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"THE LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE"
(1998) (voices of Matthew Broderick, Neve Campbell) (Not Rated)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor Heavy *Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None None Mild Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Children's Animated: A young lioness follows in her father's paw prints while falling for a young lion who may spell trouble for her pride.
PLOT:
Continuing where "The Lion King" left off, Simba (voice of MATTHEW BRODERICK) is the regal leader of his lion pride. Along with his mate, Nala (voice of MOIRA KELLY), the two are proud, but quite protective of their new daughter, Kiara. As curious as her father was, Kiara is intrigued by the forbidden Outlands, a desolate place where Simba banished the followers of Scar, his late, but evil uncle who was responsible for the death of Simba's father, Mufasa (voice of JAMES EARL JONES).

Nonetheless, and despite the efforts of Timon (voice of NATHAN LANE) and Pumbaa (voice of ERNIE SABELLA) who've been assigned to babysit her, Kiara ventures off into the Outlands. There, she meets a scruffy, young male cub, Kovu, where the two eventually help each other escape from a perilous encounter with some hungry crocodiles.

Although they seem destined to be friends, Kovu's mother, Zira (SUZANNE PLESHETTE) and older brother, Nuka (ANDY DICK), separate the two young cubs. The leader of the outcast lions, Zira has long wanted revenge on Simba, and upon seeing the bond between her son and Kiara, she hatches a plan where Kovu will befriend the pride, kill Simba, and then reclaim the throne in Scar's honor.

After some time, and now a young adult, Kiara (voice of NEVE CAMPBELL) wants her freedom, but Simba still wants to protect her. Even so, he can't keep her away from Kovu (voice of JASON MARSDEN), who recently saved her life. Despite his wariness of the young lion and due to the insistence of the wise Rafiki (voice of ROBERT GUILLAUME) that the two "teens" should be together, Simba allows Kovu to join the pride. From that point on, it's uncertain whether Kovu will continue with his mother's evil plan, or succumb to his growing affection for Kiara.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they liked the original "The Lion King" or other animated films, they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: Not Rated
The film was not submitted to the MPAA for rating, but if it had been, it easily would have received a G.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SIMBA is the king of his pride, and while perhaps a bit overprotective of his daughter, is a good father and ruler.
  • KIARA is his daughter, a young lioness who wants to branch out on her own and thus occasionally breaks her father's rules while doing so.
  • KOVU is Scar's heir apparent, a young lion who's torn between his mother's brainwashing to kill Simba and his newfound love for Kiara.
  • ZIRA is the leader of the outcasts, a bitter lioness who will do anything to overthrow and kill Simba.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    What do you do when you set out to make a sequel to the biggest animated film of all time that's also still the current champ for total video sales of any genre? You don't mess much with the story, you get most of the vocal talent to return to voice their well-know characters, and you release the film straight to video to diminish expectations and comparisons to the original.

    The result? Well, while it doesn't have the mighty roar of its predecessor, "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" is clearly one of the better straight to video releases ever to come out of Hollywood. Although the animation isn't quite up to par with the original, the new songs don't have that special touch that made them and "The Lion King" such a success, and the fact that the film suffers somewhat from a heavy dose of familiarity, this is still a pretty decent picture.

    Comparisons to the original, of course, are inevitable and part of the risk (or benefit) a studio takes when releasing any sequel. As such, while this film's plot feels and plays out like a natural progression from where the original left off, it's impossible not to notice the lifting, copying, and imitating of elements from the first.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing -- especially for kids who already don't mind repeatedly watching the same movie so often that its images are forever etched onto the family's TV screen, let alone their parents' minds -- but one can't help but get a feeling of deja vu (all over again) while watching this film.

    Had it been released without the prior existence of the original -- somewhat of a difficult feat for a sequel, but you probably get the point -- the film easily could have stood on its own.

    From the opening strains of "He Lives in You" (in a sequence that plays out very much like "The Circle of Life" opening in the original), through the comedic sidekick antics of Timon and Pumbaa, and the plot of an evil lion trying to unseat the reigning King, everything has a familiar feel to it, all of which -- depending on your viewpoint -- either plays in the film's favor or is just an unimaginative and safe retreading of the source material.

    Beyond all of that, for a straight to video release, the animation is quite good. While not matching that found in the original or other subsequent animated releases, it's better than any non- theatrical release I've seen. While it's occasionally a bit rough looking and lacks the cutting edge razzle-dazzle its theatrical cousins sport, for the most part the figures, backgrounds and overall composition looks good and is always easy on the eye.

    The songs -- while suffering from the absence of Tim Rice & Elton John and a long way from the fabulous stuff Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman put out in the early years of the recent Disney animation renaissance -- aren't too bad, and some, including the fun and toe tapping "Upendi" (performed by Robert Guillaume & Ladysmith Black Mambazo), are quite good.

