DTV Wonders: The Lion King II Simba’s Pride

I have reviewed the entire The Land Before Time franchise.  I loved it, and it is an example of DTV being great, but Disney also did plenty of DTV films.  I am not going in order this time, and it would be way harder for me to find them all.  I know that the two companies have rivalries over who made better DTV sequels, so I will compare them.  Surprisingly I can find very little behind the scenes information on the creative team.

I know I watched this film a few times just for The Animal Kingdom commercial.  It has great animals and a dinosaur.  Oddly it then has a commercial for the soundtrack, and I do not like seeing the animated characters’ actors.  I think it really harms the illusion.  It also has a horrible commercial for Lion King on Broadway.  It has a Disney channel actor getting all the spotlight instead of Simba, and she keeps saying even adults will “like” it.  So they will only tolerate it, and animation is only for kids according to Disney.  Still that one commercial was awesome and made it worth it.

This film has a large hatedom, and a fandom.  The negative is its fandom seems to hate all DTV films and say this is the least bad, which is a horrible sign.  The first song is… Ugh.  The whole introduction is full of them wasting time with needless references to the original, but that does not really harm a  film much unless it spends more time on referencing than its own plot like this does.  The opening song is very similar to “The Circle of Life,” only notably worse.  The animation is just like the original only notably worse and an ugly version, which is something I have never thought about The Land Befor Time sequels. At least the lyrics are okay.   Even worse Timon and Pumba are in a painfully long joke about thinking the new cub, Kiara, is a boy instead of a girl.  he humor of the original is not going to make it.

 

The poor designs did only distract me for the first 15ish minutes at least.  Kiara is trying to leave, Simba promises to let her have fun by himself, but he secretly appoints a watcher.  Will he pick Zazu, Rfikki?  No he picks the least stealthy animals possible, Timon and Pumba.  Picking help is arguably the most important part of being king, and he is failing.  They watch her through over the top non funny slapstick with no one in the audience laughing.  This really hurts the dark mood that is supposed to be forming.  Kiara finds them obviously, and lots of scenes from the original are referenced.  Kiara is at most shown to not like being a princess.  So our new character getting all the focus is the character who does not want her job, et she does not support making The Lion Republic.  After Timon and Pumba forget to keep watching her…

Missed opportunity alert.  Timon and Pumba were useless for this scene and not necessary.  Why not make no one follow her, she gets into trouble as we see later, and that makes Simba over protective.  It would make this faster paced and Simba would be more likable.

She eventually leaves the pridelands chasing a butterfly and finds Kovu.  He is an outsider.  Apparently Kiara is interested in them having more fun lives with less rules, but that will be horribly contradicted later.  They accidently run into some crocodiles, and I really enjoy this early action scene.  The pacing is very good.  I enjoy seeing both Kiara and Kovu saving the other.  After that their parents arrive.  Kovu’s mom is Zira, and outsider exiled from the pridelands and…

They were loyal followers to Scar.  I thought he had a 0% approval rating.  Why did he not get lions who would follow him instead of the weaker hyenas.  Their numbers are shown to be huge despite their recent poor living conditions, so they should have with the hyenas help won the last film easily.  The only good explanation is they were all away hunting, but I have trouble believing all left due to stealth.  It makes n sense in a logical world, but in a filmmaking world this is good besides that.  She is however a much better orator than Simba.  It has earlier been established that pridelanders and outsiders hate each other and never turn their backs towards each other, but they all turn their backs to each other.  I do not like the beginning at all, but if someone were to like Kiara I think they would like it.

Simba takes Kiara back.  He says that she must be queen (or democracy), and that not being queen is the same as not being a lion.  Does that mean every lion who is not royalty does not have the title of lion?  He sings to her “We are One.”  I like most of the lyrics, but the chorus is annoying.  To make it worse both actors are more focused on sounding pretty instead of making emotion.  The meaning of it is.. he never says what it means, and the meaning in the end is not good.

