Twenty years ago today, the Lion King opened in wide release. I was 12 at the time, slightly past my prime Disney years, so the Lion King was never my #1 jam (which just means I've only seen it, say, 10 times instead of 1,000). But in honor of the Lion King's birthday, I re-watched it to see if it still holds up! Let's go!
Welcome to Africa! It's the crack of dawn and some motherfucker is singing REALLY FUCKING LOUD. I don't speak Zulu, but I believe the lyrics roughly translate to: "WAKE THE FUCK UP, ANIMALS, IT'S TIME FOR THE BABY KING'S LION BIRTHDAY PARTY AND NO ONE CARES ABOUT HOW HUNGOVER YOU ARE."
Rhino is like whut. Antelopes are like whut. Meerkats are like is this guy GD serious. Cheetah is like let me walk up this hill for a better view of you waking me up. Scrotum birds are like yo, really? Mom giraffe is like, "YES, you have to go to the birthday party. It's my boss's kid." Baby giraffe is like, "BUT WHAT KIND OF PSYCHO HAS THEIR BIRTHDAY PARTY AT 5 AM!?!?" Leaf-cutter ants are like sorry, man, couldn't get the day off. Elephants are cool, they love a party. Toucan is like lol suckers I can fly.
They all gather around this big rock with a lion at the top. This krazy baboon climbs up there and hugs the lion like they are old bros, which probably would not happen. Then this woman-lion is like look over here, baboon, I've got a baby! And baboon is like JACKPOT! So the baboon rubs some jam on the baby and then throws dirt in its face, and then he dangles the baby off the edge of the rock with some Michael Jackson blanket-head realness. You know, LIKE THEY DO IN AFRICA.
Then god is like whut with this light beam. And baby lion is like WHUT. And the monkeys are like OH FUCK I LOVE THIS JAM-HEAD BABY SO MUCH.
Meanwhile, Kissass Toucan goes to visit this other lion named Scar who's just chilling in a cave nursing his wasting disease. The toucan's mad at Scar for missing the baby-dangling jam ceremony. Scar eats the toucan. Luckily, Mufasa (Scar's brother, the main man-lion from earlier) comes into the cave and is like, "Do not eat my toucan, please, I need him for blathering and ineffectual childcare." Scar's like FINE.
The baby lion is named Simba. Mufasa takes him up to the top of this rock and is like, "See everything? That's yours." Because some day Simba will succeed Mufasa as king...of...Africa?
I don't really understand how this form of government works. First of all, they leave out the part where Mufasa just FUCKS ALL THE LADY LIONS. Because that is definitely part of the deal. But second of all, what are Mufasa's administrative responsibilities? And why should the zebras and the antelopes trust him to look out for their best interests!?!?! If, once per day, Barack Obama killed and ate three of my cousins, I'm not sure how long I'd be a registered democrat.
Oh, but don't worry. Mufasa has some bullshit explanation: "Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass." Yeah, um, you sure the antelopes are cool with that? I mean...the elephants and the zebras also become the grass. Couldn't one of them be king, seeing as they've never killed and eaten a single one of their subjects? I just feel like the grass to murder ratio is a little off in your leogarchy.
Anyhoo, Simba goes running back to Uncle Scar (remember when you were too young to know which uncles were creepy?) all braggin' about how he's going to be king of Pride Rock some day. This is a sore spot for Scar, who really, really wants to be the king because he LOVES LION BUREAUCRACY, I guess. So then, all nonchalant and shit, he decides to just murder Simba and resume his position as Mufasa's #2. Say what you will about Scar, but when the dude has an idea, he commits. Simba isn't just a baby, he's a KITTEN. Can you imagine if there was a kitten that was also your nephew? The only thing less murderable than that would be if, like, the knowledge of how to make chocolate chip cookies only existed in the mind of a mini-horse that was also your grandma.
