The Lion King

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Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [1]

Sithi uhm ingonyama [2]
isiZulu chorus, "The Circle of Life"

The most financially successful film in the Disney Animated Canon, The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a lion who is heir of the African Pride Lands. After his father, Mufasa, dies, his uncle Scar tells him it's all Simba's fault, ordering him to run away.

Simba subsequently runs away from the Pride Lands, and is found and rescued by Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog duo who raise him under the philosophy of "Hakuna Matata" -- "no worries". Many years later, Simba meets an old friend from the past, and realizes that he must return to reclaim his dying kingdom.

A plot described by some as Hamlet and Macbeth with Talking Animals. The sequels seem to follow the Shakespeare trend, as The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth With Talking Animals In Africa and The Lion King 1½ resembles Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a much more recent play and Perspective Flip of Hamlet. Timon and Pumbaa also star in a spin-off animated series, imaginatively named Timon and Pumbaa, which was vastly different in tone and setting from the original movies, doesn't fit into canon, and has a tendency towards almost complete anthropomorphisation.

The video game adaptation for the Genesis and SNES (and others) was very well received, though notoriously hard beyond the first level.

A Screen to Stage Adaptation arrived on Broadway in 1998 and it was an instant smash hit that received much acclaim for its imaginative staging, musical numbers and general awesomeness, by director Julie Taymor.

Now has a re-release in Disney Digital 3D, which has become the first re-release of a movie since the 1997 re-release of Return of the Jedi to hit number one at the box office.


Tropes used in The Lion King include:


Original Film[edit | hide | hide all]

Simba: But you're not scared of anything!
Mufasa: I was today.
Simba: You were?
Mufasa: Yes. I thought I might lose you.

  • Accidentally Accurate: There are some scenes where Simba is swimming and enjoying the activity, while Nala didn't. For many, Nala's reactions was common since many wild cats, like Lions, don't often enjoy bathing in water. However, since the film's release, there has been cases where lions will go for a swim, most of the time in order to find food. Keep in mind, Simba is a lion and he's okay with water... so Disney was right about this one.
  • Aerith and Bob: The hyenas: Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
  • All-Star Cast
  • Alternate Animal Affection: It's hard to draw realistic lions kissing, so crossing necks will have to do.
  • Alternate Ending: The original ending to the movie would've had Scar actually throw Simba off Pride Rock at the end of the fight (after Simba tries to save his life). Scar then dies laughing hysterically as the fires surrounding Pride Rock engulf it, burning him to death. Simba survived the fall (ironically meaning Scar throwing him off Pride Rock saved his life) and then meets up with Nala after the fires are put out. This was changed as the filmmakers felt this wouldn't have really brought Scar to justice for his actions.
  • Amusing Injuries: Zazu being tackled by Simba. Zazu being launched high into the air by a geyser. Banzai falling into a thorn pit. All three are notable for the other characters finding them funny as well as the audience: "Cactus butt!"
  • Animal Talk
  • Arranged Marriage: Simba and Nala; a rare happy one, although they're not too thrilled by the idea when they first find out.

Young Simba: But I can't marry her. She's my friend!
Young Nala: Yeah, it'd be so weird.

  • Artistic License Astronomy: There certainly seemed to be an inordinate number of shooting stars in the sky when Simba began making his triumphant return to the Pride Lands. (A few minutes earlier he had had a spiritual visitation from his late father, so who knows what to take literally?)
  • Artistic License: Biology:
    • Rafiki is a Mandrill with a tail of a Baboon and living in savannah instead of in the forest; Pumbaa is a reddish brown warthog that looks more like a big-headed pig than a warthog and which eats bugs instead of Real Life grass; Timon is an always-bipedal meerkat with human-like teeth and that says "Ugh, Carnivores!" even though he belongs to the order Carnivora as well; the Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) that bear some resemblance with Striped Hyenas (Hyaena hyaena), with grey hair, large shaggy black manes, black ears and low-hanging head. And why are Giant Anteaters present in the "Just Can't Wait To Be King" scene, considered that Pangolins and Aardvarks were available for that (and they are just as amusing to draw?) And what about the Leafcutting Ants? Are all those examples of Rule of Cool, They Just Didn't Care or (hard to believe) Did Not Do the Research?
    • Another example occurs during "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?". As Simba, trying to woo Nala, attempts to impress her with his agility, he does so by running off-screen and charging, full force, until he leaps at a convienietly-placed vine and gracefully swings off of it. Adult lions wouldn't be able to hold on to something as fragile as a vine before it snapped in half.
  • Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat!:

Zazu: (trapped) Let me out, let me out!
Timon: (chased) Let me in, let me in!

