The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
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|The Lion King II: Simba's Pride|
North American VHS cover
|Directed by||Darrell Rooney|
|Produced by||Jeannine Roussel|
|Screenplay by||Flip Kobler
|Music by||Nick Glennie-Smith|
|Edited by||Peter Lonsdale|
|Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
|Running time||81 minutes|
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (later retitled The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride) is a 1998 American direct-to-video animated musical romantic comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Animation Australia and released on October 27, 1998 by Walt Disney Home Video (aka Buena Vista Home Entertainment). The film is the sequel to the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King. It was later re-released as a special edition DVD on March 16, 2004. It was also re-released again on Blu-ray alongside The Lion King and The Lion King 1½. The Blu-ray edition was "placed into the Disney Vault" on April 30, 2013.
The film centers around Simba and Nala's daughter, Kiara, who falls in love with Kovu, a male lion who was raised in a pride of Scar's followers and Simba's enemies, the Outsiders. Desperate to be together, they must overcome the two obstacles that are keeping them apart: Kovu's mother, Zira, and Simba's prejudices against the Outsiders. It also centers around Simba's father-daughter relationship with Kiara, who has a desire for taking care of herself and being on her own, under her father's protection.
Discussion began about the possibility of a sequel to The Lion King before the first film even hit theaters. Most of the original cast reprised their roles from the first film, apart from Rowan Atkinson, who was replaced by Edward Hibbert as the voice of Zazu in this film and its follow-up/predecessor The Lion King 1½, and Madge Sinclair, who was the voice of Simba's mother Sarabi in the first film, but died in 1995 after the release of the first film. Her character was written out and does not appear.
The animals of the Pridelands gather to witness the celebration of the newborn cub, Kiara, daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala. Simba's father Mufasa proudly watches over the ceremony from the Heavens above. As she grows older, Kiara becomes annoyed with her father's overprotective parenting. Simba assigns Timon and Pumbaa to keep an eye on her. Kiara manages to escape the duo's attention and enters the "Outlands", where she meets Kovu, a cub who is Scar's heir. When Kovu retaliates to Kiara's playing, out of nowhere, Simba appears and roars at the young cub, and Zira, Kovu's mother (who had been watching them from the bushes) also emerges. Zira and Simba face off, with Zira reminding Simba of how he exiled her and the other Outsiders also tells him Kovu was hand-chosen to be Scar's successor. After returning to the Pride Lands Simba sends Nala and the rest of the pride back to Pride Rock whilst he scolds Kiara for wandering off, lecturing her about the danger posed by the Outsiders. But Simba quickly forgives her and tells her that they are part of each other.
Meanwhile in the Outlands Zira sternly confronts Kovu for going into the Pride Lands, reminding him that Simba killed Scar (she was incorrect in believing this, as Scar was actually eaten alive by the hyenas in the first film) and was the one who exiled the lions who respect Scar. Kovu explains that he does not think it is so bad to have Kiara as his good friend, and then Zira yells at him about this idea, but then, Zira realizes she can use Kovu's friendship with Kiara to get to Simba and soon plots a plan to get revenge and sets Kovu to sleep and she sings, forgetting how angry she was at Kovu.
Many years later, Kiara, now a young adult, heads out for her first solo hunt. As part of Zira's plan, Kovu's siblings Nuka and Vitani, trap her in a fire, allowing Kovu to rescue her. Simba, unwilling to thank the young rogue, is forced to accept Kovu's asylum now that Kovu saved his daughter. Kovu contemplates attacking Simba as he was instructed to, but he goes out to teach Kiara how to hunt instead and hardly realizes the love he has for her at this point. Kovu attempts to confess his mission to Kiara, but Rafiki shows up and leads them to the jungle where he introduces them to "Upendi" — love. Ultimately, the two lions fall in love.
Kovu's guilt drives him to confess about his mission to Kiara. Before he can do so, Simba takes him around the Pride Lands and tells him the real story of Scar, which Kovu had never heard. They fall into an ambush set up by Zira, however. Kovu has the opportunity to kill Simba, but runs away instead. Nuka, trying to prove to Zira that he can capture Simba, is killed when some of the logs crush him to death. Zira blames Kovu for his brother's death and claws him across his eye in anger and frustration, scarring his face, so now he looks like Scar. Kovu attempts to return to the Pride Lands and pleads Simba for his forgiveness, but is promptly exiled. Kiara tries to reason with Simba, begging him to trust Kovu, but Simba sharply responds that he already tried trusting him, and that nearly cost him his life. He also claims that Kovu only loved her in order to get closer to him. Furious at her father, Kiara furiously informs him that he will never be like Mufasa before fleeing to find Kovu. The two young lions later find each other and profess their love. Kiara convinces Kovu to return with her to the Pridelands.
