The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

the lion king animated movie - simba on rock
King of all “the sun touches.” Not bad, eh?

This week the rebooted version of The Lion King arrives in theaters. But before that happens, I want to say a few things. To start with, the original 1994 Lion King is one of the best Disney movies EVER. For me, it’s right after The Little Mermaid, and that’s saying a lot.

The Lion King came out during the Disney Renaissance, rescuing Disney from the doldrums of mediocre films they were plagued with post-Golden Age. To have this movie as a remake now, as a “live action” reboot (it’s all CGI, folks), is a BIG BIG deal. The live action versions of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Dumbo don’t even come close. The Lion King is da biggie.

So I did a rewatch last night of the animated classic. And guess what? It not only held up over the years, but surpassed my memories. The Lion King is simply spectacular, in every way. It’s filmatically beautiful, has a great plot, cool characters, good musical interludes, and some truly enjoyable humor.

And Hakana Matata? Well, if I could live a life of “No worries”, I’d be a happy human.

So, the film. If you watch the gorgeous opening scene, I challenge you to not cry for joy. “The Circle Of Life” is one of the best movie introductions ever set to film. I can’t think of anything else that comes close. (Let me know if you can in the comment section below.)

I have a really, really long list of cool thoughts and notes I took during my rewatch, but Comic Con in San Diego starts tonight, and I have to get ready to become a Jedi Knight. So what I’ll do is make a simple bullet-point listing and add my handwritten notes to this article as the week goes on.

I’ll also be Live-Tweeting Comic Con. And now I must be going. I think you’ll like my Lion King notes, once I add them. There’s a lot to discuss.

In the meantime, enjoy the original 1994 Lion King trailer:

Surprise! The Lion King is a Hamlet Remake

lion king characters
Lion King Crew. You can probably name every character here.

As you may know there, is a controversy that surrounds The Lion King. The fact that it possibly stole its entire movie from one called Kimba the White Lion is one ting…but we’re not talking about that here. We are going to be talking about how the Lion King is basically Hamlet with lions.

And yes, I mean the Shakespeare Hamlet too, and not some play or movie about a baby pig. So if you don’t know Hamlet like you should, here’s a brief reminder:

The king has a brother and that brother kills the king. The king prior to death had a son. The son now has to kill his uncle and reclaim the throne. 

There’s the very short and sweet reminder of Hamlet. (Sparknotes should take notes on how it’s done.) Either way, today I’m going to be comparing the Lion King (which is loosely based on Hamlet) to Hamlet (1996), which is essentially a word for word re-imagining. Obviously, this battle is pretty even. Let’s compare the two and see how they stack up to each other.

The Villain—

First things first, Scar and Claudius and drastically different characters for the better of each story. Scar, I would say, is a dictator, where as Claudius is a king. Claudius is very methodical and punctual with his words and actions, where as Scar when he gets power runs everything downhill. Scar doesn’t think about the betterment of all his people, but Claudius does. That said, it does mean that it’s more satisfying to see Scar lose in the end, than it is to see Claudius lose.

But if I had to give it up to which movie killed off its villain better, I would go with Hamlet.

Hamlet fighting scene
Hamlet fights for his right to party.

The Love Interest—

We have Nala and Ophelia. Nala is basically a side character that only really serves for one music number, and to push the main character to fulfill their destiny. Weirdly enough, Ophelia has a musical number too. Nala is very basic — interesting and better than most side characters in movies — but still basic. Ophelia starts out as a confused girl who then just snaps to crazy. It’s kind of jarring, but she dies shortly after, so it’s all good.

simba and nala in lion king
Hamlet and The Lion King. One lady is insane. And the other is a princess. Do you recall which is which?

Ghost Dad—

Weird one to put in, but I wanted to mention it. In Hamlet, ghost dad simply acts as like a Macguffin to inform Hamlet about the foul play in his death. But ghost dad in Lion King acts as a guiding light for Simba. When Simba is confused and unsure, ghost dad comes in to guide him in the right direction. Ghost dad in Hamlet just yells at his son to avenge his murder.

Hamlet/Simba—

The main man/lion. I’m going to keep this bareboned. Simba is a scared, confused, yet growing character who realizes what needs to happen, and grows to become the lion he needs to be. Hamlet just kinda goes from mad to slightly insane, then back to mad.

Kenneth Branagh still brings many complex emotions through his acting, but the character as a whole has just about those three emotions, looking back on it.

The Queen—

The queens are completely different characters in these movies. In Hamlet she is a woman who loves her son, marries a murderer willingly, and falls victim to the king’s evil ploys against Hamlet. In Lion King the queen is not really seen ,but from what we do see she is forced into marriage, doesn’t put up with the “king’s” rule, but still loves her son. 

hamlet the movie
You can’t beat a good confetti cannon.