  • Award Bait Song: "Can You Feel The Love Tonight". ("Circle of Life" also earned nominations, but that one is the only that fits the "Award Bait" formula.)
  • Babies Ever After: Simba and Nala's cub appears in the final scene.
  • Backstab Backfire: Scar would've won his last fight if he hadn't chosen to tell Simba who was really responsible for Mufasa's death. And he still might have survived it if he hadn't tried to blame everything on the hyenas (who were practically his only supporters at that point) before he ended up needing their help.
  • Batman Gambit: A particular talent of Scar's. He plays everyone like a fiddle because he knows them so well.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: One of the most famous examples occurs at the end.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Who appears as the most beautiful between Mufasa and Scar (and between Simba/Nala and Shenzi/Banzai/Ed)? Averted with Pumbaa, who is ugly and stinky, but is extremely tender and caring.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mufasa is level-headed and wise, until you mess with his cub...
    • Simba's last reservations about his status disappear when Scar hits his mother, which doesn't make him too happy.
    • Scar can't stand hearing Mufasa's name, to the point that he makes a law against saying it.
    • Pumbaa is called a pig, prompting him to say "Are you talking to me?! They call me MISTER PIG!" before attacking. However he doesn't mind when Timon or Simba call him one; it's just strangers.
  • Better Living Through Evil:

"We'll have food! Lots of food! We repeat! Endless meat!"

  • Beware the Nice Ones: See Berserk Button. Makes sense in this case, as you don't want to piss off a boar warthog.
  • Big Damn Villains: Simba may be too moral to kill Scar, but the hyenas are all too happy to rip him to shreds.
  • Big No: Twice by Simba. When Mufasa dies and when Simba finds out who did it.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • "Hakuna Matata" is a touristy phrase -- versus Hamna Shida -- translating roughly as "there are no worries" in Swahili.
    • The first line of Rafiki's chant is "Asante sana squash banana." In context, it doesn't mean anything, but "asante sana" is Swahili for "thank you very much." In addition, the second line does mean "You're a baboon and I am not".
    • The Zulu chants provided by Lebo M. certainly count as well.
    • Most of the characters' names are Swahili words: Simba ("Lion" or "Courageous Warrior"), Mufasa ("King"; in Manazoto rather than Swahili), Pumbaa ("Simpleton"), Nala ("Gift"), Rafiki ("Friend"), Shenzi ("Savage") and Banzai ("Skulk").
    • Banzai counts for it twice as it's also a Japanese word which has different meanings depending on the context of the sentence, but which sometimes translates to "Forever", among other things, again depending on the context in which it's being used.
  • Biting the Hand Humor / Self-Deprecation: Zazu starts to sing "it's a small world". Scar freaks out and demands him to sing anything else but that. Even funnier, in the Broadway show, Zazu may sing "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from another Disney movie that has become a successful Broadway musical.
  • Black and White Morality: A Disney hallmark after all...
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mufasa's body seems to be in pretty good condition for someone who had just been thrown off a cliff and trampled to death by a stampede of wildebeest.
    • Scar and Simba duke it out with claws extended but neither has any sign of injury after.
    • Averted when Simba slashes Shenzi's face, leaving three clear and bloody marks.
  • Blunt Yes:

Banzai: What were we supposed to do? Kill Mufasa?
Scar: Precisely.

  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Scar could have avoided all this trouble if he had just killed Simba himself rather than sending him running off and delegating the killing to the incompetent hyenas, although that would have included the danger of him being seen or found out. More obviously, Scar telling Simba that he killed Mufasa, which gave Simba both the determination and the support of the pride that he needed to win.
  • Book Ends: The film begins with Mufasa's cub Simba presented to the kingdom. It ends with Simba's cub similarly presented, both accompanied by the same song, "The Circle of Life".
    • Played a bit screwy, to the point of being turned completely inside-out, in the middle of the song "Hakuna Matata": "It means no worries for the rest of your days" is Simba's final line as a child, and first line as an adult; his youth in the movie ends the same way his adolescence begins.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: The strong and noble Mufasa, (and later Simba) vs. the Lean and Mean Scar, who even lampshades it.

"Well, as far as brains go, I got the lion's share, but when it comes to brute strength, I'm afraid I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool."

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the middle of Hakuna Matata, Timon and Pumbaa do this (though they might have actually been looking at Simba).

Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted...
Timon: How did you feel?
Pumbaa: Every time that I-
Timon: (claps hands over Pumbaa's mouth) HEY, PUMBAA! (looks right at the fourth wall) Not in front of the kids!
Pumbaa: (also looks) Oh! Sorry.

    • Simba gets in on the act a second later as he seems to have been looking at the fourth wall as well in response to the above exchange, but it's up to the viewers on that one.
  • Briar Patching: Scar tempting Simba to visit the elephant graveyard.
  • Brick Joke: Arguable, and possibly unintended. Early on, Scar said that he would be a monkey's uncle when Simba becomes king. Later, when Nala is looking for Simba after he's left for Pride Rock to become king we have this conversation.

Nala: Have you guys seen Simba?
Timon: I thought he was with you.
Nala: He was but now I can't find him. Where is he?
Rafiki: [chuckles] You won't find him here. The King has returned.
Nala: I don't believe it. He's gone back.
Timon: What?
[looks up and sees Rafiki has disappeared]
Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
Timon: Who?
Nala: Scar.
Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?

  • Broken Aesop: In-universe. Simba's new lesson of "Hakuna Matata, forget your worries" results in him running from his problems and thus shirking his duty as king.
    • Another in-universe, Rafiki teaches Simba that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Simba decides to quit running and forgives himself before confronting Scar. Despite putting his guilt behind him, Scar turns his family against him and Simba quickly falls victim to his guilt yet again. No one rallies behind him until Scar admits he killed Mufasa.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Timon and Pumbaa are firm believers, which is why they're more than a little upset when Nala comes along to break up the trio.
  • Butt Monkey: On one side of the power struggle is Zazu, who starts out as Mufasa's PR guy and constantly finds himself at the butt of Simba's antics. After Scar takes over, he is reduced to a court jester and is almost eaten by the hyenas on several occasions. And on the other are the three hyenas, especially Banzai, who gets claw-marks and thorns in his butt.
  • Cain and Abel: Mufasa and Scar.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Solved by having Simba eating bugs, a Truth in Television since real lions are happy to eat them if necessary. Averted when Nala stalks and nearly kills Pumbaa, but then backs off when she has her reunion with Simba. With no recourse at all, the movie "solves" these troubling issues by Lampshading and then ignoring them.
  • Cheated Angle: Pride Rock is always seen from the left, except for one shot at the very beginning of the film.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "Ha! Pinned ya!" Serves as a Something Only They Would Say moment later.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Simba and Nala.
  • Circling Monologue: Scar circles Simba during the end while blaming him for Mufasa's death. Almost works. On the other hand, the Hyenas' one around Simba and Nala doesn't work at all.
  • Cliff Stack: At least once, to great effect.
  • Comically Missing the Point: This exchange:

Timon: Gee. He looks blue.
Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold.
Timon: No, no, no. I mean he's depressed.
Pumbaa: Oh.

    • Timon and Pumbaa's worry-free lifestyle is based on the motto "Hakuna Matata". They may have missed the fine print that said the phrase only tells you not to worry in a given situation- you still need to face your problems.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Conspicuous CG: The wildebeest from the stampede were cel-shaded to avert this. Compared to other mixed CGI-in-handrawn-animation examples, this one still holds up pretty well after all these years.
  • Continuity Snarl: Primarily from the obscure book series The Six New Adventures Of The Lion King, which came out after the first movie, but before Simba's Pride. The series added the character of Simba and Nala's son, a cub named Kopa, some other cub characters to Mufasa's original pride, the story of how Scar got his scar, as well as named Mufasa's parents and grandfather, and Scar before he got his scar. Since Kopa has since been Retconed into Kiara in Simba's Pride, the extent to which Six New Adventures is considered canon is hotly debated amongst some fans, and has resulted in much Wild Mass Guessing and cries of Fanon Discontinuity. Also, the animated series gave a different (and fairly moving) version of Timon and Pumbaa meeting than .
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The "Be Prepared" sequence seems to have happened in a lava hotspot.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Simba briefly makes Mufasa's body cradle him just after Mufasa's death.
  • Crush Parade: Mufasa saves Simba from this, but gets knocked away. Simba looks on at the stampede in horror, but then Mufasa emerges and climbs up the cliff to meet Scar, who throws him off and sends him falling back down to it.
  • Crying Wolf: Subverted. Simba says to Scar "Why should I believe you? Everything you ever told me was a lie." Technically, however, it's really more along the lines of VERY skillful equivocation.
  • Curse Cut Short: "Why do I always have to save your- AAAHHHH!"
  • Cut Song: Several. A Dark Reprise of "Be Prepared", "Warthog Rhapsody" (an alternate Timon and Pumbaa song), "Thanks To Me" (the original version of "Be Prepared"), "The Lion in the Moon" (a lullaby sung by Sarabi), and "To Be King" (sung by Mufasa and cut because people thought James Earl Jones as a singing lion would be unintentionally funny). "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was supposed to be in the movie in its entirety, but Timon and Pumbaa end up singing only a couple of lines of it during the final version.
  • Dark Chick: Shenzi.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to other Disney films of the period. It is, in fact, a very tense, pathos-filled drama rather than the usual fairy tale romantic comedy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Scar, Nala, Timon, and Zazu.
  • Desert Skull: As Simba returns to the Pridelands, he finds it riddled with wildebeest skeletons to show how Scar's rule has ruined the land. At the end, as Simba returns to power, there's a brief shot of a skull being washed away by the rain, to symbolize the end of the old regime.
  • Deranged Animation: A vast majority of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King"'s backgrounds employ this.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Some anteaters are shown in the "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" sequence, but anteaters are not found in Africa; they live in South America.
    • Same goes for the leaf-cutting ants seen at the beginning.
    • Also averted combined with What Could Have Been - the movie was originally going to be called King of the Jungle and be about African lions living in the jungle. This idea was dropped when the production staff realised that lions don't actually live in the jungle.
  • Disappointed in You:

Mufasa: You deliberately disobeyed me.
Simba: I was just trying to be brave, like you.
Mufasa: Being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble.

Scar: My friends.
Shenzi: Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy.

  • A Dog Named "Dog": Simba the simba.
  • The Dragon: Shenzi. Quite possibly Dragon with an Agenda (See Better Living Through Evil above.)
    • Co-Dragons: Though Shenzi as the leader makes sense considering her species, Scar seems to refer to the three as equal rank for the most part. Banzi at one point even goads Shenzi to go after Simba, even if she scoffs at it.
  • Dramatic Spotlight: On Simba, then Timon and Pumbaa, during the song "Hakuna Matata".
    • Also Natural Spotlight on Pride Rock when cub Simba is shown to the masses. The sun's timing is impeccable.
  • Dynamic Entry: The hyenas chase Simba and Nala to a corner of the elephant graveyard. As they calmly close in for the kill, little Simba suddenly feels brave enough to "roar", which they find laughable. The second roar, however, is considerably more startling to them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: What Scar offers to the hyenas.
    • Extremely debatable. As is argued in this Cracked article, Scar seems to have been offering the hyenas true equality in the Pride Lands. While other animals, including the carnivorous lions and cheetahs, could roam and hunt freely, the hyenas were all slowly starving in "that shadowy place." The only "evil" aspect of this plan would be that the hyenas' hunger was being manipulated by Scar as to place himself on the throne.
  • Epic Movie: Arguably Disney's most well known example from their animated films.
    • The Epic: Essentially, this film is a straight up classical one.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After Scar takes over Pride Rock and drives everything to ruin and starvation, the hyenas become resentful of him, because they, too, are starving (see Equal Opportunity Evil above).
    • And at the end, when Scar inadvertently betrays them, the hyenas advance on Scar and attack and kill him.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Fires set the stage for Simba's final battle with Scar. For some reason there's unexplained volcanic activity during the Villain Song.
  • Evil Will Fail: Even if Simba hadn't shown up and pulled a Rightful King Returns, Scar's rule over the lion pride would have collapsed anyway since he'd driven the pridelands to the point of ecological ruin.
  • "Falling in Love" Montage: "Caaaaaaaaaaan you feeeeeel the looooooooove toniiiight...?"
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Scar's death, although technically off-screen. Mufasa's death is scary but not quite traumatic...until we get to see little Simba crying over his dead body. At length.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Scar and Simba's brief no-holds-barred beatdown, and Mufasa's death as implied (but not shown).
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Mufasa in the cineplex posters. This is a unique case of it pertaining to the events of the story.
  • Follow the Leader: Many concepts, compositions and characters are notoriously similar to that of Osamu Tezuka's Kimba the White Lion. Whenever a member of The Lion King production team speaks on the matter, the claim is usually that they hadn't heard of Kimba. In the case of some individuals working on the film this may even be true, but to assert that no one one the film's huge production team had ever heard of Kimba is iffy at best. This is not helped by the fact that some early production reels depicted Simba as a white lion, and there are several claims of people on staff mistakenly calling the film a remake of Kimba, or calling Simba by that name.
  • Forbidden Fruit: The elephant graveyard.
  • Foreshadowing: At the climax of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" when the tower of animals collapses, it can be interpreted as foreshadowing how Simba's whole self-image is about to come crashing down thanks to Scar's frame-up.
  • For the Cel of It: The wildebeest from the stampede sequence are CGI, but cel-shaded to look like traditional animation.
  • Frame-Up and False Confession: After Scar kills Mufasa, he gets Simba to believe he's responsible, leading to Simba's running away. Simba believes this until the Just Between You and Me moment in the final act, even to the point of confessing himself to his mother and the rest of the pride.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's a famous myth that the dust clouds form the letters SEX for a split second. They actually spell SFX.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Almost nothing Scar says to Simba before or after the stampede is untrue, which has the dual effect of covering his ass and appealing to his twisted sense of humor.