The Outsiders and Pridelanders clash. Zira and Simba confront each other, but Kovu and Kiara intervene and tell them to stop their hostilities. Vitani and the Outsiders side with the Pridelanders. But Zira attempts to attack Simba, only for Kiara to send her over a cliff dangling over a storm-swollen river. Kiara offers Zira her help, but she refuses and falls to her death. Simba helps Kiara back up the cliff, and he, along with Nala, allows the Outsiders and Kovu to rejoin the Pride Lands at Pride Rock, and even accepts Kovu as his son-in-law and the future king and Kiara the future queen. Simba looks up at the sky to hear the approval of his father and he is proud of him.
- Matthew Broderick as Simba, the King of the Pride Lands, mate of Nala and father of Kiara. Cam Clarke provides his singing voice. Ian Harrowell served as the supervising animator for Simba.
- Moira Kelly as Nala, the Queen of the Pride Lands, mate of Simba and mother of Kiara. Ian Harrowell served as the supervising animator for Nala.
- Neve Campbell as Kiara, Simba and Nala's daughter. As a cub, she is voiced by Michelle Horn, with Charity Sanoy providing her child singing voice as a cub, Ashley Edner providing her lion growls as a cub and Liz Callaway providing her adult singing voice. Lianne Hughes served as the supervising animator for Kiara.
- Suzanne Pleshette as Zira, the leader of the Outsiders and Scar's most loyal follower and the mother of Nuka, Vitani, and Kovu. Kevin Peaty served as the supervising animator for Zira.
- Andy Dick as Nuka, Zira's oldest, Vitani and Kovu's older brother, and the oldest male of Zira's family. Ian Harrowell served as the supervising animator for Nuka.
- Nathan Lane as Timon, Simba's meerkat best friend, royal adviser, and Kiara's guardian. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Timon.
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Simba's warthog best friend, royal adviser, and Kiara's guardian. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Pumbaa.
- Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, the mandrill shaman of The Pride Lands. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Rafiki.
- Jennifer Lien as Vitani, Zira's daughter and Nuka and Kovu's sister. As a cub, she is voiced by Lacey Chabert, with Crysta Macalush providing her singing voice. Kevin Peaty served as the supervising animator for Vitani.
- Jason Marsden as Kovu, Zira's son, and Nuka and Vitani's younger brother. Gene Miller provides Kovu's singing voice. As a cub, he is voiced by Ryan O'Donohue. Andrew Collins served as the supervising animator for Kovu.
- Edward Hibbert as Zazu (replacing Rowan Atkinson), Simba's hornbill adviser and childhood guardian. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Zazu.
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa, the spirit of Simba's late father, the older brother of Scar, Kiara's grandfather, and the previous King of the Pride Lands.
- Jim Cummings as Scar (replacing Jeremy Irons), Mufasa's younger brother and Simba's evil uncle. Though Scar does not actually appear in the main body of the movie itself (due to him being eaten alive by the hyenas in the first film), he appears briefly in Simba's nightmare and also makes a brief cameo appearance when Kovu (right after being exiled by Simba) looks at his reflection in a pool of water and his reflection changes into Scar.
In 1999, Disney believed that The Lion King II: Simba's Pride would be so popular that it shipped 15 million copies to stores on April 27. They sold 3.5 million copies in three days. Thirteen million copies were sold while it was still in print in the late 90s.
