This all sounds familiar since all of Disney's straight-to-video sequels have played it very safe, nearly repeating the originals' story, tone, and pace. Perhaps there were too many cooks for this production. Besides the two screenplay credits, there are eight other writers credited for additional written material. The look of the film has none of the surprise of the original but is far superior to other animated videos. In fact, the film played in European cinemas.
For children, the sequel will be a favourite. The comic antics of Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumba (Ernie Sabella) are enjoyable, as is Andy Dick as Nuka, the mixed-up older son of Zira. And there's plenty of action. The best element is the music. Relying on more African-influenced music, the five songs featured are far superior to those in Disney's other sequels. Zira's song of revenge, "My Lullaby," was cowritten by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. The oustanding opening number, "He Lives in You", was created for the Lion King Broadway smash and now finds a whole new audience. --Doug Thomas
The constant references to Scar and the, um, 'scars', he has left may indeed turn some people off. Personally I loved it. Kiera and Kovu are worthy successors to Simba and Nala. Here we have characters who cannot escape the past, but unlike the first film where Simba is trying to escape HIS past, they are trapped in the shadow of events before their time. They weren't a part of Scar's betrayal or downfall yet they still live with the consequences. Their struggle to be seen as individuals away from their heritage is a metaphor that easily applies to the film as a whole and I for one think it is wholly successful.
The film is altogether darker than the first, (Scar's vengeful mate is a pretty twisted figure), but it works perfectly in it's context as a sequel. You watch The Lion King when you're young and fall in love with the beautiful artwork and songs, then you watch The Lion King 2 when you are a bit older and appreciate for the first time just how complex the first film was to leave such a legacy, and hopefully see it in a new light.
Some people won't want to view an old favourite in a new light, and I must admit I didn't watch this film out of choice, but the new characters soon had me involved in a whole new way, the new songs, (especially the emotional, 'He's Not One of Us'), are never far from my tongue, and in moments of doubt Timon and Pumba are there to ease you along.
There are many Disney sequels and most are straight-to-video for a reason, but if you dismiss The Lion King 2 on those principles, you'll miss out on a real gem.
Simba is now the new Lion King and is a proud father to Kiara, his daughter. Like Simba once was at her age, Kiara is a very mischievous and adventurous cub who just can’t help getting into all kinds of trouble. One day, while exploring the Pridelands Simba asks Timon & Pumbaa to keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t get hurt. She manages to escape them both while they’re quarrelling over their lunch and runs off to the Outlands which are strictly off limits to all Pridelanders. Once there, she befriends another young lion cub named Kovu who was chosen to follow in the pawprints of Scar and one day take over as King. The problem is, Kiara and Kovu are not allowed to be friends because their families are at war against each other. As time goes by, Kovu & Kiara begin to slowly fall in love. Will their love be strong enough to end the feud between their warring families? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out…
‘The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride’ is a beautifully drawn, painted and animated movie. I don’t think anyone could have made the sequel to such a wonderful Disney Classic any better than this. You may also be interested to know that grown up Kiara’s voice is done by Neve Campbell from the ‘Scream’ movies and she’s a wonderful voice actress for Simba’s daughter.
However, my only disappointments about this DVD are that there are no special features to offer you. You get language and chapter selections as well as seeing a few other Disney titles available to buy. But apart from this, that’s all there is.
In addition, the story itself somehow lacks the spirit and feeling to the original ‘Lion King’ movie. The soundtrack to ‘Simba’s Pride’ has been completely changed with no resemblance to the first movie whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a terrific soundtrack and the new songs are ssoooo cool! It just would have felt a lot more like ‘The Lion King’ if they’d kept the original background music in the sequel. In other words, it would really have felt like the second movie was continuing from where the original left off rather than a completely different story all together.
Also, Zazu’s voice has been changed and is no longer done by Rowan Atkinson. However, the replacement is very close to the original voice so I’m not too disappointed there. Except for Zazu, all the original voice actors from ‘The Lion King’ have returned for the second movie.
Despite the disadvantages to the sequel, it’s still a very good story and you really should try and watch it sometime. Don’t take my word for it, watch it and judge how good you think it is for yourself…
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