Overall, The Lion King vs Hamlet–

In the end, if I honestly had to say which of these movies is better, that would depend on who you are.

If you’re an absolute film nerd and want to see something beautifully done, you can watch both of these. If you mainly love Shakespeare, then watch Hamlet, since it’s more true to the original tale.

But let’s face it, you’re not just watching 4 hours worth of movie regardless of any high praise I could give it, if you’re a true fan of good films. 

The Lion King – Can Disney Remake a Masterpiece?

My two cents worth as I anticipate The Lion King this week. I’m fascinated to see how Disney can remake a masterpiece. The original movie was amazing, and the stage musical was also, in an entirely different way. When my daughter, Destiny, and I saw the musical in Chicago, we were absolutely blown away by the production and costumes. I didn’t think I could love the movie anymore, but I did even more after the musical experience.

Destiny and I love ALL things Disney, and we are amazed at their attention to detail.  I’ve also taken the leadership course at Disney Institute, and their behind the scenes operational ethics are inspiring. For example, when Disney was making the Lion King musical, they spent months figuring out how to make the stage elephant blink perfectly, timely, and look real, simultaneously.

I especially can’t wait until I see the opening scene of the movie. I literally cry every time I see it, and I cried during the musical as well. They used live animals to enter from the back of the theatre, and walked to the stage (Pride Rock) —  and it was absolutely the most amazing and breathtaking thing I had seen in all my life.

Like many of you, I’ve seen The Lion King, via DVD, more than 25 times, and I know every scene and song. So to say, I’ll be especially sensitive watching the remake to ensure Disney didn’t ruin my ultimate love affair with my DVD replay. This is an understatement. I’m sure Disney is feeling the pressure too, but if I know them at all, this too, will be A+ amazing.

So don’t underestimate the magic of Disney. Walt Disney and the entire staff thrive on his words: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  And on Thursday, July 19, Disney. will. do. it. again! (Exhale)

The Lion King – Lyrics and Video to Hakuna Matata

The Lion Sleeps Tonight Lyrics & Video from The Lion King

 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight Lyrics & Video from The Lion King

the lion king animated movie - simba on rock
King of all he surveys. Not bad, eh?

Innnn the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonigtttt…..A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh…

This classic song is well known, but most don’t realize the name isn’t In the Jungle. Even if you ask Alexa for In the Jungle, she knows what song you mean but corrects you first: it’s called The Lion Sleeps Tonight. But I honestly think a lot of people just sing A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh a few times, and everyone gets the reference. Remind me to run that by Alexa later. 🙂

In the meantime, this 1961 tune, by whatever name, is a fun karaoke favorite. The lyrics fit perfectly into Disney’s 1994 animated The Lion King.

The Lion King is among the top movies of the beloved Disney Renaissance Period, along with The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and a small second handful of Top Tier movies…many of which, including The Lion King, are undergoing a remake phase. (Dumbo got the same treatment, but it’s thematically, deeply problematic.)

The upcoming “live action” Lion King technically isn’t one. It’s entirely CGI. (Duh.) But from the trailers it looks exciting enough, and will hopefully retain the best musical numbers, including The Circle of Life,  Hakuna Matata, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Let’s get excited and ready for the retelling of Simba, Nala, Timone, and Pumbaa (And James Earl Jones is back to reprise his seminal role!) by learning the words to The Lion Sleeps and singing along. Song clip is followed by the lyrics below!

Song to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, by The Tokens, 1961

Lyrics to The Lion Sleeps Tonight

(By The Tokens)

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

Near the village the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village the quiet village
The lion sleeps tonight

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh

Hush my darling don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight
Hush my darling don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh
A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh…

(Songwriters: George David Weiss / Hugo E. Peretti / Luigi Creatore
The Lion Sleeps Tonight lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC)

The Lion King – Lyrics and Video to Hakuna Matata

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)

Dumbo – Lyrics and Video to the Original Disney Classic Song Baby Mine

The Lion King – Lyrics and Video to Hakuna Matata

the lion king log scene
We should all try to live the hakuna matata lifestyle…

The most charming song in the  1994’s beloved The Lion King is where Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba sing Hakuna Matata. Which means, as the meerkat and wildebeast cheerfully describe, “No worries.” A good philosophy…can you watch this scene without smiling?

It’s pleasant, funny, and even meaningful — remember the iconic moment where the three friends walk across a log, signaling the passage of time as Simba grows from cub to adult lion? (Sniff. Awww.)

