The Lion King 1½
|The Lion King 1½|
|Directed by||Bradley Raymond|
|Produced by||George A. Mendoza|
|Screenplay by||Tom Rogers|
|Story by||Roger Allers
|Music by||Don Harper|
|Edited by||Joyce Arrastia|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Entertainment|
|Running time||77 minutes|
The Lion King 1½ is a 2004 direct-to-video animated film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and DisneyToon Studios and released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment on February 10, 2004. The film was also theatrically released internationally and in selected cities in the United States. It is the third and final installment in the Lion King trilogy. The DVD went to the Disney Vault in January 2004. The film follows characters Timon and Pumbaa and their involvement surrounding the original film, The Lion King.
The original cast returns to re-voice their parts, save for a few exceptions: Rowan Atkinson (the original voice of Zazu) was again replaced by Edward Hibbert; Jonathan Taylor Thomas (originally Young Simba) is replaced by Matt Weinberg; and James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons (Mufasa and Scar respectively) did not reprise their roles.
The Lion King 1½ was released on Blu-ray in The Lion King trilogy box set on October 4, 2011, and was released for individual sale on March 6, 2012 alongside The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. The Blu-ray and DVD releases, along with the previous sequel and the Diamond Edition release of the first film, went into moratorium on April 30, 2013.
The film is told through the perspective of Timon and Pumbaa through the literary device known as a frame story. The two are shown watching the original film, The Lion King, being shown in silhouette commenting on the movie being shown before them, in a style nearly identical to that of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
They quickly stop the film and rewind it so they can show their side of the story, occasionally stopping the footage to talk with one another. Timon shows Pumbaa the meerkat's backstory, revealing him to be an outcast in his colony on the outskirts of the Pridelands. While supported by his mother Ma, Timon (who unable to fit in with the others) wished for more in life and left the colony after the meerkats and Uncle Max are nearly eaten by hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. He meets the mandrill Rafiki who advises him to find his place in the world via Hakuna Matata and to "look beyond what you see". After observing Pride Rock in the distance and deciding to venture there, Timon wanders into some long grass and meets Pumbaa for the first time, both becoming friends very quickly.
The pair arrive at Pride Rock during Simba's presentation to the Pridelands' animals. However, Pumbaa informs Timon that he gets anxious in crowds and passes gas explosively that knocks some of the animals out, making the rest of them kneel. Timon (who doesn't mind this) realises this is Pumbaa's "special power" that makes him drive animals away, which they had briefly mentioned upon first meeting. Timon and Pumbaa then look for several other places to live, intersecting with important events in the film. They are eventually caught in the wildebeest stampede that takes the life of Mufasa, but survive after falling down a large waterfall and find a vast jungle which they decide to make their home. Timon then learns of Pumbaa's own philosophy of Hakuna Matata, embracing it to his fullest. However, one day the two find Simba and raise him as their own despite the negative effects of Hakuna Matata.
Years on, Nala appears after chasing Pumbaa and reunites with Simba. Timon and Pumbaa attempt to prevent the two lions from getting together, but ultimately fail in their plan. They then spot Simba running away after his off-screen argument with Nala, and Timon celebrates, with Pumbaa feeling guilty. Later, Nala appears explaining to the two of them where Simba has gone, after Rafiki had explained he had run off to challenge Scar. After Nala goes to follow Simba, Pumbaa argues with Timon, who is angry that Simba had left them and selfishly declares he has everything he wanted in the jungle, but when Pumbaa leaves, loneliness starts to overcome him. Rafiki appears to Timon but the meerkat prevents him from talking and whilst pretending to have a conversation between himself and the mandrill who he mimics, Timon realises his Hakuna Matata is not a home but friendship, prompting him to go after his friends.
