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on September 4, 2002
For years, Disney has been trying to capitalize on their big animated film blockbusters by making cheap direct-to-video sequels. With lower quality animation, weak retreads of the original story, replacements in the celebrity voice talent and new songs leaving much to desire, they usually aren't even worth a rental. But The Lion King II is definitely worth at least a rental.
Perhaps it was because of the films major success as the highest grossing animated film of all time, but somehow when it came time to make Simba's Pride, the producers put a little extra effort into it.
The animation is close to the original's quality. Crisp beautiful colors saturate the African landscape and much of the fire is computer animated. It's obvious the animators took their time to make it a beautiful looking film.
Also, it avoided another common fall of the direct-to-video market: almost all of the voice talent returns. Even James Earl Jones supplies a few lines as Mufasa.
The story, though very similar to the original, is fitting and has enough twists to seem fresh. This is the story of Simba's daughter, not Simba. Sure this is definitely an unnecessary sequel, but as far as unnecessary sequels, this one holds its own.
If there was one major failing of this film, it's that the new songs are pretty pathetic. Compared to the original songs by Elton John and company, these ones lack their emotion and catchiness. The opening song is beautiful, but it is lifted from a "songs inspired by the Lion King" album released just after the original film came out. Fortunately, the film manages not to re-use songs from the original film, which always feels like a cop-out.
Also, there are just a few times in the film where the pacing feels rushed. Compared to other direct-to-video films, this is much better in the pacing department, but there are still a few minor problems. Mostly nit-picks.
Overall, this one is the exception to the Disney video sequel rule. Unfortunately the songs still left a bad taste in my mouth, bad enough to give it only 3 stars. But it's a high 3 stars!
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on June 9, 2004
Yeah, I know that this direct-to-video sequel was put out to cash in even more so on the original, which itself grossed over $300 in U.S. box office receipts to become the most successful Disney film ever! However, after watching this a couple of years back and revisiting it today, I know that there was another, much better, reason: four years after THE LION KING, we were all missing the characters...and we were hungry for more. As much as us fans of the original did not want the possibility of having the franchise tainted by an inferior sequel, it seemed to be worth the risk.
And it was. In 1998, Disney got most of the principal voice-over actors back from the original---Matthew Broderick as Simba, Moira Kelly as Nala, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella as Timon & Pumbaa, respectively, and of course, Robert Guillaume as the hilarious Rafiki---and made THE LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE, which follows our favorite Lion hero (and King) & family as they pick up from where they left off in the first film. Now Simba is the King and his young offspring is a lioness cub named Kiara; he's the worried dad in this one, always fearing for the safety of the young precocious girl, but they're nevertheless a happy family just the same. Of course, danger lurks in the shadows, as Zira (Suzanne Pleshette---yes, *that* Suzanne Pleshette), the villainous ex-mate of Scar, is training her young son Kovu to grow up to avenge Scar's death by killing Simba. However, Rafiki, the silly-acting but nevertheless wise monkey, finds out to his horrified amazement that Kiara and Kovu are destined for each other. Sure enough, Kiara and Kovu meet each other as cubs and take an immediate strong liking to each other. Can true love overcome true evil?
This film, by itself, is very well-written and acted, with excellent production values for the fact that it is a direct-to-video sequel. It has really no flaws of its own, just one obvious inconsistency between it and the first film: Scar's 'ex-mate' Zira (and, by extension, Kovu) simply did not exist in the original THE LION KING! She was obviously made up just to have a sequel. However, this is the only major thing to overlook, and if you can forgive this movie for it, then you should be able to easily enjoy yourself. As I said, this is a good animated movie, and I recommend it for any fan of the original. This sequel isn't quite as dark; however, I still would not recommend showing it to very young kids. Suzanne Pleshette does a surprisingly good job as the evil, scheming, vengeful Zira (basically a female versdion of old Scar himself). Neve Campbell does a solid job as the voice of the adult Kiara, and Jason Marsden does excellently as the conflicted Kovu, who wants to do good, but...he made a promise to his mother...didn't he?!