Something you probably didn’t know is that Elton John was one of the songwriters for this sweet little film little interlude. We can only hope Hakuna Matata is included in the rebooted “live action” (actually CGI) Lion King movie, out this summer in 2019.

Note: Hakuna Matata’s got…farting and belching jokes. A little risque for 1990s Disney, but it underlies the underdog and acceptance theme well. We would all be lucky to have accepting, affectionate friends like Pumbaa and Timone. We should also try to adopt a certain No Worries mind-set in such troublesome times. We’d all be a lot happier and nicer to each other. 🙂

Watch the Hakuna Matata sequence and learn the lyrics (below)

Lyrics to The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

Why, when he was a young warthog
When I was a young wart-hoooog!
Very nice!
Thanks!
He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal
He could clear the Savannah after every meal
I’m a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned
And it hurt that my friends never stood downwind
And oh, the shame
(He was ashamed!)
Thought of changin’ my name
(Oh, what’s in a name?)
And I got downhearted
(How did you feel?)
Every time that I-
Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
Oh… sorry

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries
For the rest of your days
Yeah, sing it, kid!
It’s our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata

Hakuna
It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata…

[Songwriters: Elton John / Tim Rice
Hakuna Matata lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company]

Movie Review – Toy Story 4

Movie Review - Toy Story 4Vera and I saw the movie together and collaborated on the Peetimes. We agreed that Toy Story 4 deserves an A. It has everything you could want: fun action for the kids, plenty of humor, especially with the two new toys Bunny and Ducky — voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key respectively — and a really well thought out villain, if you can call Gabby a villain.

I found this movie to be a pleasure to watch. In many ways it’s more real than most of the “real” movies today. Everyone knows that things will “work out” in the end, but there was really uncertainty in what the characters would decide to do.

This is Pixar at its finest.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Toy Story 4 is packed with action, and plot development, and jumps between short scenes of different groups of toys. That makes it difficult to find Peetimes. All of the Peetimes are decent, but short. The 2nd Peetime is recommended because it’s the longest, almost 4 minutes long.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Toy Story 4. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Top Toy Story Adventures You May Have Missed

Toy Story 4 is finally here.  Everyone knows and loves Buzz and Woody.  But do you remember the time Buzz got lost in the ball pit at Poultry Palace?  Or the time Rex held a rave in the bath tub? Or the creepy hotel where the toys started disappearing?  If not, there are some adventures you may have missed. Buzz and the gang have appeared in more than just the three feature-length films most us know them from.  If you need to catch up, we’ve got your back. Here are the Toy Story adventures you may have missed and where to find them.

Toy Story Toons:  These three Pixar shorts all take place after Toy Story 3 and involve the toys adapting to their new life with Bonnie.  

Hawaiian Vacation

History:  This cartoon originally played before Cars 2.

Plot:  When Ken and Barbie miss out on Bonnie’s Hawaiian vacation, the other toys recreate Hawaii in Bonnie’s room for them.  

Where to find it:  Available as a bonus feature on the Cars 2 DVD and Blu-ray

Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Small Fry

History:  This cartoon originally played before The Muppets in 2011.

Plot:  Buzz is replaced by a miniature fast food toy version of himself in a case of mistaken identity.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Partysaurus Rex

History:  This cartoon originally played before the 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo in 2012.

 

Plot:  Rex learns to relax and have fun with the help of the bath time toys.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available as a bonus feature on the 3D Blu-ray and updated Blu-ray of Monsters, Inc.

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

TV Specials

These specials are also set after Toy Story 3 and the toys belong with Bonnie.

Toy Story of Terror!

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in October of 2013.  

Plot:  The toys are on a road trip with Bonnie and her mother when the car gets a flat tire.  They have to stay at a motel for the night. One by one, toys start to go missing.

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital (It comes with all three Toy Story Toons as a bonus feature.)  

 

Toy Story That Time Forgot

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in December of 2014.  

Plot:  Buzz, Woody, Trixie, and Rex have a playdate with the Battlesaurs who are dangerously unaware that they are toys.   

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital

 

If you’re a fan of the Toy Story Universe, these are definitely worth your time.  Even though they aren’t feature length, the same thought and care has been put into these shorter cartoons.  They even include the same celebrity voice cast. These make a great appetizer to whet your palette for Part 4, or as a dessert after seeing it.  Especially since Toy Story 4 will be the first Pixar movie to be shown without a short since the original Toy Story.

You know what else is worth your time?  Our amazing app that tells you when to pee during all the wide release movies and if there are scenes after the credits. Never miss an important movie moment again with the RunPee app.  Be sure to use it when you see Toy Story 4. Or any other kid flick this summer! We’ve already got Peetimes for Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2.  And we’ll have Peetimes for The Lion King and Artemis Fowl, so you won’t miss a second of movie magic. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news. 

