As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.
*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.*
This month’s installment includes my head-scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s most famous tale The Lion King.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I was not and still am not in love with The Lion King. I don’t know what it is, but I mean it’s definitely a favorite, but not one of my all-timers. Anyhow, there were many observations to be made about this movie — some of which came to me after taking Shakespeare and through conversations with friends.
For one, is it me, or is this movie vaguely reminiscent of that old tale of Sir William Shakespeare that we call Hamlet? The whole brother-killing-brother, taking-over-kingdom-under-prince’s-nose thing… very similar!
**For those of you who don’t know, Hamlet was about…well Hamlet’s father, the King, was found dead and is usurped by Hamlet’s uncle, the King’s brother. His uncle, Claudius, marries Hamlet’s mother and then pretends to be “worried” about Hamlet, though we find out he was scheming to knock him off in the end. Now, are you seeing the similarities? OH and there’s also the part of Hamlet becoming emotionally distant to the girl he’s supposed to marry (like how Simba pushes Nala away). OH yeah — a ghost of a dead daddy (like Mufasa’s sky ghost talking to Simba) appears to Hamlet at some point**
Also, let’s face it: if Scar was the King, he HAD to be tapping Mufasa’s wife. *Raises brow* He is the leader of the pride. Which yields another question…
If Mufasa was the leader of the pride, and Scar was the only other male lion there, then who is Nala’s daddy? A friend of mine told me that she was watching a documentary on lions and that basically, the pride leader is the one boinking all the females and IF a female had a cub from another lion, pride leader would kill it. Since Nala’s not dead, does that mean she’s (dum Dum DUM!) Mufasa’s DAUGHTER!? That would mean (dum dum Dum Dum DUMMMM!) Nala and Simba are half-siblings!
WOW, that’s some real red-neck ish right there. Can you feel that love tonight? hahaha (bad joke).
And while we’re on the subject of that song, was that scene really appropriate? I laugh now, because as a child it was like “Awww, they’re playing,” but NOW it’s like damn… they really cued in on Nala giving him those bedroom eyes after “ramping and tumbling” on the “bed of leaves” in the jungle and licking him in the face, lying on her back. Suggestive much? LOL! I can imagine the number of little kids who did that crap in school after seeing that movie and getting in trouble. Then again, maybe not. We were more innocent in the early ’90s. Not like the slorebags kids are these days, BUT I digress.
Also, not to be a jerk about it, but I spoke of how Aladdin had a lack of regional accents in the film and so I will talk about it here. Um… they’re in Africa (or at least that is what I assumed). Like why isn’t James Earl Jones donning his almighty powerful almost God-like voice reminiscent of his days of King of Zemunda? And how does Jeremy Irons come along with a strong British accent playing his brother? Then we have that personal assistant Zazu played by Mr. Bean with his Brit voice while everyone else is seemingly American. We also have hyenas with Latino accents and the baboon with some Afro-caribbean-esque sound to him. I just don’t get it. I understand the idea of diversifying the characters, but keep it regional, you know?
And let’s keep it 100 — as much as I love the idea of a singing lion chillin’ with a worthog & meerkat in the jungle, we ALL know that Pumba and Timon should’ve been food for Simba. It’s just nature. It’s the freaking “Circle of Life” Mufasa was talking about. And really, what are a worthog & meerkat doing living off alone in the jungle by themselves without females around or female urges? That’s pretty unnatural and you know what other things people call “unnatural”…
And is it me, but I STILL don’t get how people didn’t just gang up on Scar and chop his ass? I mean they were running out of food, he was a terrible leader, and I’m pretty sure the hyenas might not have cared if he was knocked off a cliff. ESPECIALLY, since it can be implied that since the death of Mufasa, Scar was getting it in with all the ladies of the pride, including Simba’s mom (SAY WORD). And you could tell she wasn’t the type to want to give him any of her regal, queenly goodies.
Another weird thing: some online ladies’ blog mentioned Scar’s control of those hyenas was almost Nazi-Germany. Just check the way they were marching and lined up in the ‘Be Prepared’ number. Like, they were hailing Hitler forreal, forreal. No bueno and bizarro. This is a kids’ film, y’all.
But let’s not dally too long, and jump right into the thematic lessons that we should’ve learned from this movie:
Theme One: Younger Brothers Always Get the Sh*t Stick
Let’s face it, it’s history. If you were born into a wealthy family, and you were the eldest male, you were expected to follow in your father’s footsteps, while everyone else under you basically had to fend for themselves. This was the inevitable truth that Scar had to endure. After his brother’s “untimely” death, he still had to scare the sh*t out of his nephew to get the throne. If he was smart, however, he would’ve served as proxy King until Simba was of age, and then modeled the little boy in his image. BUT, you can’t be that smart when you’re a villain. It would make life way too simple.
