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Being a fan of the first Lion King, I was definitely looking forward to this
movie, but I knew there was really no way it could be as good as the
original. I know that many Disney fans are wary of the direct-to-video
movies, as I have mixed feelings of them as well.
While watching The Lion King 1½, I tried to figure out what my own viewpoint was regarding this movie. Am I going to be so devout about The Lion King that I will nitpick at certain scenes, or am I just going to accept this movie as just another look at The Lion King story? Most of the time, I found myself embracing the latter.
The Lion King 1½ definitely has its cute and funny moments. Timon and Pumbaa stole the show in the first movie and definitely deserved a movie that centered around them. People just love these characters! My favorite parts of the movie include the montage of Timon & Pumbaa taking care of young Simba and the surprise ending featuring some great cameos.
I could have done without many of the bathroom jokes though, like the real reason everyone bowed to baby Simba at the beginning of Lion King 1. I guess those types of jokes are for the younger set (which after all is the target audience. I don't think many kids are really concerned about Disney's profit margin on direct-to-video movies.)
However, I will say that I was somewhat annoyed when they directly tied in scenes from the original movie to this movie. I'm just too familiar with the original that those scenes just stuck out like sore thumbs to me. Something would be different with the music or the voices that it would just distract me.
As for the music, it wasn't too bad, but don't expect any classics to come from this movie. At least LK2 had the nice ballad, "Love Will Find a Way." As for the voicework, it was well done in this movie. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella did a great job as always, and even new cast members, the classic comedic actor Jerry Stiller and Julie Kavner (best known as Marge Simpson), did a great job also. You can even enjoy these great voice talents even more by checking out the Virtual Safari on Disc 2 of the DVD. That feature is definitely a lot of fun!!
So all in all, The Lion King 1½ isn't a perfect movie, but it's cute and entertaining. I think many Lion King fans will enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is - a fun, lighthearted look at the Lion King masterpiece from our funny friends' perspectives.
My IMDb Rating: 7/10. My Yahoo! Grade: B (Good)
One of the best movies for all ages. You will never be able to look at
KING again without thinking of the extra history this movie
Nearly 40 years old, I watched this with my wife and two sons after work
tonight & I have not laughed & enjoyed a movie so much in a long time.
Take time out and watch this with the kids. It will remind you of how Disney used to be when you were a young one.
As far as Disney sequels go, The Lion King 1 ½ is definitely above
It works as often as it does (which is still only about equal to as much
it doesn't work) mainly due to its simple premise. In true Mystery Science
Theater 3000 fashion, we see Timon (voice by Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa
the tale of The Lion King to a point before the familiar story. What
is the tale of Timon, a troubled meerkat. Timon is somewhat of an outcast,
the member of the colony who can never seem to do anything right. The only
two allies he has in the troupe are his mother (Julie Kavner, The
and his Uncle Max (Jerry Stiller, Seinfeld). Concerned with safety and a
need to hide from the vicious hyenas, the meerkats must constantly dig and
hide in order to survive. Timon, however, dreams of a world beyond the
After a cataclysmic mistake during lookout duty, Timon decides to leave
past behind and journey to find a new home.
As Timon sets out, he meets up with the existential primate Rafiki. In one of the truly funny scenes, Rafiki tells Timon to `Look beyond what you can see'. Unfortunately, Timon (not too bright) takes things a bit too literally and begins actually looking for things that are farther away than what he can see. This scene also provides the origins of Hakuna Matata; it is what Timon is searching for and must find to finally be satisfied. It is on this quest he meets the gaseous Pumbaa and a friendship is born.
Timon and Pumbaa search for their Hakuna Matata and it is on this journey that the movie works best. Their story is intertwined with the original The Lion King tale and some of the results are hilarious. Familiar sequences from the original classic are used from a different perspective and it is learned that Timon and Pumbaa were actually there all the time, doing more than we had ever given them credit for. In fact, Timon and Pumbaa seem to be the heroes of the story, a fact never touched upon in the original.
When The Lion King 1 ½ works, it is quite funny. Interjected with the MST3K type commentary and full of familiar scenes with new elements, there are parts of the story that are very clever. However, in a film that runs less than an hour and twenty minutes, you would expect little downtime. Unfortunately, the story is thin and when the quick comedy sketches pass, too much time is spent waiting for the humor to shine again.
