Most helpful positive review
A Sharp, Clever Follow-up Worthy of the Original
on July 16, 2004
Having had a bad experience with made-for-video Disney sequels before (102 Dalmatians, anyone? Yikes!) I was expecting the worst from this, but my son's such a big Lion King fan that I got it for him anyway. I was VERY pleasantly surprised!
The backstory of Timon and Pumba, while a little convoluted, provides the perfect backdrop and explanation of how their paths ended up intersecting with Simba's in the original. As a result, all the "important" events in the original film are cleverly winked at as mere background noise to the oblivious Timon and Pumba. I was reminded of Tom Stoppard's brilliant comedy, <i>Rosencrantz and Guildenstein Are Dead</i>, where the 2 least important people in Shakespeare's "Hamlet" take center stage and the tale of the Danish Prince is shoved to the background. In the Lion King 1 1/2, the presenting of the baby Simba is literally stumbled upon by Timon and Pumba, and they have no idea what's going on and shrug off the big crowds and commotion as a total annoyance. It was very funny.
I agree that the ad-libbing was a bit distracting and the songs weren't entirely necessary, especially the meerkat song which is catchy anyway. But the story itself is very smart, and the animation has the nuanced look of the original film, not the technicolor overkill of "Simba's Pride" and the terrible "Timon and Pumba" Saturday morning series. In addition, the DVD itself is chock full of excellent extras, including a few music videos and a "Virtual Safari" that entertained my son for nearly an hour. And the Mickey Hunt is tons of fun as well.
In conclusion, though it's not a masterful effort like the original was, it's probably one of the best, if not the best, straight-to-video sequel Disney's ever put out. You won't regret this one, and it's guaranteed to not collect any dust in your video collection!