"Simba, it's to die for."
"If it weren't for you, he'd still be alive."
"If it weren't for you, Mufasa would still be alive! Do you deny it?"

"This is probably the most steamy love scene in a Disney film ever!"
"Wooooooooooooooo!"

"Well, the buzz from the bees is that leopards are in a bit of a spot. The baboons are going ape... I told the elephants to forget it, but they can't... Cheetahs never prosper".

    • Also, when the hyenas first meet Simba, they consider eating him, Nala, and Zazu.

Banzai: We could have whatever's... lion around!
Shenzi: Wait wait wait. I got one. Make mine a cub sandwich. (Ed tries to get their attention) WHAT, ED?!
Banzai: Hey, did we order this dinner to go?
Shenzi: No. Why?
Banzai: 'Cause there it goes! (Points to Simba, Nala, and Zazu running like crazy).

    • But oddly enough, nothing about the mane course.
  • The Hyena: Three of them. Ed is the one that fits the trope the most.
  • Hypocrite:

Simba: You don't deserve to live.
Scar: But Simba...I am family.

Shenzi: Ohhhh, that's your son! I didn't know he was your son. Did you, Banzai?
Banzai: No, I had no idea.
Both: Ed?
Ed: (grins and nods excitedly)

Pumbaa: King? Your Majesty! I gravel at your feet. (begins kissing Simba's paw)
Simba: (pulling it away) Stop that!
Timon: It's not gravel, it's grovel.

Zazu: Sire, what is going on?
Mufasa: A pouncing lesson.
Zazu: Ah, very good... pouncing. (Turns back, Beat) (Realizes what he just said) POUNCING?! Oh, no, sire - you can't be serious! Oh, this is so humiliating.

  • Left Hanging: Although an interlude in 'Hakuna Matata' explains why Pumbaa became an outcast, Timon's story was cut from the song for time. This is picked up in The Lion King 1½.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Pumbaa and Rafiki.
  • Life Isn't Fair: Said by Scar in a creepy tone.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Shenzi and Banzai. One moment they ACT like brother and sister, but then they DON'T act like brother and sister. Are they Just Friends? In denial? It's another of the things fans of the film love to argue about.
  • Literal-Minded:

Timon: Gee, he looks blue.
Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold.

  • Lying on a Hillside: Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa while looking at the stars.
  • Malaproper: Pumbaa, occasionally, for example saying "I gravel at your feet" instead of "grovel" and messing up Timon's saying "You've gotta put your past behind you" as "You gotta put your behind in your past". Timon corrects him both times.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Run, Scar. Run away, and NEVER return."
    • "Danger? Ha-ha! I walk on the wild side! I laugh in the face of danger!"
    • The hyenas echo themselves at the end, but with a much darker overtone:

"Ed?"

  • insane laughter*

Pumbaa: Every time that I--!
Timon: Hey Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!

  • Mighty Roar: Used a lot by the lions whenever they are about to do something awesome, though when Simba was a cub, his roar was an anticlimatic meow.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: South American Giant Anteaters and Leaf Cutting Ants; all the other fauna is properly from central Africa. Also a reference to cacti, but considering that the term in question is "cactus butt" it probably just sounds funnier than "thorn butt."
  • Mood Whiplash: Constantly. Perhaps most notably when we go from Mufasa and Simba's funeral and Rafiki crossing out Simba's outline to... bowling for buzzards! (But the comic relief was badly needed after the past few minutes).
  • More Than Mind Control: Timon and Pumbaa unwittingly sway the guilt-ridden Simba away from fulfilling his role in the Circle of Life by convincing him that nothing can be done about his trauma and indoctrinating him into their careless and slovenly "no worries" lifestyle to keep his mind off of the past and his duties. This has as much to do with his misplaced guilt as their influence.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Following the Heroic Resolve above.
  • Natural Spotlight: The king being held to the sky. There aren't even any clouds to justify the light slits.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. There's a Villain Song about murdering the king and a child! And it isn't masked in the slightest. This is no doubt because all characters are animals, and not human beings.