The animation, for the most part, is slightly better than most Disney sequels. It is a mixture of traditional animation and computer generated elements. There is not the attention to detail and much fewer awe-inspiring sequences than in some of Disney's greater efforts of the past. The original cast is all here and they slip back into their characters with ease. The new characters are played well, though without much range (Timon's mom is a slightly less raspy Marge Simpson). The new musical numbers benefited greatly from the return of Elton John and Tim Rice and were actually quite fun.
I hold little hope that Disney will be able to recreate the magic of some of its most brilliant classics. The Lion King is not only a outstanding animated kid's film, but one of the best movies ever made. Sequels seem to be inevitable these days with the studio and most of them are abysmal. The Lion King 1 ½ is not a horrible movie. In fact, it is quite fun to watch once. Kids will enjoy the constant low-brow humor and there is enough `wink wink' jokes for the adults that this is a fine family rental.
My Take: A funny take on THE LION KING, posing as a sequel.
Surprisingly, "Lion King 1 1/2" is actually another funny straight-to-video, that's worth a theatrical treatment. I don't see why Disney released this straight to video, and release crappy movies like "Chicken Little" and "Return to Neverland" theatrically. Those movies are better off seen in the video stores (in the "new releases" area), rather than seeing their theatrical posters outside the theaters.
This one is merely a spoof of the first film (although the events in "Simba's Pride" hasn't taken place yet), on Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa's (voiced by Ernie Sabella) point of view. We get to see them make fun of the events in the first film. Original voices from the first film, like Matthew Broderick, Woopie Goldberg, Cheeche Martin and Robert Guillaume, return to their voicing roles from the first film, while Julie Kavner and Jerry Stiller give some hilarious comedy relief as Timon's mom and grumpy uncle.
So doesn't this sound fun. Maybe not now, but go watch it for yourself. The fact that it's not that serious in its plot makes it the more enjoyable. It's kinda like MST3000 with Timon and Pumbaa.
Video movie rating: ***1/2 out of 5.
The Lion King series is easily the crowning achievement in Disney animation. The original Lion King is the greatest masterpiece in cel animation. Lion King II:Simba's Pride is the BY FAR the best direct-to-video sequel that Disney, or any other studio, has made for an animated feature. It deserved a theatrical release. The same can be said for this movie. It has the original cast, songs by Elton John, a hilarious story, exciting action, and touching character moments. Everything you've come to expect from this series. Not so much a new story, but filler and extended background on Timon and Pumbaa, and their place in this story. What impressed me the most, was the care taken in the animation. All to often, Disney shorts on the animation quality of their video and television efforts. But here, they seamlessly blend new animation with footage from the original film. The scenes never seem out of place. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella are in full swing as Timon and Pumbaa. Matthew Broderick, Robert Guillame, and Moira Kelly reprise their roles as Simba, Rafiki, and Nala, respectively. We even get a return visit by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin as the hyenas.There are MANY big laughs in this movie. So if you love Lion King, you need this movie. The story is just not complete without it.
This is a straight-to-video movie, so it should go without saying that
it's not going to rival the first Lion King, but that said, this was
My kids loved this, but that's a given, they love anything that's a cartoon. The big shock was that *I* liked it too, it was laugh out loud funny at some parts (even the fart jokes*), had lots of rather creative tie-ins with the first movie, and even some jokes that you had to be older to understand (but without being risqué like in Shrek ["do you think he's compensating for something?"]).
A special note on the fart jokes, I was surprised to find that none of the jokes were just toilet noises (in fact there were almost no noises/imagery at all, the references were actually rather subtle), they actually had a setup/punchline/etc, and were almost in good taste. I'd like my kids to think that there's more to humor than going to the bathroom, and this movie is fine in those regards.
Hmm what else? The music was so-so, not nearly as creative as in the first or second movie, but plenty of fun for the kids. No painfully corny moments, which was a blessing for me. A little action but nothing too scary (the Secret of NIMH gave my kids nightmares, not sure a G rating was appropriate for that one...)
