The Lion King. One of the best Disney films ever made. In my opinion.
I can’t add much to this film by reviewing it. It’s themes are clear. And everyone knows the story.
But I want to look at the ideology of it, if you will.
I have heard multiple Christians use this film as an illustration of spiritual truths. What interests me is how deliberately the film itself seems to raise that sort of impression.
No one really would argue that it supports some kind of belief in the after life.
And it seems to go out of its way to establish that Mufasa’s reappearance is not just in Simba’s head. Rafiki sees him, and also communicates with him when Simba is not there. WE also see Mufasa as the sun, as well as the stars.
I don’t think anyone would debate that Mufasa is a God-character.
If you’ve never heard that term, or never int his context, it means a character who inspires other characters in the ways we would attribute to God. Typically meaning they give them instructions, seem to know things no one else knows, and give them hope in their darkest hour.
Mufasa fits the bill on all accounts.
Yet he’s totally believable as just a lion trying to be the best king and father he can be. Ultimately laying down his life for his son in an effort to protect him.
What just about killed me was that he never found out that it was Scar who put Simba up to doing those stupid things. (I guess he did once he was up in the sky, but still, closure!)
I don’t know what Simba means, or Mufasa, but Scar’s name, notably one of the only English names in the whole thing (except for Ed) is a giveaway to his character, both his personal issues, and the issues he creates for Simba.
Scar holds a grudge for being put out of succession. He holds a grudge against Mufasa because Mufasa is so much better than him. AT first we think he’s just sour over being a nobody, but later when Sarabi taunts him, we realize he is secretly aware of how inferior he is to Mufasa and Simba both. Which comes up again when Simba has defeated him.
Scar’s name also relates to who he emotionally scars Simba by his treacherous acts and leaves him crippled for his whole adolescent phase, without a father except for two well meaning but ignoble beasts who just want to relax their life away.
Interestingly enough, Simba’s emotional scars only fade when Scar himself does.
Scar, as the betrayer and the deceiver and the false king, who accuse Simba of his own crimes, makes a fitting devil character. And a formidable villain.
The best lines of the film are all Mufasa’s, I love his speech to Simba when he is a spirit. I also love how in that scene Mufasa becomes more fully realized the longer he is speaking, going from clouds, to a starry shape, to full on color. Symbolic.
He tells Simba “You are more than what you have become.”
It seems odd that Mufasa doesn’t tell him “I love you.” Or something like that. But not when we consider that Simba is laboring under a delusion that he killed him. When he knows, deep down, that Scar is the one to blame. Simba also has just been confronted by Nala about what he needs to do. So this kick in the rear is exactly w at he needs.
He tells Simba further “You have forgotten me.” Simba denies it. “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me…You must take your place as the one true king. Remember who you are.”
Who did not share Rafikis’ sentiment after the end of that. “Wow! What was that!”
Simba returns home and kicks Scar’s tail, but not without some pitfalls along the way.
But the scenery of the last part of the film is a huge part of the story.
Under an evil ruler , the land has faded. The herds are leaving t o find food, but Scar, like the coward he is, refuses to leave.
I never understood stood this when I was younger, but now I think he was afraid of other lion challengers on the Savannah. He knew he was no match for any healthy young or middle aged lion that wanted a pride. Also that the pride wouldn’t do jack squat to help him if he was challenged. (As they will for a lion they like.)
Scar just want to stay away from any competition that will expose him. So imagine how scared he is when Simba returns.
At first everyone thinks Simba is Mufasa. A resemblance the writer didn’t pretend wasn’t there. Because it’s more potent that it is. Yet when Scar knows it’s him, he think he can manipulate him because he always has before. Otherwise he would have slunk away while he could.
In the end Scar thinks his greater numbers may give him the advantage, and then fights Simba more in desperation than in courage. Then he begs for mercy when he is defeated, Simba gives it, but Scar pulls one more nasty back stabbing trick and then falls as a result. The hyenas, having heard him throw them under the bus, decide they’ve had enough of Scar. All four of them presumably burn to death.
There’s so much biblical resemblance here, it would be hard to deny it if I wanted to.
There’s a little thing I want to explain about what follows:
Simba’s roar is both symbolic as assuming his place as king; and literal, as Male lions do roar to declare their territory. Female lion actually do roar in response to males, so if that part always felt real to you, that’s because it is.
But it is not a magic roar.
I have hard theories on this, but they are ridiculous and here’s why.
When the land goes from desolate to healthy, we see Simba and Nala have a cub. (Everything came full circle.) Lionesses are pregnant for a year. It’s been a whole year. So the land has had time to recover, and the rain had time to work.
You can say the rain was magic and I won’t argue. But the rest is nature.
So, in defiance of modern values, this movie supports living up to you responsibilities. taking someone else;s place, following in someone else’s footsteps, and being what people need you to be.
And all that could also be your destiny.
I don’t favor the very selfish viewpoint on finding your dream nowadays. Your dream can be what would help other people. And sometimes we have to adjust our priorities.
Even Timon and Pumba take a more noble place beside Simba and prove they are not the cowards they thought themselves.
That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.