A Trip Down Memory Lane
The sun rises slowly above the Serengeti lighting up the screen to the burst of a bold Zulu chant. The melody is full of warmth and joy. Animals raise their heads as they wake and begin their journey; elephants move through the mist, flamingos soar through the glowing African sky and a giraffe mother and her caff saunter up a hill to get a better view. They’re headed for Pride Rock where a very special ceremony is about the take place. A small lion cub receives his blessing from a kind-looking baboon who lifts him up for the whole animal kingdom to see. And with that, a new King is born...
It’s one of the most exciting opening scenes in all of kid-movie history. If you grew up in the ‘90s, you may remember lining up with your parents and hundreds of other families to see the original Lion King (in some cases, over and over again). Indeed, people around the world fell in love with Simba’s story. Its staggering success aside, the real legacy the Lion King film provided is a story that will be shared by families for generations to come. One about family, friendship and the courage we find by facing our fears together. The relationships between characters in the film are very relatable and they remind us how important it is to show those close to us just how much we love and appreciate them. So here’s a little refresher as to what made this film so lovable in the run-up to the remake which is set to hit theatres on the 19th of July in the UK.
If you’re already feeling nostalgic, then we’ve got the perfect collection for you. Share the love among family and friends with our Lion King gifts, cards, mugs, and plush toys. If they’re crazy about the films adorable lion cubs, then why not get them a Simba soft toy? Or, show your little cub just how proud you are of them with a customised Lion King card. And, if they’re always dolling out the best jokes, a Pumba soft toy will be perfect. For now, here’s why this film classic is worth a re-watch for old times sake (or, as an addition to your movie bucket list if you haven’t seen it yet).
For one, there’s its colourful set of characters represented by the rich and diverse fauna of Africa. There’s the regal Mufasa, a lion who rules the animal kingdom, a true born leader. Then, his son, Simba, the cartoon’s main character. Simba begins the film as an adorable and mischievous young lion cub. He’s then swept off on an adventure full of new friendships and important life lessons.
They are joined by a memorable ensemble which includes the likes of Zazu, Mufasa’s dithery hornbill majordomo, the fearless lioness Nala, the cheeky yet wise baboon Rafiki, and the humorous duo of meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa. Together, they must battle Simba’s villainous uncle Scar for their home Pride Rock and the freedom of the animal kingdom.
The Lion King is a heartwarming and in some places, heartbreaking tale of how important relationships are with our nearest and dearest. Whether it’s family that guide us through life, the ones we fall head (or paws) over heels for, or simply our friends that help us overcome trouble and strife.
You’ve only got to look at just how much joy and support Timon and Pumbaa provide Simba when he’s at his lowest possible point to see how crucial friendships are. And the family bond between Simba and Mufasa is so unbreakable that they are forever united in spirit. You can’t deny, a huge reason why everyone loves the Lion King so much is because of the myriad of amazing relationships we get to witness through the film.
One of the best reasons to share The Lion King with your family and friends are the important life lessons it teaches us. We feel this early on when Mufasa tries to teach Simba about real bravery:
“Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble.”
And, when Simba’s old friend Rafiki helps Simba to understand the power our choices can have:
“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
The way the characters find strength and friendship in each other ultimately leads them back full circle to a place where they have respect and love for one another. As Mufasa puts it so finely:
“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As King, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”
And that is the circle of life.
The Lion King wouldn’t be the same without the tickling humour of its magical creatures. Even from the very first scene when an envious Scar confronts Mufasa, the wit is palpable:
Scar: I was on first until that little hairball was born.
Mufasa: That hairball is my son and your future king.
There’s also the trio of hyenas and their three-stooge-worthy antics. Shenzi and Banzai, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin who can’t stop bickering while their boggle-brained counterpart Ed just can’t stop laughing!
And, of course, there’s the famed comedic duo of lifelong friends Timon and Pumbaa:
Pumbaa: Ya know, in times like these, my buddy Timon says 'You gotta put your behind in the past'
Timon: No, no, no....amateur. Lie down before you hurt yourself. It's "You gotta put your past behind ya."
The perfectly timed comedy keeps the plot flowing, bringing balance to the more heart-wrenching elements of the film.
Mastery of animation has been part of Disney’s secret sauce for decades, from the chalk drawing scene in Mary Poppins to the beautiful Colors of the Wind in Pocahontas. The Lion King is no exception in this respect. As soon as Simba leaps into the infectious toe-tapper Just Can’t Wait to be King we’re treated to a kaleidoscope of colours, sweeping movement, and fanfare of jovial animals.
And, did you know that the heart-pounding wildebeest stampede which lasted two and a half minutes on screen took an entire three years to animate.
kaleidoscope of colours, sweeping movement, and fanfare of jovial animals.
From Hans Zimmer’s sweeping score to Elton John and Tim Rice’s catchy lyrics, The Lion King’s real star ended up being its musical score. Who can forget Timon and Pumbaa’s problem-free philosophy Hakuna Matata or the moving Can You Feel the Love Tonight shared by Simba and Nala?
The Lion King is more than simply a colourful kids movie. The film deals with loss, coming of age, and the bonds of family, many themes we’ve all experienced and felt in our lives. We watch as Simba grapples with the difficult emotions of losing his father until he realises that he’ll always be with him and a part of who he is:
Mufasa: Remember who you are...