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

I miss a lot of animated features working for RunPee, since that’s really RunPee Mom’s genre, and I see mostly science fiction, fantasy, and superhero blockbusters. So little gems like Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs from Sony’s Animation Studio frequently slip past my radar for years. I just caught it with a congenial friend on Netflix and was pretty charmed.

The technobabble plot isn’t exciting and the characters aren’t actually memorable, but the creative scenes of food, food, and more food plummeting from the sky is distinctive and sort of brilliant. What happens to get to the point of hot dog hail, ice cream snow, nacho cheese fountains, meatball asteroids, and spaghetti tornadoes is beside the point.

Kids will enjoy the utter weirdness of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but more pleasingly, there’s a lot of bizarre adult humor that will go right over kids’ heads. I kept looking at my friend in mild shock when they went places I normally find a bit risque (like nipple hair reacting to the changing weather). The wacky background signs and funny throw-away lines are worth a few rewind giggles. Honestly, I expect no less from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo later responsible for the absolutely brilliant Lego Movie films.

Apparently the sequel isn’t worth seeing, so I’m quitting while I’m ahead — this isn’t the Toy Story saga, after all. But if you’re bored and looking for an amiable story with a unique disaster theme and yellow Jello palaces, give this flick a try.

As a plus, the heroes dig science — always a good message in my book.

Movie Grade: C+

Are the Four Lego Movies Sequels or Prequel Films?

Movie Review – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Movie Review – The LEGO Movie

Movie Review – The Secret Life of Pets 2

 

Movie Review - The Secret Life of PetsSo here is what I hope: The Secret Life of Pets becomes its own universe, much like the Minions, and we can continue to enjoy the antics of Max, Duke and Snowball. There’s so much story left to tell about these citified critters who can’t stop getting into mischief. And now with the addition of Liam, the new kid on the block, there’s so much potential for crazy action and crazy love.

Much credit goes to the writer, Brian Lynch. He fleshed out the characters to the point that they’re very real to us, and that’s what a great movie needs: someone to care about.

The plot of the movie was, although not original, how do city dwellers fare in the great outdoors? We’ve seen this trope played out in television (Green Acres), and movies (City Slickers), and it never gets old. Heck, I’ve been a part of this trope when I graduated from my rural middle school with a student population of 35 kids, to a city high school with a population of over 400. Those first few months were both comical and embarrassing, much like Max’s first few days on the farm.

I whole-heartedly recommend this movie for the entire family, and if you’re not satisfied, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I’ll give back to you the 90 minutes spent watching it.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes:

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Secret Life of Pets. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some action and rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – The Secret Life Of Pets

Movie Review – Minions

Despicable Me 2 – movie review

The Animated 1978 Godzilla Cartoon – Lyrics & Video

godzilla from the animate tv series
Godzilla’s a good guy here, FYI.

Do you remember the old 1978 Hanna-Barbera  TV Godzilla cartoon that used to play during the Saturday morning children’s lineup?

What I really remember liking was that it featured Godzilla as a hero. I I like that perspective a lot more than OMG BIG MONSTER MUST DIE. That’s part of the reason I consider the 1998 Matthew Broderick Godzilla vehicle a tragic tale. He was just an animal trying to eat and reproduce, after all. I re-watched that Godzilla last night to see if it was better than I remembered, and NOPE, still not a good film.

Back to the cartoon…Godzilla was the gigantic savior of every episode. And it was cool. You had to ignore a lot of improbabilities by having a massively, non-verbal deadly force of nature available at the push of a button in your pocket, and the implications therein. And everything about the show spoke of bare-bones- budgets, with a studio desperate to find a niche (thus, the widely-despised .Godzooki. I didn’t about any of this in  1978, And you wan’t watch me rewatcing these half hour stories to glow in the nostalgia. But the cartoon into is well worth a revisit. If you were one of those kids like me, you already know the words (I’ve listed them for you anyway.)

Check out this trailer:

And as far as I am concerned, Godzookie is a Scrappy-Doo. Arg. Notice the whip-lash tonal shift when he flies through. Weird. But then it’s back to the awesome sound and fury of GODZILLA!

Lyrics to Godzilla

(Hanna-Barbera, 1978)

Up from the depths.
Thirty stories high.
Breathing fire!
HIS HEAD IN THE SKY!
GODZILLA!
GODZILLA!
GODZILLA!
….and Godzookie….
GODZILLAAAAAAA!

godzuki from animated tv show godzilla
Godzuki, the Scrappy-Doo of Monsters.

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Godzilla – movie review