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)