Banzai: Yeah be prepared. For what?
Scar: For the death of the king.
Banzai: Why? Is he sick?
Scar: No fool we're going to kill him. And Simba too.

  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Scar is being challenged by Simba's return, but he gets the pride turn against Simba by making him still believe he caused Mufasa's death. As he drives Simba towards the cliff, he decides to give a Just Between You and Me speech in which he tells him what really happened. This helps Simba shake off his guilt, and gives him his second wind against Scar.
  • Non Indicative Names: The hyena trio.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Scar is killed and within what must be roughly a lion's gestation period the Pridelands have gone from barren and burned back to Ghibli Hills.
  • Not So Harmless: For all his sniveling, Scar is still perfectly able to go toe-to-toe with Simba in the climax. Even more evident in the deleted ending, which is more along the lines of a Curb Stomp Battle in his favor.
    • A bit out of place considering that he groans about getting the brains and none of the brawn in the beginning, but even if he only just lost his psychological advantage to Simba, Mufasa was not around to really show Simba how to defend himself and do much for hunting, so he might not know how to use his brawn as effectively as Mufasa did. Plus, Simba's diet has consisted in bugs for the past how many years?
  • Odd Name Out: On a grand scale. All members of the main cast have African names (except Scar). (Scar's real name is Taka, which means "trash"). The only one to have a more European sounding name is Ed. He also seems to be mentally retarded (either that or completely off his rocker...maybe both), make of that what you will.
    • As mentioned in Bilingual Bonus, Banzai's name is also a Japanese word, though it's possible the writers either didn't know, didn't care, or just decided to Throw It In anyway because most people wouldn't care even if they noticed since the film was set in the African savannah and jungles.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Scar, realizing he's about to be killed by his former mooks.
    • Rather oddly this was shortly after provoking one from them after realising they didn't finish Simba off.
    • Also, said mooks after realizing why calling Pumbaa a pig wasn't the brightest thing to do.
    • Simba, at the start of the stampede. One of the rare examples of Oh Crap not being funny, but a dark kind of awesomeness.
    • And Mufasa, when he realizes his son is in the middle of a wildebeest stampede, as well as he finally realizes how insane, dangerous, and power-hungry his brother is when he kills him.
    • The hyenas when they realized that Mufasa arrived.
    • Before that, after Simba confidently laughs in the face of danger, he gets this reaction after he hears danger (i.e. the hyenas) laugh back.
  • Pain Powered Leap: Banzai the hyena jumps about 30 feet into the air after he is knocked into a bramble thicket by the other hyenas.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: Nearly all the lionesses are lighter compared to the lions, except Sarabi.
  • Perma-Stubble: All male hyenas have dark patches around their muzzles that look remarkably like stubble. It's one of the few things that distinguish them from the females. In The Lion King 1½, there is another female hyena -- you can tell because she has no stubble and a thick tuft of fringe.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Simba yells this at the hyenas when they start picking on Zazu. Turns out, it wasn't a very good idea.

Shenzi: (to Simba) Like...you?
Simba: Oops.

  • Pop Star Composer: Elton John.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Long live the king".
  • Prodigal Hero: The film follows this with Simba, invoking Rightful King Returns since he was royalty before fleeing.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Although they have a grudge against the lions, the hyenas are primarily in this just for the food.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: As Scar is about to throw Mufasa to the stampede, he delivers the line "Long. Live. The king."
    • When he has Simba in a similar situation towards the end of the movie, he whispers "I. Killed. Mufasa."
    • Pumbaa's Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner in response to Banzai calling him a pig. "They! Call! Me! MIS-ter Pig!"
    • Scar again, when Simba has him cornered towards the end of the movie. "But Simba, I... am... family!"
  • Putting on the Reich: The hyenas goose-stepping in grid formations. The animators based the sequence on The Triumph Of The Will. On top of that, Scar's rhetoric is right out of Hitler's mouth:

Scar: I will be king! Stick with me, and you'll NEVER GO HUNGRY AGAIN!!!

Simba: You said you'd always be there for me! But you're not. It's because of me. It's my fault. It's my fault.

