The Lion King 2: Simbas Pride on DVD
by Johnny Bray
The Lion King 2: Simbas Pride takes everything you loved about the first
Lion King and throws it in the garbage.
Upon initial inspection, it would appear to be the perfect sequel: the same
characters, some brand new ones, the original voice cast (sans Rowan Atkinson,
unfortunately), and a brand-new story.
You quickly learn, however, that its all just a sham. The story itself
is pretty much the same, just shifted down a generation. This time its
Simbas daughter, Kiara (voiced by Neve Cambpell), that is the mischievous
one, always disobeying her father and running off to find adventure on her own.
And now that Scar is dead, his cronies are even more upset that those likable
lions are running Pride Rock. Zira (Suzanne Pleshette) seems even less friendly
than Scar, wanting nothing more than to kill Simba and every other lion who
But sure enough, Ziras son, Kovu (Jason Marsden) meets Kiara and the
two hit it off. At that point the movie becomes a mixture of The Lion King and
Romeo & Juliet, but if neither tale had any shred of entertainment value.
The new characters are all pretty standard, none of them standing out. They
do raise the question as to why Scar didnt use all his lion friends to
help him conquer Pride Rock in the first movie, rather than enlisting the help
of his seemingly useless hyena buddies.
Unusual for a direct-to-video sequel, at least they managed to get the original
voices back. But before you cheer, you should know that most of them not only
have very little screen time, but most of them dont even sound like the
original voices. Matthew Broderick, Moira Kelly, and even Nathan Lane and Ernie
Sabella all sound just a little bit off. And the aforementioned absence of Rowan
Atkinson makes you wonder why they bothered to include Zazu at all if his voice
was going to be so terrible this time around.
Oh yes, and the brand-new songs all pretty much suck. You can tell there was
no collaboration with anyone who knows anything about writing songs, so they
all just seem tacked on to continue the tradition.
On the other hand, even through all these complaints, The Lion King 2 is still
a Disney animated feature and therefore watchable. There are plenty of bright
colors and likeable (enough) characters and non-stop goings-on. If youre
easily charmed by the Disney fare, youll probably find enough in this
sequel to keep you sufficiently entertained.
When The Lion King 2 was originally released to VHS in the late 90s, it became
the biggest selling home video title of the year. Now, with its DVD release,
its sure to become a massive hit again, even if the disc presentation
is as standard as the movie.
Presented in family-friendly 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, the
picture sparkles. Colors are plentiful and very rich and sharp, and there is
no dust or grain present anywhere on the screen. If theyd spent as much
time on the movie as they did on the video, there would have been little to
Audio gives you the option of either Dolby Digital or dts 5.1 tracks, and both
are pretty good. Surrounds are surprisingly timid considering all the action
and singing and dancing in the film. Dialogue and most of the sound effects
are separated nicely between the front channels, and while the rear speakers
are working quite a bit, theres just not the kind of volume or power youd
expect (or want).
Its not hard to tell Disney is targeting the kiddies with the extras.
Disc one features a fact track about lions and Africa and the like, and a song
selection that lets you skip to any song in the movie (whoop-de-doo).
Disc two has plenty more, but most of it looks better than it is (and lets
just mention that this is yet another two-disc special edition that could easily
have fit on one disc). First off is a brand-new animated short called One
by One, and basically involves a kite flying while bad African music plays
in the background. There are also some Find Out Why shorts in which
Timon and Pumbaa give us some explanations for certain scientific phenomena
like sneezing and wind. Its kinda cute, but strictly for the wee ones.
Lots About Lions is a short featurette about, well
also a short making-of featurette thats pure fluff, a few interactive
games, a music video, and another virtual safari with Timon and Pumbaa. Much
like the first one, its a good idea and has promise, but it gets pretty
old pretty fast.
Much like the movie, the DVD is much more likely to entertain kids than their
parents. But if itll keep them occupied for a few minutes, its probably
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