Kovu and Zira arrive back with the rest of the Outsiders.  Kovu’s siblings I presume are Vitana and… I do not know his name.  When I watched it as a younger viewer I had no idea what his name was until I discovered Wikipedia.  Idiot lion exists for jokes about him being covered in termites, give moderate slapstick, and whine about Kovu being the chosen one. Basically he is a comedic villain.  Vitani is actually competent.  To highlight their clear love for fun she immediately plays with Kovu.  Zira blames comic relief, but Kovu takes the blame.  Being a surprise mastermind that he is Zira goes over possible results of being friends with Kiara and slowly realizes that it could make him closer to Simba, and then he could kill him.  Our villains are definitely more interesting already then our heroes.  Apparently Kovu was the kid of a rogue lion and Scar chose him as his successor.  I thought the head lion killed all the cubs from other males meaning all the young outsiders should be his kids.  Apparently they act nothing like real lions, which is understandable.   The villain song has a horrible name, “My Lullaby,” t the lyrics are good, the callbacks to “Be Prepared” show a contrast and are till good on its own merits.  Comic Relief Villain’s  comedy is still not good, but other than that the song is good.

Despite advertising the main characters as cubs they are already early full grown.  I would prefer that they met as teenagers.  Kiara gets to go hunting, but Simba still sends the unstealthy Timon and Pumba after her right after promising he would not.  I finally found what I think makes some people like or hate this movie.  Some people would like Simba no matter what thanks to the original.   Simba is horribly unlikable in this movie, but some viewers like him in it because of how likable he was in the original.  Other fans are like me, we hate Simba so much here that we also cannot like him in the original.  For us this film does the worst thing a sequel can do, make the original worse.

She is shown to be really bad a t hunting and catches Timon and Pumba making her really mad at Simba.  To make it worse Timon once says she has caught them watching her for her dad “8,000 times.”  Kiara is so mad she leaves the pridelands.  In the meantime for Zira’s plan Vitani and Comic Relief Villain set the savannah on fire.  Well Comic Relief Lion puts the fire around him and leaps out twenty feet into the air.  As the plan Kiara falls unconscious (so many things that could go wrong here like here dying and Simba blaming them and going on revenge), and Kovu saves her.  Kiara recognizes him and Zazu, Nala, and Simba show up.  The resulting political debate is something like this, Simba wants to kill the Outsider.  Kovu insists he is actually a rogue and wants to join the pride.  Kiara and Kovu point out he is the rescuer.  Zazu supports them, but then wants him dead.  Zazu si very confusing.  Simba relents.  He does make Kovu stay outside to hate him more instead of setting up a night watch.

The following dream sequence is really bad.  Instead of making new emotional challenges they reuse Mufassa’s death.  Paying James Earl Jones to come back with a limited budget is horrible money management.  They should have had a dream about Kiara dying a similar way to Mufassa to keep the plot of this movie going and be more stand alone.

Kovu helps teach Kiara how to touch as she somehow cannot see he is getting ready to pounce on her dad.  Both Simba and Kiara need to work on awareness.  The next scene shows the Outsiders do not know what fun is and…  It has been shown the whole film they are better at being fun.  It turns out they do not even know how to roar.  To make it worse Rafiki gives us a horrible song with terrible lyrics, and it portrays love as nothing but heart imagery.  Simba decides it is time to start trusting Kovu thanks to Nala.  It is glossed over in the film too.

Simba and Kovu go to talk.  Simba shows him the fire and says how destruction can be good in the next generation, and he shows him a sapling coming up.  It is a good scene, but the Outsiders surprise them both.  Um?  They do know they are at the borders anyway where enemies are?  Why did he go that far with no reliable help.  Simba really stinks at border management.  Zira lies giving Kovu credit and Simba assumes everything his confirmed enemy says is true.  Did I mention how much this movie makes me hate Simba.  It is heavily implied that male lions are very dominant in fights later.

