In case you haven't seen it, in the nations of Africa, are the Pride Lands and the sacred Pride Rock owned by lion Mufasa played by the same voice as Darth Vader, which somehow seems right for a serious but loving father. When Mufasa retires someday, his son Simba who ends up occasionally going the extra mile too early in life because of his father's not-on-purpose influences, must become king. Meanwhile, Mufasa's brother Scar is jealous and goes the extra mile, too: on trying to take the throne. He ends up teaming up with some obnoxious but hungry looking hyenas, and if you're an adult when you first watch this movie, the hyenas may seem scarier to you than the children because you probably learned of how vicious they actually are in real life Africa.
And as you know, probably because of Hakuna Matata for the few of you that haven't seen it, this is a Disney Musical. And for the first two songs, I had a smile on my face. The first song, Circle of Life (which I'm actually listening to right now) is one of the best songs I've ever heard from Disney. "I Just Can't Wait to be King" took a bit of a step down but I still enjoyed the innocent relationship between Simba and Nala shown in it, especially when Simba says, "I can't marry her. She's my best friend." And then the songs just kept getting worse and worse the more they went on. I have to confess, I can be like P. L. Travers when it comes to musicals. Thankfully, the movie isn't completely clogged with songs and there is some room for heart and a hint of humour. Not to mention how every animal (except the antagonists of course) are very likeable. Even Pumbaa is a little surrendering.
So yeah, good characters (except for Timon, who I think I would've liked more if I were still a kid), and during the second half, I was thinking a lot about giving this a B+ or B, or maybe something higher. Usually the ending is the punchline, and the ending's fine enough, (even if it's kind of dopey and doesn't kick as much butt as I was hoping) but it's the long Act 2 where I felt things fell apart. I knew the punchline in the movie like everyone else but I was willing to put it behind me and try to see it from a different angle by distracting myself by the neat visuals, but what stopped me from being surprised in any way was because the movie practically breathes the surprise on your neck and I don't think it's either funny or gets better. When Simba grows up, his voice is replaced from Jonathan Taylor Thomas to Matthew Broderick and somehow I think he was a bad choice for the voice. He just seems to have too much huffing in his voice, which I admit is like a real lion but how about Timon sounds like, well, whatever animal he is? I felt if the tragedy was a bit more Simba's fault, I would've found it more heart-pumping.
But I can't give this movie thumbs down, not at the moment, anyway. Because of it's innocence, cuteness and occasionally smart humour, it just feels wrong.