  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: The group to take back the Pride Lands: Simba, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and eventually Rafiki.
  • Redemption in the Rain: When Simba climbs Pride Rock at the end, it begins to rain. A clear case of the rain being "purifying" and symbolizing new life, as the sequence includes a gazelle's skull being dislodged and washed away.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • The Resenter: The hyenas, toward the lions. Scar also resents his brother.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: When Simba says "Banana Beak is scared", Zazu says "It's MISTER Banana Beak to you, fuzzy!"
    • Pumbaa does NOT like being called a "pig", and when the hyenas do so towards the end, he says "They call me MISTER PIG!" before kicking their butts.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The elephant graveyard.
  • Rule of Symbolism: There are quite a number of Christian parallels, which is unsurprising considering lions being associated with God and Jesus for centuries. There's Simba's apparent resurrection--Nala says to him "It's like you're back from the dead" and is informed "The King has returned" in a manner rather reminiscent of Mary Magdalene in the garden with the open tomb, and both Scar and Sarabi think he is his father come back from the dead. There's the Fisher King analogy, with Simba's fight with Scar being easily related to Jesus combating Satan after his Second Coming. There's Simba's anointment by Rafiki, his reluctance to do his father's will, and Mufasa's divine image declaring Simba his son and the true king.
  • Running Gag: Simba's complete inability to beat Nala in a fight. It's even given a Continuity Nod in the sequel.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie is packed full of it, especially during "The Circle of Life".
  • Second Coming: Simba returns to the pride he left to despose his uncle Scar as the rightful king.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Several, most famously Timon the meerkat. Most people in the Americas had no idea what a meerkat was before this film was released.
  • Sequel Hook: The birth and presentation of Simba and Nala's cub at the end.
  • Shout-Out: "THEY CALL ME MR. PIG!!!"
  • Sickly Green Glow: The song "Be Prepared".
  • Sidekick Song: "Hakuna Matata".
  • Sketchy Successor: After Mufasa is killed in The Lion King, Scar takes over, and promptly turns the Ghibli Hills savannah into a desolate ruin. The Lion King is, according to Word of God, based off Hamlet.
  • Slasher Smile: One of the hyenas during Scar's final scene, complete with Blank White Eyes.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Animals are anthropomorphised to varying extents. This even varies with animals of the same species -- compare Timon with the meerkats that appear in the opening of "Circle of Life".
  • Something Only They Would Say: A non-verbal example occurs when Simba first encounters Nala as an adult. When she pins him, he realizes her identity.
  • Species-Coded for Your Convenience: Lions are good, hyenas are evil.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is Pumba(a)'s name spelled with one or two A's? Official media uses "Pumbaa".
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:

Simba: When I'm king, what does that make you?
Scar: A monkey's uncle.
...
Nala: No, no, no, it's his uncle.
Timon: The monkey's his uncle?

Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted...
Timon: How did you feel?!
Pumbaa: Every time that I--
Timon: Hey, Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!

Pumbaa: It's our motto!
Simba: What's a motto?
Timon: Nothing, what's a-motto with you?

  • What Song Was This Again?: "Be Prepared" gets changed a lot in foreign language dubs.
  • A World Half Full: An excellent example given how dark some of the film can be. Simba loses his father and is convinced by his uncle that it was his fault. He goes into exile for many years but eventually overcomes his guilt and goes back to depose his uncle and take his place. He ends up triumphing and everything his uncle ruined begins to come back together.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: A talent of Scar's although he ultimately does it a little too much.
  • X Meets Y: The movie was called during production, and is still sometimes called 'Bambi meets Hamlet with Lions in Africa' (or alternatively, 'Bambi meets Hamlet meets Kimba').
  • You Killed My Father: "Murderer!"

Simba's Pride[edit | hide]

Zira: This is for you, Scar!

  • Artistic License: Biology: During "Upendi", Rafiki gives Kiara a passionfruit (and tries to give one to Kovu), which she swallows happily. In Real Life lions are carnivores, and cannot digest fruits.
  • Avenging the Villain: Zira's goal.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Justified, since the Outlanders are only skinny and sunken-eyed from not getting enough to eat. After being accepted into Simba's pride, they're shown with the same build as the Pridelands' lionesses.
  • Best Served Cold: Zira's attitude towards revenge.

Zira: It's over, Simba! I have dreamed of nothing else for years!
Timon: Boy, does SHE need a hobby...

  • Bilingual Bonus: Like the original Lion King, there's quite a bit of Swahili. Kovu means "scar". Zira is the verb radical of hate. Vitani is similar to Shetani, meaning Devil. Kiara means "princess" in Swahili. Upendi means love (noun form).
  • Call Back: During one of Kiara and Kovu's romantic moments, Kovu licks Kiara in a very similar manner to the way Nala did to Simba in the first movie. Before that, Nala pins down Simba in a way that recalls their childhood.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Kiara tries to do this several times to her Overprotective Dad, but it never seems to take until Simba banishes Kovu, resulting in "You will never be Mufasa!" Also, Kovu kind of calls the old lady out:

Zira: You betrayed your pride! Betrayed Scar!
Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!