Timon reconciles with Pumbaa and they forgive each other, before then journeying on to Pride Rock. After helping Simba and Nala, Timon and Pumbaa evade the hyenas and run into Ma and Uncle Max who came looking for Timon (after Ma met Rafiki earlier in the film). Wanting to help Simba, Timon proposes that they get rid of the hyenas by using tunnels. Whilst Simba fights Scar, Ma and Uncle Max construct a series of tunnels beneath them, and Timon and Pumbaa use various tactics to distract the hyenas. When the tunnels are finished, Max quickly knocks down the sticks keeping them from caving in; however, the last few get stuck and the plan fails. Cornered once again by the hyenas, Timon dives underground and whilst the hyenas approach Ma, Uncle Max and Pumbaa, he quickly hurries and breaks the remaining sticks, saving his family and Pride Rock. Immediately afterwards, Scar is thrown off of Pride Rock by Simba and falls into the same location as the hyenas, who kill him for betraying them. Simba accepts his place as king of the Pride Lands, thanking Timon and Pumbaa for helping him. Timon takes Ma, Uncle Max and the meerkat colony to live in the jungle, realizing his true Hakuna Matata is family. The meerkats and Pumbaa celebrate with Simba, praising Timon as their hero for finding them a safe, beautiful haven and forever ridding them of the hyenas. In the final scene of the film, Ma, Uncle Max, Simba, Rafiki and many other silhouetted Disney characters (who don't belong in the movie) join Timon and Pumbaa to re-watch the film in the cinema. Pumbaa then informs Timon he still grows anxious in crowds, ending the film.
- Nathan Lane as Timon, a meerkat who is Pumbaa's best friend. Though somewhat self-centered, selfish, and distracted, Timon shows strong loyalty towards his friends. Lianne Hughes and Alexs Stadermann served as the supervising animators for Timon.
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, a warthog who is Timon's best friend. Though slow-witted, he is very empathic and ready to trust and befriend anyone. He is also claustrophobic and passes gas in crowds. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Pumbaa.
- Julie Kavner as Ma, Timon's supportive mother. She is quite protective and attached to her son, often trying to get him accepted amongst the colony, but never succeeding. Lianne Hughes served as the supervising animator for Ma.
- Jerry Stiller as Uncle Max, Timon's paranoid, eccentric but well-meaning uncle. He initially doubts Timon's ability, but warms up to him at the film's climax. Lianne Hughes served as the supervising animator for Max.
- Matthew Broderick as Simba, Mufasa and Sarabi's son, Scar's nephew, Nala's husband and the current King of the Pride Lands. Matt Weinberg voices Simba as a cub. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Simba.
- Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, a mandrill who teaches Timon return Hakuna Matata, and gives him faith in himself to do what he dreams of doing. Alexs Stadermann served as the supervising animator for Rafiki.
- Moira Kelly as Nala, Simba's childhood friend and eventual wife. Most of her dialogue is archived from the original film. She only has one scene with newly recorded dialogue.
- Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings as Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, a trio of hyenas who act as the local predators of Timon's meerkat colony before their allegiance with Scar. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for the hyenas.
- Edward Hibbert as Zazu, a hornbill and the loyal adviser of The Lion King.
- Scar (cameo)
- Jason Rudofsky as Iron Joe, a meerkat who served as the colony's sentry before Timon took over his post.
- Additional voices are provided by Tony Anselmo, Jeff Bennett, Corey Burton, Cam Clarke, Bill Farmer, Shaun Fleming, Carolyn Gardner, Bob Joles, Tress MacNeille, Alex Manugian, Del Roy, Chris Sanders, Kevin Schon, Blayne Weaver and Andrea Wolfson.
In April 2000, it was announced that the Walt Disney Company selected Jeff Ahlholm, Colin Goldman, and Tom Rogers to write the script for The Lion King 3. It was scheduled to arrive in video stores sometime in 2001. In May 2003, it was announced The Lion King 1½ will be scheduled for home video release in early spring 2004 with Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, and Matthew Broderick reprising their original roles, and Elton John and Tim Rice returning to compose a new song, "Meerkat Rhapsody".
Upon its initial home video release, The Lion King 1½ was accompanied by with a marketing campaign tie-in with McDonald's with six Happy Meal toys including Simba, Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa, Mufasa and Ed.
In May 2003, the DVD edition was confirmed to include music videos, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes views of how the movie was made, and two featurettes: Timon -- The Early Years; a mockumentary tracing Timon's childhood through tongue-in-cheek interviews with family and friends; and Disney's Funniest Moments, highlighting Disney animated characters from the Seven Dwarfs to Brother Bear. Two games also will be including a virtual safari backlot tour through the Pride Lands and a Lion King trivia game in the format of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. In February 2004, more than 3 million copies of its VHS and DVD units were sold in its first days. That same month, Variety reported the film sold about 2.5 million out of 3.1 million DVD copies before its first weekend generating about $55 million in its first three days of release. A DVD boxed set of the three Lion King films (in two-disc Special Edition formats) was released on December 6, 2004. In January 2005, the film, along with the sequels, went back into moratorium.