All in all I'd say this is a great movie for kids of any age, one that's 100% safe to let them watch (I try not to be overly sensitive but I've had to jump up and turn off the TV during a few movies that were less kid-appropriate than expected) - but you're safe to leave the room during this one. I'd say stick around anyway though, you might find that you enjoy it too :)
Lion King 1 1/2 is a very fun and addictive sequel. Don't expect the
production values of a theatrical release, but do expect the highest
quality of direct to video release.
It is set up as Timon & Pumba begin watching the original Lion King in a darkened theater and abruptly switch tracks and begin narrating their own story. This is done with frequent comedic interruptions. For example, during one particular tense moment a home shopping commercial pops on and a chagrined Pumba realizes he has sat on the remote. These little moments pepper the movie, and whether you find them entertaining or not will greatly depend on your sense of humor. If you are particularly bothered by movies that deliberately remind the viewer is watching a movie, than this may not be your cup of tea.
Animation is the best they've invested in the Disney DTV line, and is integrated almost seamlessly with the original material. The newer, independent material uses a lot of the artistic style of the original. The voice talents are all well performed, though I couldn't help thinking of Marge Simpson every time I heard Julie Kavner.
Many of the jokes in the movie will be well recognized by viewers as recycled over the generations, but are presented more with the familiarity of comfortable quirks of old friends than annoyingly repetitive.
The music has made me realize how much I enjoyed and miss a good musical integrated with a Disney feature. The toe-tapping opening feature of 'Dig A Tunnel' is well choreographed and hilarious. Timon and Pumba's take on the Lion King's opening sequence and their introduction to paradise are also amusing. The only problem was the reprise of the 'Dig A Tunnel' at the end of the movie, switching its lyrics and tune from defeatist to uplifting.
Story line is pretty well done, and the integration of new plot elements is done almost perfectly, though the final bit during the hyena chased stretched the storyline credibility a little. The new story doesn't seem to handle saccharine or emotionally charged moments to well, and does better when it is resorting to full comedy.
Overall, worth purchasing. If you like all the bonus features that come with a typical 2-disc set, then go for it. For the penny pincher who still is willing to invest on a good flick, wait until it drops four or more dollars and go rent it right away.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Timon and Pumbaa are watching The Lion King. Timon decides to go back BEFORE the beginning, to when the story really began. So they go back. Way back. Back even before Simba was born. Back to Timon's old home which was miles away from Pride Rock. A clan of meerkats burrowed underground to hide from hyenas. The worst digger in the clan was a pompous, self-centered meerkat named Timon. His mother took pity on him but Uncle Max just shook his head. Mother suggested putting Timon on sentry duty; Timon had dreams of a bigger and better place out there somewhere. Just then, hyenas Shenzi, Bonzai and Ed arrived and nearly killed poor Uncle Max. That did it. The other meerkats just wanted Timon to go away while Timon took it upon himself to leave. So he kissed his mom goodbye and started off. He didn't get very far before he started getting homesick. Just then he met Rafiki, who taught him to look beyond what he sees. Timon had no clue what that meant so he continued on and met a warthog named Pumbaa, who was all alone due to a flatulence problem. Timon and Pumbaa join up then, but Timon declared them acquaintances, rather than friends.
They soon arrive at Pride Rock where all the zebras, antelopes, wildebeests, rhinoceroses, giraffe's, elephants and many other plain animals had gathered. What was going on? Timon didn't care. They pressed on. Timon then saw Rafiki atop Pride Rock lifting into the air something he couldn't see. Just then all the animals took a bow. Was this to honor the birth of the new king? No, Pumbaa had passed gas and the animals were bowing to cover their noses; Timon and Pumbaa try an assortment of new homes, but each are discomforting due to incessant singing or hyenas or a large stampede of wildebeests! Pumbaa and Timon suddenly find themselves heading down stream. When they reach land, Timon decides to give up. But then they gaze around at their newfound paradise. It was beautiful: trees and water falls as far as the eye could see. Timon named the place after a strange phrase he learned from Rafiki: Hakuna Matata. Timon and Pumbaa go out bowling for buzzards one afternoon when they suddenly run into Simba. They take him under their wing and become father figures. They teach him the arts of bug eating and belching contests. Pretty soon, a teenage Simba takes on Timon in a snail slurping contest. Simba won, leaving Timon deathly ill.