Listen, THE LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE is not the masterpiece that THE LION KING is...however, it is much better than it perhaps should be. Fans of the original should definitely own it.
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on December 14, 2003
I loved the first Lion King movie when I first saw it in the movies when I was four. I watched it everyday, I knew the songs by heart, ect. When I was 8 and I found out there was going to be a Lion King II, I bought it right away when it came out, and when I saw it, I was hooked! I'm 13 now, and I'm still hooked. :) LOL.
The story takes place after the first Lion King movie with Simba and Nala's daughter, Kiara. Just like her dad, Kiara is adventourous and very curious. Simba is very protective of his daughter, and doesn't her stray far from watchful eyes. One day while playing in the Pride Lands (along with being followed by Timon & Pumbaa) Kiara sneaks off to the forbiddon Outlands, and meets a young lion cub named Kovu. The 2 cubs become best friends, but when Simba and Zira (Kovu's mother) find out the 2 our friends, they forbid Kovu and Kiara to see eachother, since, Zira tells Simba, that Kovu was chosen by her mate Scar "to follow in his pawprints and become king". Simba tells Kovu and Zira to leave, and so do heading for the Outlands. Simba takes Kiara back to Pride Rock and explaines to her that she is the future queen of the Pride Lands, and "We are all apart of the Circle of Life. We are one".
Meanwhile in the Outlands, Zira teaches Kovu how to hate, and to kill Simba for control of the Pride Lands. Kovu & Kiara don't see eachother for many years, until they reunite as young adults. Kovu asks Simba to join the pride, and Simba agrees. At his stay at Pride Rock, instead of killing Simba, Kovu teachers Kiara how to hunt, and Kiara teachers Kovu how to have fun. Soon Kovu & Kiara fall in love. But then while Simba and Kovu are taking a walk in the Pride Lands, Zira and the Outsiders ambush them! Kovu escapes, but Simba is injured. At Pride Rock, Simba thinks Kovu lead him into the trap. Kovu pleads to Simba for forgiveness, but Simba does not listen, and sentences Kovu to excile. Upset, Kiara follows Kovu, and the 2 young lions know "love will find a way" for them to be together. In the Pride Lands, the Pride Land lions and Outland lions are fighting for Pride Rock. But then when Kovu and Kiara appear, Kiara tells Simba that everyone is apart of the Circle of Life. Outraged, Zira tries to attack Simba, but Kiara blocks her way, and the 2 lionesses tumble in a ravine. Kiara survives, but Zira is never seen again. And so, the Pride Land lions and Outland lions take their place in the Circle of Life. And Kovu & Kiara are together at last.
I recommend "The Lion King II" to all Lion King fans. Buy it now, and trust me, you WON'T be dissapointed! :)
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on June 16, 2004
I've never really liked Disney sequels (ie, Peter Pan 2, Pocahontas 2, Little Mermaid 2, etc...), but this one is an exception. The story follows the adventures of Simba's daughter, Kiara. All she wants to do is explore the Pride Lands unsupervised, but her father fears for her safety. One morning little Kiara goes wandering off too far, ends up in the forbidden "Out Lands", and meets another young cub named Kovu. They become great friends against Simba's and Zera's (Kovu's mom's) wishes. It's pretty much a total conflict between the Pride Landers and the Outsiders, ending up with Kiara and Kovu having to solve the problem. The story isn't too bad, but Disney sequels can always use some improvement, as usual. My sister and I still have fun pretending to be Kiara and Kovu. And the animation isn't top notch, but it's good. To round it all out, I think the kids will probably enjoy it. Go ahead and give it a try, but I can't promise you that you'll like it. Me and my sis have always enjoyed it ever since we bought it though, so I'm sure somebody in the family will love it. :)
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on January 5, 2004
When I first heard about the sequel to "The Lion King", I was dismayed. Word was, this would be a direct to video incarnation, and images of the lackluster 'Return of Jafar" swam in my head. WOW!!Was I wrong!!! Reuniting most of the primary cast of the first film ( Rowan Atkinson is mysteriously absent), "The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride " provides us with an enchanting take on the "Romeo and Juliet" theme. Sporting both a clever script and top of the line animation (rumor has it that this was originally intended to be the next Disney theatrical release, then got sent to the television animation studio to make way for the impending arrival of the inferior "Pocohantas"), this film delivers on all levels. Bottom line- if you were a fan of "The Lion King", you will most definitely enjoy this film. Trust me..I didnt think I would, but this film proved to me that it isn't so much a sequel, as an equal. Bravo to all involved in this masterful production!!!