Well thanks to that the Outsiders have trouble controlling Simba as Kovu is somehow out 3 seconds in.  This male domination makes Comic Relief even more pitiful, but that is what comic relief villains do.  Wait what?  He is one coming closest to killing Simba.  Maybe if he was made out to be a bumbling but very skilled fighter this would be intimidating, but certainly am not intimidated.  To my surprise he dies and Vitani reveals his name is “Nuka.”  You will not be missed bad Tybalt/Mercutio stand in.  Apparently his whole family misses him.  If he was not such poor comic relief, had some redeeming traits, or supported a side that was not simply bloodthirsty this would be sad.  The death mourning is instead overly long.  Zira blames Kovu for doing nothing and gives him a scar like Scar’s scar. She is shocked as if no ne else got scratched near the eye.  Kovu flees to priderock.  Simba exiles him because clearly his arch enemy was not lying.  What do you think he did?  He did not assault you.  He did not lead you to the Outsiders, in fact you lead him to the Outsiders.  If Kovu was somehow leading what were you doing following someone with suspect loyalty to where you had no allies and lots and lots of enemies?  We the get a song from what characters?   How about nameless ones?

       Kiara receives the blame from Simba and banishes her to inside Pride Rock.  Did I mention how much a Lion Republic is needed.  Also Timon and Pumba are still assigned to watch her.  She attacks Simba by saying “You will never be Mufassa.”  Considering it is terrible advise to be exactly like anyone great since every person is different the film is giving us the horrible advice to be someone else instead of the best you, you can be.  She finds a hole to escape out of and leaves.  It leads to he final song, “Love Will Find a Way.”  It is the best song in the film.  It is sung well with emotions.  It ahs some actual discovery, Kovu using the only remotely smart stuff Simba taught him, and it is about the only likable characters in the film.  Kovu wants them to run away together.  I support this.  Kiara says they must help the two prides.  I guess that could work, but between all the nearby animals who clearly do not want the Scar supporters back no way could they go to war.

It turns out Zira got the outsiders to go to war.  Why they did not do this before Kovu jumped ship or years ago, but at least we are promised good action.  Zira would be a good one dimensional villain except this Romeo and Juliet story requires both groups being in the worng, yet they should be likable.  Here both groups are in the wrong and are overly unlikable.

The Outsiders come.  The Pridelanders come.  The naimals tat can fight lions do not come.  I guess they do not car if Simba or Zira rule them despite the elephants and rhinos being in no real danger.  Apparently Scar’s disapproval rating was shockingly low.  The main fight is… Very confusing ad slow.  I cannot tell who is who.  Timon and Pumba have hijinks I never understood until I was 13.  Kiara and Kovu come to break it up.  Kiara gets them to stop fighting by saying “They are us.  What differences do you see?”  So if you look like someone you are them?

According to Kiara they are the same
According to Kiara Charlie Chaplin is Adolf Hitler

 

Congratulations Kovu, you no longer have competition for best character here.  Somehow it makes all of the Outsiders decide to join the Prideleanders except Zira.

 

After that Zira leaps to knock Simba into a raging river. Kiara gets in the way, and they both go down.  Kiara got to do the speech; therefore, they let Kovu jumps down to save his lionness friend and mother.  No, he just sits there and looks worried.

Remember first film all Simba wet through?  His dad died, he saw his mother get beaten, he was kicked out of home.  Here is wore than useless, and he now has a much bigger pride.  He probably has a bigger ego too.  I hate this movie.  It has mostly poor songs.  No characters end it likable.  It has a story that requires a grey and grey morality with white morality heroes, yet it accidently gives black vs black.  The climax is bad.  The animation never looks better than average.  Nuka is perhaps the worst villain ever, and their version of Simba is just awful.

In comparison to The Land Before Time this has a better climax than 13, and if it was not a sequel it would probably be better, but it fails so horribly as a sequel due to making the first one worse.  It is worse than 13.  Its best song is no where near as good as the twentieth best song in Universal’s flagship DTV series.  I plan on never watching this film again.  At least it had a great commercial.

 

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