Plot: What’s it about?
We all know the deal from The Lion King, right? Simba wins the Pride Lands for his people, and takes over the reigns as king of the circle of life. He banished Scar’s people to the Outlands, and everyone was happy as clams. Well, in The Lion King 2, we find out not everyone is so happy, at least not those banished anyway. Simba’s daughter, Kiara, is a stubborn tomboy, and never listens to Simba’s advice. Simba tries to prepare Kiara for when she takes over the Pride Lands, but she’s more worried about making friends and having fun to stress over the future. Simba sees the chance for her to get into danger, so he assigns the comedic duo of Timon and Pumbaa to look after her. Of course, she easily escapes their watchful eyes, and soon finds herself in the Outlands, where she meets Kovu. We later learn that Kovu was chosen to follow in Scar’s paw prints, and that doesn’t sit well with Simba. The longer they are around each other, the more Kovu and Kiara like each other, and the more bitter the rivalry between the Pride Lands and the Outlands gets. Can the two sides put aside their differences and create a world they can all live happily in? Or will world collide, and leave the feelings of Kiara and Kovu behind?
In 1994, Disney’s The Lion King was an animated tour de force, going on to be the most successful Disney animated feature of all time. With that type of success comes the temptation for a sequel, or even sequels. Such is the case with The Lion King, which spawned this film, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. Instead of releasing the picture theatrically, Disney opted to port this flick right to video, and now DVD. Now, this leads to issues such as animation quality, voice actors, and the like. While the animation in The Lion King 2 is not the same caliber as it’s prequel, it is good animation. The only things missing from this sequel are the details and the fluidity. The details in The Lion King are deep and complex, but this film’s animation seems flat and almost rushed. It also seems like frames were skipped, as the animation is not nearly as smooth as it’s prequel. The voice acting on the other hand is great, with several returning talents. Matthew Broderick is back as the voice of Simba, Robert Guillaume takes another turn as Rafiki, and of course, the original voices of Timon and Pumbaa, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, are back. The last two were key for this film, as those two characters needed to be there, with their original voice workers, because they work their characters so well and provide great comedic relief.
Now, if you have children who love this movie, by all means, pick it up. Your VHS tape will be worn out after six months, so you might as well invest the money so you have a copy that will last. But I don’t think you should buy this disc sight unseen, as it just doesn’t measure up to The Lion King. While the animation is decent, it’s not up to Disney’s reputation, and lacks the detail and smoothness of other features. Even the return of the original voice cast’s major stars can’t bring this film up to must have status. The storyline is not very good, it’s just too predictable. I know, most of Disney’s animated features are, but this seems like a rip off of The Lion King, not a sequel. But, all things said, if you’ve seen the movie and you enjoy it, or you just have to buy all the Disney discs, then this is a nice disc. This disc leaves the VHS version in the dust, with great visuals and nice audio. So while the movie may not be the best out there, this is a nice treatment for it.
Video: How does it look?
The Lion King 2 is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, which is not anamorphically enhanced, but still looks great. The oranges and reds in the Pride Lands look perfect, with no bleeding or oversaturation at all. And in the Outlands, the blacks and deep greys look good as well, with perfect black levels and shadowing layers. This disc is THX mastered, but I can’t really tell you what that did for this transfer, because the movie is so recent, I doubt it needed much work. But for my money, I don’t think this picture could look very much better.
Audio: How does it sound?
Yes! I love Disney songs! Not really, but the ones in this film are the most annoying ones yet. Aside from the music and dialogue, there ain’t much audio dynamite on this disc, except for a roar here and there. So, a great audio mix for this film, but this sure isn’t the disc to use to show off your speakers to your homies.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Disney offers a few trinkets on this disc, including a trailer and a music video, as well as the ever popular full color artwork on the disc itself. Wow…