    While clearly not in the same league as its classic forebear, this is still a pretty decent film. As long as you can don't mind the strong imitative elements related to the original -- something now almost granted as commonplace in any sequel -- you, and especially any young kids in the house, will probably enjoy the film. We liked it, and thus give "The Lion King: Simba's Pride" a 7 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at this straight to video release. Although the film was not submitted to the MPAA for rating, it easily would have received a G if it had been. As such, there's not a great deal with which parents need to be concerned. Even so, several scenes may be unsettling or frightening to some children (all dependent, of course, on any given child's age, maturity, and exposure to similar animated film material -- such as in the original "The Lion King").

    Beyond that, the obvious bad attitudes of the villainous characters, some violence (fighting between the lions, etc...) and two non-graphic deaths (of villains who were trying to harm the good characters), the remaining categories have little or no major objectionable content. Should you still be concerned, however, you can simply check the material for any category that may be of concern to you.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After Zira scratches him, Kovu has a pinkish scar on his face.
  • Although neither bloody nor gory, some kids (and parents) may find a scene where Pumbaa bites into a "grub" ("the other white meat" as it's called) as gross and disgusting.
  • A joke is made about Pumbaa's flatulent tendencies (although we don't hear anything) as Timon holds up his tail to ward off some approaching lionesses and later comments "Talk about your winds of war..."
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Obviously, Zira and her band of outcast followers have both (for wanting to kill and replace Simba), and for a while she's brainwashed Kovu into having both as well, but he quickly abandons such beliefs and thoughts.
  • Kiara disobeys her parents' and heads off to the Outlands (as both a cub and young lioness).
  • Nuka doesn't like Kovu because he thinks he should have been the chosen successor to Scar and not his younger brother.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Depending on a child's age, maturity level, and tolerance for such material from these sorts of films, the following may or may not be unsettling, tense and/or frightening to them.
  • The menacing appearances of Zira, her followers, and occasionally Kovu, along with the hostile environs of the Outlands may be unsettling or scary to some kids.
  • Similarly, Zira's plan to kill Simba may have the same effect.
  • While looking at the Outlands, Kiara (as a cub) hears something coming up from behind her (it turns out to be just Timon and Pumbaa).
  • A minute or so scene features young Kiara and Kovu barely escaping an onslaught of crocodiles that bite at, chase after, and nearly get the two young lions (on the crocs' backs, in the water, up some short trees, etc...).
  • Nuka and another lion set a huge prairie fire that soon rages out of control and traps Kiara (Kovu saves her as part of the master plan after Kiara momentarily hangs from a cliff).
  • Simba has a nightmare where he envisions the death of his father (from the first film) as well as his own falling from a cliff into a stampeding herd of animals.
  • Zira's lionesses surround Simba and then attack him, biting at him as he swats them away. Kovu tries to help, but is kicked aside and momentarily knocked out. Simba then fights many of them, and tries to escape up a hill of loose logs, while Nuka chases him from behind. Simba gets away, but Nuka falls and is crushed by some falling logs, and eventually dies.
  • Zira and her pride fight Simba and his pride during a thunderstorm (biting, clawing, etc...) after slowing approaching one another.
  • Kiara briefly fights with Zira and the two end up falling down and then hanging from a cliff. Zira eventually falls into a flooding river below (and is presumably killed).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Like stink on a warthog" and "You little termite."
  • Timon belches while stating that he and Pumbaa will teach Simba's offspring how to do just that.
  • Timon and Pumbaa raise and wiggle their butts at several menacing lionesses while saying, "Naanee, naanee, naanee..."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful music accompanies the scenes listed under "Frightening/Tense Scenes."
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Simba has a brief nightmare about seeing his father fall to his death (from the original movie).
  • Kiara doesn't always get along with her parents' rules, and she does disobey them by running away (once as a cub, and later as an adult).
  • Zira briefly reacts to the death of Nuka, her older son.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Why Zira is so evil and continuing in the line of Scar, and why she tries to brainwash Kovu into killing Simba and taking his place as the king.
  • That the "kids" eventually end the feud and get all of the lions to live together peacefully.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Zira purposefully squashes some bugs during a musical number.
  • A bird briefly bites (or pecks) Timon's nose.
  • Zira's lionesses surround Simba and then attack him, biting at him as he swats them away. Kovu tries to help, but is kicked aside and momentarily knocked out. Simba then fights many of them, and tries to escape up a hill of loose logs, while Nuka chases him from behind. Simba gets away, but Nuka falls and is crushed by some falling logs, and eventually dies.
  • Zira swats at Kovu, scratching his face and leaves a pink scar.
  • Timon and Pumbaa briefly get into a wrestling match.
  • Zira and her pride fight Simba and his pride during a thunderstorm (biting, clawing, etc...).
  • Kiara briefly fights with Zira and the two end up falling down and then hanging from a cliff. Zira eventually falls into a flooding river below (and is presumably killed).



  • Reviewed October 27, 1998

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