal to the original's soundtrack.
TV Guide gave the film 2½ stars out of four, claiming that, despite being of slightly higher quality than Disney's previous direct-to-video animated sequels, "comes nowhere near the level of its big-screen predecessor", either musically or artistically. The review later went on to say that "Though most of the original characters and their voices are back, they all sound bored, apart from the zesty addition of Suzanne Pleshette as the scheming Zira. The overall result is OK for kids, who will enjoy the low humor provided by the comical meerkat Timon and the flatulent warthog Pumbaa, but it could have been so much better."
Unlike the original film's songs, which were written by only two composers, several composers compose the film's songs. Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Lebo M wrote "He Lives in You" while Tom Snow and Jack Feldman wrote the other songs besides "Upendi", which were composed by Kevin Quinn with Randy Petersen, and "My Lullaby" which was written by Scott Warrender with Joss Whedon.
These are the musical numbers of the film, listed in order of appearance:
- "He Lives in You", is sung off-screen by Lebo M with his African choir. This song is played during the ceremony of the newborn Kiara when presented to the animals of the Pride Lands as Mufasa's spirit lives on despite his death. It was originally sung by Mufasa in the first half and later by Rafiki with Simba and Chorus in the second half of the Broadway musical of The Lion King.
- "We Are One", a song sung by Simba with Kiara teaching her that she is important to her pride and as well as their pride are united as one. The song is reprised instrumentally when Kiara is about to go hunt and at the end of the film.
- "My Lullaby" is sung by Zira, Nuka, and Vitani. It is sung as Zira's wish for Kovu to mature so he can kill Simba. Also, it is very equivalent to "Be Prepared" in which Zira abuses Nuka similar to Scar abusing the hyenas while singing the song. As well, both songs end with the villains along with their followers standing on a landform.
- "Upendi" is sung by Rafiki the Baboon as he transports Kiara and Kovu into a paradise so they can fall in love. The word, upendi, originates from the word "penda" meaning love in Swahili. It is equivalent to "Hakuna Matata" and "I Just Can't Wait to be King".
- "One of Us" is a song sung by the African animals as they are driving Kovu out of the Pride Lands after being exiled by Simba. This also marks the first time the African animals have spoken outside the usual cast consisting of lions.
- "Love Will Find a Way" is sung by Kiara and Kovu as they feel love will find a way for them to love each other despite their differences and their families' feud with each other.
- Main article: Return to Pride Rock
On September 8, 1998, Walt Disney Records released a soundtrack inspired by the film titled Return to Pride Rock. It contains the songs in the film as well as new songs composed by Lebo M. The CD was re-released as "enhanced soundtrack" in August 2004.
- The story is meant to be a modern take on William Shakespeare's theatrical play Romeo and Juliet, only without Romeo and Juliet dying.
- A list of the mistakes and continuity errors in this movie can be found here.
- Conceptual Ideas can be found here.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Lui, Ed. Lion King 1 1/2" and "Lion King 2" Coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on March 6, 2012. Toon Zone.
- ↑ Horn, John HIGH-PROFILE SEQUELS WILL SKIP THEATERS FOR HOME SCREENINGS. (Fee required). May 23, 1994. "The studio is so confident in the sequel's success, it already is considering a direct-to-video sequel to The Lion King - which doesn't arrive in theaters until June."
- ↑ Bloomberg News Service. Sequel To 'Lion King' Set To Roar Into Vcrs Within The Next Year. Orlando Sentinel.
- ↑ Hettrick, Scott. Disney to offer original made for home videos (Fee required). Sun Sentinel.
- ↑ Roussell, Jeannine and Darrell Rooney. Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure audio commentary: DVD, Backstage Disney, 2006.
- ↑ New information about Disney's sequel to the 1994 animated feature, The Lion King. thumper.net.
- ↑ Lion King II: Simba's Pride - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes New York Times
- ↑ Disney
- ↑ The Lion King II: Simba's Pride - Siskel & Ebert.
- ↑ http://movies.tvguide.com/lion-king-ii-simbas-pride/review/133120