Now, the past I've tried forgetting
And my foes I could forgive.
Trouble is, I know it's petty,
but I hate to let them live!

I've been exiled, persecuted, left alone with no defense.
When I think of what that brute did, I get a little tense.
(Assume "that brute" refers to Simba).

Kovu: (to Kiara) Let's get out of here. We'll run away together! (wiggles his backside with a seductive voice) And start a pride all our own. (emphasis his)

  • Parental Hypocrisy: Simba is very over-protective of Kiara. At one point, Nala points out to Simba that Kiara's just like they were when they were cubs, and Simba explains that this is what worries him.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Kovu gets a scar across his eye from his abusive mother Zira, while she blames him for Nuka's death.
  • The Power of Love: "Love Will Find A Way".
  • Retcon: A tie-in book cast Simba's and Nala's cub as a male named Kopa.
    • Some Fanon theories try to correct this by having Kopa have died somehow, some of which cast this as the reason Zira was exiled...
  • Save the Villain: After attempting to attack Simba, Zira is tackled by Kiara and the two are sent tumbling off the cliff. In a very familiar TLK fashion, Zira is left clinging for her life and risks falling into the raging river below to her death. Kiara attempts to save her ("Zira... give me your paw!"), but she meets her watery fate regardless.
  • Shamed by a Mob: When Kovu is mistakenly believed to have been part of the plot to attempt to kill Simba, and a huge crowd is singing about their hatred for him.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God says this film is Romeo and Juliet + The Manchurian Candidate.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Kovu mentions this in a line.
  • Suicide Is Painless: What Zira's death might have been before the directors decided to cut part of her death from the final version. The cut scene features Kiara reaching out to save Zira... only to have Zira look back at Kiara with the most frightening smile of the movie and whisper "No... nev-er." just before intentionally letting go of the ledge. The directors evidently thought this was just a bit too dark for a movie who's plot is driven mostly by Zira's obsession with revenge.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Kovu and Kiara at the climax of the story.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Obviously, as this was based on Romeo and Juliet.
  • Take My Hand: "Give me your paw!"
  • Taking the Bullet: Kiara intercepting Zira's attack on Simba.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The song "One of Us" includes "...But do not forget what we cannot forgive" as some of the lyrics to it.
  • Villain Song: "My Lullaby". Written by Joss Whedon!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sarabi's voice actress died before the sequel was made, so they just left Sarabi to a cameo as a background lioness with no lines.
  • What Would Mufasa Do?


The Lion King 1 ½[edit | hide]

  • Ambiguously Gay: Maybe even dropping the "ambiguous" part. A lot of the movie, especially regarding Timon's relationship with his family, seems to play this up as straight as possible, with little gems like this scene. Also, a mushy scene of Timon and Pumbaa staring into one another's eyes causes Timon, in the "audience", to start crying to the point where the movie has to be "paused" for him to recover. A later scene even has them accidentally sharing a Spaghetti Kiss while eating an earthworm.
  • Balloon Belly: Timon and Simba at the end of the bug eating contest.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "It's hard to think with all this music!"
  • Comically Missing the Point: Timon takes Rafiki's advice to "look beyond what you see" a little too literally.
  • Continuity Nod: Doubling as a Funny Moments and (as usual for him) a bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, this moment when Timon is talking to cub Simba after he keeps waking up in the middle of the night to go across the log from the first movie.

Timon: We're gonna get old walking across this thing.

Shenzi: Ooh, that breaks so many laws of nature!


Stage Musical[edit | hide]

Scar: I need to buck up.
Zazu: You've already bucked up royally!

  • Spikes of Villainy: Scar's costume.
  • Villain Love Song: "The Madness of King Scar" starts as a Villainous Breakdown and ends as this when Nala enters the scene.
  • Visible Invisibility: The puppet operators are always visible -- most notably, Timon's actor is bright green, and Zazu is a small puppet riding on the actor's head -- and yet you can easily focus on the puppets rather than the actors.
    • This also applies to many stage mechanics and devices that, in most musicals, are kept hidden; this was highly intentional, to produce an effect where imagination filled the scene in.

Notes

  1. Here comes a lion, Father.
  2. Oh yes, it's a lion.