Theme Two: Cheaters Never Prosper
A staple in every good Disney flick. Scar dies from his cheating and conniving ways. Not only does he inherit a prosperous kingdom that he runs to the ground, it seemed as though mother nature didn’t want him to take charge because the sky got all dark and murky and animals stopped mating ’cause they ran out of food and shiz. That totally gives new meaning to “God don’t like ugly.”
Theme Three: Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You
Poor, stupid Scar. I understand that he felt that he was smarter than his hyena minions, but really dude? He was a straight-up punk and when Simba was about to tear that ass UP, he blames the HYENAS for Mufasa’s death and destruction. The same flock of sheep that he was controlling. NEVER pass the buck, my friends. Otherwise, it’ll take a bite out of your ass and in Scar’s case — literally.
Theme Four: Elton John Music Makes EVERYTHING BETTER
Now, I’m going to take a little time to seriously acknowledge that beautiful queer queen we call Mr. Elton John because this movie could’ve been just another Disney flick if it wasn’t for his skillfully-crafted and timed musica! I mean, anytime you hear “It’s the CIRCLE of LIFE,” you can’t help but think of baby Simba being lifted into the air (the way many expected Blue Ivy Carter would be introduced to the world). And “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” is like the smoothest child-friendly bedroom song. As I said earlier, we knew what Simba was doing — it was “allegedly” spelled out in the stars that night “C.E.X.” (smh, those silly nuns). But seriously, who didn’t love that soundtrack? If you didn’t, then go choke yourself.
Theme Five: You Can Run Away From Responsibility For So Long
One of the GREATEST themes that could ever be expressed in a film; the idea that one can not run away from his or her responsibility. I almost want to sit down dozens of baby-daddies across the nation, have them watch the film and say “Hey, it always comes back to you in the end.” Yes, Simba was scared. Yes, Simba thought he was responsible for his daddy’s death. Yes, he ran away and hid in the jungle with some questionable animals (I mean, two males living together away from their respective civilizations. Think about it). But at the end of the day, when Nala scoped his ass and told him to come back, Simba was all “No Nala, this is my life now.” But what happened? He came back! It may have taken some years, BUT he came back and took his place as the man in charge. If only these punked-out baby daddies would get the damn point. Think you escaping your fatherly duties now? HA! Wait, that kid WILL find you and you will have to own up then.
Theme Six: Listen To The Caribbean-Sounding Wise Men
There was a Caribbean crab in The Little Mermaid, that told Ariel “Don’t go to the Sea Witch.” Then there was the Caribbean kung-fu baboon Rafiki who threw a little wisdom at Simba and it clocked in his head for him to go back home and see what the hell was going on. For some reason, it seems like these older-sounding Caribbean-accented characters know what they talking about. And coming from a Caribbean family myself, they always tend to have some ‘ol’ people say’ lessons. So, maybe the next time you engage an older Caribbean man and you’re not sure what to do, you can ask him. I’m sure he’ll give you a little push in the right direction. If he’s not a perverted old coot, that is.
Theme Seven: Followers Need Not Follow
Look where it got the dumb hyenas. Do you want to be a dumb hyena? Under the rule of ONE lion with a cut on his face? It’s crazy how they didn’t think that there was power in numbers and they basically ran things because of their man power. If you’re not a follower, you’ll have time to think and become a leader. So, do we want to be followers? I didn’t think so.
Theme Eight: Vegetarians May Have It Right
If you consider that Simba (a meat-eater by nature) survived on bugs and berries and shiz in the forest all that time, maybe these veggie people may have a point on eating less meat. I mean, he was strapping and handsome. He was able to tear people to shreds and beat his uncle AND he grew an appreciation for other living creatures. And if you think about it, he probably spread that knowledge to the rest of the pack BECAUSE if you figure Scar had the lionesses kill every piece of living meat in the savannah, they had to go without meat for quite some time until the ‘CIRCLE’ came full circle and animals could breed and make food again. Think about: maybe if more of us went without the meat, we can help the “Circle of Life” in our world! *Cue music* NAAAAA ZEEE PENYA BABA BEE SHE BABA OOOO BENYA BENYAAA…
Theme Nine: All Families Are Dysfunctional
I mean, the biggest theme was the lesson that not all families are perfect. In some families, there’s the sibling who’s considered the more responsible, and the one that’s more irrational and thus is given less responsibility. Sometimes members of families fight and bicker and throw one another off cliffs and others steal spouses whether members are alive or in the grave. Sometimes nephews kill uncles. And sometimes half-brothers and sisters mate and make royal babies. But that’s not to say that there isn’t love there. Love and respect one another and treat the other with dignity. Because you never know who’s going to come back and kill you.