The film was first released on VHS in the United States on October 27, 1998 and on DVD as a limited issue on November 23, 1999. Both the original VHS and limited issue DVD were placed into moratorium on January 19, 2000. It was not released again on DVD until August 31, 2004, when it was a two-disc special edition. The special edition went into moratorium in January 2005. The film has been rendered in high definition and, from October 4, 2011, became available in a trilogy set with the other two films. The Blu-ray edition for the film was released as a separate version on March 6, 2012. The Blu-ray edition has three different versions, a 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, a 1-disc edition, and a digital download. The Blu-ray edition has also been attached with a new Timon & Pumbaa short, in which the two friends gaze at the night sky as the star constellations resemble their favorite meal, insects. The Blu-ray edition of The Lion King II, along with the other two films in the series, was placed into moratorium on April 30, 2013.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride received mixed to positive reviews. Siskel & Ebert gave the film a "two-thumbs up" and said it was a "satisfactory sequel to one of the most popular films of all time, The Lion King". However, they also said it was best that it went to video, citing that the music was lacking and not remotely equal to the original's soundtrack. James Plath of Movie Metropolis gave the film 6/10, saying that, "Simply put, we've seen it all before." Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed called it "A retread of "The Fox and the Hound". The Lion King II holds a "33% rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
TV Guide gave the film 2½ stars out of four, claiming that, despite being of slightly higher quality than Disney's previous direct-to-video animated sequels, "comes nowhere near the level of its big-screen predecessor", either musically or artistically. The review later went on to say that "Though most of the original characters and their voices are back, they all sound bored, apart from the zesty addition of Suzanne Pleshette as the scheming Zira. The overall result is OK for kids, who will enjoy the low humor provided by the comical meerkat Timon and the flatulent warthog Pumbaa, but it could have been so much better."
- "He Lives in You" – Sung by Lebo M and his African choir. This song represents Kiara's birth and is the equivalent of "Circle of Life". The song is a direct reference to when Rafiki told Simba in the first film that Mufasa "lives" in him. Also appears in the Broadway version of the first film.
- "We Are One" – Sung by Cam Clarke and Charity Sanoy. Following Kiara's encounter with Kovu and Zira in which she endangers herself, Simba explains how important she is to the pride and that the pride is one. It can be seen as the musical equivalent to the first film's talk about the Great Kings of the Past with Mufasa and Simba.
- "My Lullaby" – Sung by Suzanne Pleshette, Andy Dick, and Crysta Macalush. Zira's lullaby to Kovu, which outlines her plot for him to kill Simba and how proud it would make her. The equivalent to "Be Prepared" as both songs detail the murder plots of the two villains. There are several allusions to the first film, including the similarities in the ending sequences of both songs and Zira's treatment of Nuka during the song, which resembles Scar's abuse of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
- "Upendi" (Swahili for "love") – Sung by Robert Guillaume, Liz Callaway, Gene Miller, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Rafiki's song to Kiara and Kovu about love, friendship, and happiness. Sung by Rafiki and his animal friends. Also the equivalent to "Hakuna Matata", from the first film, as well as "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" visually.
- "Not One of Us" – Sung following Kovu being exiled by Simba after he wrongfully accuses Kovu of betraying him. This was the first time the animals other than lions outside of the main characters (excluding Lion King 1½) have been seen talking. This is the only song to not have an equivalent to the first film, but may lyrically reflect on Mufasa's or Scar's death.
- "Love Will Find a Way" – Sung by Liz Callaway and Gene Miller. A romantic love song that includes of Kiara and Kovu's first encounter following Kovu's banishment. The pair concludes that their mutual feelings for each other are too strong and true for their differences to keep them apart. Similar to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". The end title version is performed by R&B artists Kenny Lattimore and Heather Headley.
An audio CD entitled Return to Pride Rock: Songs Inspired by Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was released on September 8, 1998. Although not promoted as a soundtrack to the film, it contained all the songs from the film and some additional songs inspired by it by Lebo M.
- Horn, John HIGH-PROFILE SEQUELS WILL SKIP THEATERS FOR HOME SCREENINGS Associated Press. May 23, 1994. "The studio is so confident in the sequel's success, it already is considering a direct-to-video sequel to The Lion King – which doesn't arrive in theaters until June."
- The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride – ComingSoon.net
- Lui, Ed (December 20, 2011). "Lion King 1 1/2" and "Lion King 2" Coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on March 6, 2012". Toon Zone. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride – Siskel & Ebert".
- Plath, James (March 3, 2012). "THE LION KING 2: SIMBA'S PRIDE – Blu-ray review". Movie Metropolis. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Felix Vasquez Jr. (May 9, 2013). "The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998)". Cinema Crazed. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
- "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Official website
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride at AllMovie
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride at the Internet Movie Database
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride at Rotten Tomatoes