The Lion King 1½ was first released on Blu-ray in a eight-disc box set trilogy set on October 4, 2011. It received its separate Blu-ray release on March 6, 2012, just like The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. It was produced in two different packages, a 2-disc version with Blu-ray and DVD, and a DVD edition. The release has also been attached with a new Timon & Pumbaa short, in which they gaze at the night sky as the star constellations resemble their favorite meal: Insects.
Frank Lovece of TV Guide gave the film 3½ stars out of 4 stating that "This retelling of THE LION KING (1994) from the point of view of comic sidekicks Timon (voice of Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) is one of the rare Disney direct-to-video sequels worthy of the original." He went on to say that 'the only aspect of the film that feels forced is the revisionist positioning of Timon as young Simba's step-dad, which has no emotional echo in the first film. The quality of the animation is surprisingly impressive; some static backgrounds are the primary concession to a small-screen budget and the fluid character movements and expressions are vastly superior to those of, say, the Timon and Pumbaa TV cartoon series.'" Joe Leydon of Variety gave the film a positive review writing "toddlers and preschoolers will be equally enchanted and amused by colorful toon shenanigans." Los Angeles Times article writer Susan King wrote that "Because Disney's made-for-video sequels to their classic animated films have been mediocre at best, expectations for this new sequel to the mouse house's 1994 blockbuster were slim. But thanks to a clever story line, snappy dialogue that kids and adults will enjoy, a couple of decent new songs and the return of the original voice actors, "Lion King 1 1/2" is an irreverent gas."
Reviewers suggested that it was somewhat influenced by the Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, in which the titular characters are seen in every major event of Hamlet. 
The film soundtrack, The Lion King 1½: Songs From Timon and Pumbaa's Hilarious Adventure, was released to CD by Disney Records on February 10, 2004. It includes two songs from the original film, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Hakuna Matata", re-performed by Nathan Lane who voiced the character Timon. The rest of the soundtrack includes various R&B tracks, including remakes of the Kool and the Gang classic "Jungle Boogie" by The French, and two instrumental pieces from film composer Don Harper. It features Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock's "Sunrise, Sunset" from "Fiddler on the Roof". Ennio Morricone was the original composer of "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly".
- "Nants Ingonyama"
- "Grazing In The Grass" (Raven-Symoné)
- "Digga Tunnah Dance" (Lebo M and Vinx)
- "That's All I Need" (Nathan Lane) (based on unused song from original film called "Warthog Rhapsody")
- "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" (Aaron Carter)
- "Hakuna Matata" (Nathan Lane, and Ernie Sabella)
- "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (Lebo M)
- "Jungle Boogie"
- "Timon's Traveling Theme"
- "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" Theme
- "Sunrise, Sunset" (from "Fiddler on the Roof")
- "Peter Gunn" Theme
- "Digga Tunnah Dance (reprise)" (Lebo M and Vinx)
- "The Big Wrap-Up Theme"
- 2005 Annie Award for
- "Best Home Entertainment Production" (Won)
- "Music in an Animated Feature Production" (Nominated)
- 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards in the following categories:
- Best Animated Character Performance (Nathan Lane - voice, Alexis Stadermann - animator) for "Timon" (Won)
- Best Animated DVD Premiere Movie (Won)
- Best Director (of a DVD Premiere Movie) - Bradley Raymond (Won)
- Best Editing (of a DVD Premiere Movie) - Joyce Arrastia (Won)
- Best Screenplay (for a DVD Premiere Movie) - Tom Rogers (Won)
- 2005 Saturn Award
- "Best DVD Release" (Nominated)
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- DeMott, Matt (February 5, 2004). "McDonald's Happy Meals Feature Lion King 1 1/2 Toys". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Desowitz, Bill. "Lion King 1 1/2 Roars in Home Theaters". Animation World Magazine. February 13, 2004.
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- "Audiences to Experience Disney's "The Lion King" Like Never Before". PR News Wire. May 26, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Lui, Ed. "Lion King 1 1/2" and "Lion King 2" Coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on March 6, 2012". Toon Zone.
- "The Lion King 1½ Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Leydon, Joe (February 10, 2004). "Review: ‘The Lion King 1½’". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- King, Susan (February 12, 2004). "Rip-roaring 'Lion' retelling". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Churnin, Nancy (February 17, 2004). "Catch the `King' when he was a cub.". Dallas Morning News.
- Willman, Chris. "The Lion King 1½.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 20, 2004.
- The Lion King 1½. VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever
- "Lion King 1 ½ SOUNDTRACK". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
- "The Lion King 1½ Game Boy Advance info/review". GameSpot. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
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- The Lion King 1½ at Rotten Tomatoes