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on December 2, 2003
I don't understand the people who try to make fool connections between the real world and an annimated disney movie. Yeah, there are some holes in the plot and everything, but the first movie...geeez, it was the best of all disney movies, but Simba was growing up by eating bugs and insects...does that make any sense for an adult lion at all??? so do not try to make any sense of most of the things in these sort of movies. To me, the characters were really well drawn here, maybe much better than the 1st one, if I have to compare them. (I mean their personalities.) They have their own individualities and strenghts. Simba is cool as usual, and now more mature as how a king and father is supposed to be. He is not a boy anymore, he became a man. Yeah, Nala, Zazu, even Sarabi, Sarafina and the whole lion clans relationships with Simba could have been reflected a little better, but so what? It is still beautiful, and it would be ridiculous to compare it to the first. This movie also tries to fill some gaps that the first movie had in it's story plot.
It could have been a little longer and the background music would be much better with a Hans Zimmer touch, but still, a true Disney classic to me. Plus, it is not another Romeo & Juliet cliché like in westside story, but it is more than that.
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on March 23, 2002
The Lion King II-Simba's Pride is a better than excellent movie! I really loved it. I watched it at a friend's house a few months ago and we all loved it. Simba is grown up and has mated with his childhood sweetheart Nala. He has a daughter, Kiara, who wanders onto the territory belonging to Scar's mate, Zira. She starts playing with Zira's son, Kovu, but soon Zira finds out and she snarls and all. Simba comes to the rescue and forbids Kiara to go there again. Kovu is sent to Simba's territory to live there and kill him. But, like any Disney movie, Kovu and Kiara fall in love! It's about the relationships between Kiara and Kovu and Simba and Kovu. In the end there is a fight, but I'm not going to tell you who dies or lives! Watch this movie that brings The Lion King back to life!
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on August 2, 2002
Alright, I never saw the DVD, but the video, and I thought it superb. A friend of mine lent me Stuart Little, Lady & the Tramp 2, and the Lion King 2, three movies I've been wanting to see for a long while.
I first watched the Lion King 2, and I instantly fell in love with the movie, the music, and the characters. The songs are simply wonderful, and the story is very romantic, but full of plenty of action.
I loved it so much I watched it about 10 times and never touched the other two movies!
It would, however, be wise to rent/borrow it before buying it, just incase you don't like it...
But I can't see why anyone would hate it!!
Take my advice and buy this wonderful movie...
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on December 22, 2002
This was definatley a great movie true, it's not queit as good as the animated classic The Lion King, but it's still a great movie. Disney is generally terrible with seqeuls, but this is a major exception. This is a love story similar to Romeo and Juliet, but with a much happier ending.It's about Simba's duaghter, and a male lion from Scar's tribe.They meet by accident when she goes into territory that's supossed to be off limits(now, who does that remind you of?) They were going to run away, but then decide to go back and talk their families into making peace with one another
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on November 15, 2001
Simba from The Lion King finds himself to be a parent in this movie, now he must learn more as King than ever before, and only the spirit of his father to guide him, Simba has to make a choice, but his daughter, Kiara, finally shows him the correct path to winning the war, not against the Outsiders, but against himself. A relatively good sequel, but some pieces of the story are questionable. But nonetheless, if you have children, then they will enjoy this movie.
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