Then one day, Simba's childhood friend Nala arrived. Timon and Pumbaa just knew she'd break up the friendship. Suddenly, Simba runs away. Nala and Pumbaa race after him, but not Timon. He chose to stay at "Hakuna Matata" by himself, until Rafiki "talked" some sense into him, so he joins his friends at Pride Rock. Timon's mother and Uncle Max arrive then. While Simba battles Scar, Mother and Max dig a large hole to trap hyenas Shenzi, Bonzai and Ed in. It worked. Scar is soon flung down the same hole where he is devoured by the hyenas. Then all is well. Mother, Uncle Max and the rest of the meerkats go live with Timon and Pumbaa in the paradise that is Hakuna Matata. Back to the present, Timon and Pumbaa finish the movie when suddenly Mother, Uncle Max, Simba and Rafiki want to watch it again. So do Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, Mad Hatter, March Hare, Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine.
Well, I must say that The Lion King 1 1/2 wasn't as good as I had hoped. It was too ridiculous and silly. The original Lion King was a masterpiece. It had a serious story with light comedy thrown in. This one was just silly and made a mockery of it. I swear, sometimes Timon and Pumbaa are just way too overplayed. They're overplayed to the point of no longer being funny, just annoying. The original voice cast is back: Nathan Lane as Timon, Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Matthew Broddrick as Adult Simba, Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi, Cheech Marin as Bonzai, Jim Cummings as Ed, Robert Guillame as Rafiki. New to the cast are Julie Kavner of TV's (Too) long running series The Simpsons as Timon's mom and Jerry Stiller as Uncle Max. So anyway, this movie isn't The Lion King III, and it isn't II because there already is a II. It takes place right after Part I and Part II is a ways away. Hence, it's 1 1/2. In conclusion, I don't recommend this to die hard Lion King fans because it's far too ridiculous and frivilous. However the kids will love it so I recommend it to them. I hope this will also be the LAST Lion King movie. Two is enough. "The Lion King 1 1/2". What we've come to expect from Disney sequel makers.
Well they tried something different, but it will probably fail to impress fans of The Lion King. Placing Timon and Pumbaa into earlier events and adding plot points later, just tarnishes the original and even contradicts it. It just seemed like a lot of, sometimes inventive, excuses to make a few cheap jokes. At least they managed to get back the majority of the original voice cast, but to imagine Pumbaa's fart caused the bowing at the beginning of the original is actually kind of annoying. By the end it is obvious that the makers were favoring parody, but these two work best as co-stars, and comic relief, rather than the heroes of the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
7 if you're a kid- 6 if you claim to be an adult. This semi-sequel to
the Lion King sees to spin off side characters Timone and Pumba,
retelling the original story through their eyes, including the story of
how they met. In the grand tradition of Disney, inferior sequels are
made, and occasionally TV series featuring the adventures of minor
characters from their biggest hits. You can be as sceptical as you want
about this, but kids and fans of the series will likely not care; their
are enough jokes and songs and interesting things to ensure that this
is one of the few above average sequels. This works because of the
charm of the much-loved central characters, the quick pace, the
in-jokes involving the first film, and for older viewers there are some
funny gags. The animation is as good as ever, if a little less
flamboyant than the original, but the plot here is all about taking it
easy, Hakuna Matata.
Timone and Pumba decide to watch the events of the first film, frequently stopping mid-film to joke about parts of it, like a real audience. We see how Timone is a near outcast, he feels he does not fit in and decides to go looking beyond what he sees to find his ideal home. On the way he meets Pumba, another outcast and they become friends. Soon they meet Simba, a Lion cub, natural predator of T and P, but they form a trio. However, when Simba realises he must follow his own destiny and leave the group, it is up to the others to decide whether to help or not, and how. Of course the usual Disney elements and themes are here, friendship, good versus evil etc. The plot is simple but works on many levels, making it smarter than your average animated movie. As the CG movies appear, Disney's traditional form must become smarter, but not forget the roots which made them popular. Toy Story and all that have come since have been clever, with jokes to suit all ages, and it seems this is the way the market is shifting. However, there will always be a place for films like this, and you cannot go wrong buying this for the youngsters.
7 out of 10
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