So anyway, Scar tells Simba about this really cool forbidden elephant graveyard (kind of a misnomer, BTW—really more of an "elephant just-lay-down-and-die-wherever-yard"), so Simba asks his best friend Nala if she wants to "GO TO THE WATER HOLE" [WINK]. Nala's mom is like, "Fine, but take wet blanket toucan along." On the way, wet blanket toucan casually mentions that Simba and Nala are in an arranged marriage and are definitely going to do penis-in-vagina someday. Reeling from the news, Simba sings one of the film's most popular songs: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King (So I Can Make a Law that Says NO TOUCAN CAN EVER MAKE ME HAVE SEX)."
Then the toucan flies into a rhino's asshole and the kids ditch him.
At the elephant graveyard, the kids start playing around on the bones (dood, those are people's relatives!) and are cornered by Scar's three hench-hyenas. The hyenas are about to eat them until Mufasa shows up and bites the hyenas until they go away. I guess nobody explained to Mufasa that when a hyena eats a baby lion, the hyena turns into grass, and then the antelopes eat the grass! It's the circle of life, Mufasa! Mufasa is maybe not the greatest grass scientist.
Also, the circle of life is way more complicated when everyone can talk.
Mufasa's like, "Simba, I am very disappointed in you," and Simba's like, "I was just trying to be brave like you!" and Mufasa's like, "Oh, I can't stay mad at you (for violating all the laws of our nation and placing yourself and Nala in mortal peril and desecrating Jeff's grandma's grave and almost making Scar the fucking king!)" and then bestows upon Simba the royal noogie.
No offense, Mufasa, but that went really quickly from punishment to noogie. Like, you need to have some follow-through here, man! Some consistency! If you don't want your kid to turn into a weird bug-eating recluse who lives with a warthog, you've got to stick to some boundaries. Does Mufasa actually exhibit any genuine parenting skills, besides have a deep voice? Real question.
Back at the cave, Scar hops out of his iron lung for a sec to be like WTF is you guys's problem you were supposed to eat my nephew, and the hyenas are like YEAH BUT GIANT LION. Then Scar sings the "Kill Mufasa" song and it's probably the most boring part of the movie including the part where Rafiki is just doodlin' in his magic tree for an hour.
Scar lures Simba to this ravine and has the hyenas kick off a wildebeest stampede. I feel like here's how long a baby lion could outrun a wildebeest stampede: "Oh no, it's a st—"
Instead, Simba climbs a little tree and waits for Mufasa to come rescue him. But as soon as he's pulled to safety, Scar throws Mufasa off this cliff like a total dildo and he gets squished by wildebeests!!! And then Simba is all down in the dust cloud like "Daaaaaaaad!"
Dad? Are you my dad?
NOPE, WILDEBEEST. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP.
Scar tells Simba that it's his fault Mufasa died and everyone's going to be HELLA mad at him, so he needs to "run away and never return." And Simba's like, "That seems reasonable." And then Scar is like, "Okay, new government. Hyenas are lions now."
Simba wanders out into the desert and is about to become a buzzard's snack when he's rescued by Timon and Pumbaa, a pair of confirmed bachelors who only care about two things: denial and bugs. They're like, "Listen, kid. We know that you just witnessed your father's murder and snuggled with his corpse and then were framed by your uncle and subsequently became a homeless youth and were almost eaten alive by vultures as you wandered in the desert, but you should probably have a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Similarly, Pumbaa farts a lot, but you don't see him moping around. WHAT'S A-MOTTO WITH YOU????"
Also, Timon is just constantly sticking his entire forearm into Pumbaa's nostril.
Simba grows into an adult lion, lovin' life, somehow eating enough bugs to sustain an entire lion, until one day when this other lion shows up. Oh, snap! It's Nala! And she's a hottie with a naughty body! And she's like "Simba! You're the king!" and Timon and Pumbaa are like "WHAT IS A MONARCHY WE ARE ANIMALS."
As Simba and Nala erotically lap water from a stagnant bog, their eyes meet and it's LIIIIIOOOOON ROOOOOOMAAAAAANCE!!!!!
Exclusive deleted scene:
Nala tries to convince Simba to come back to the Pridelands and fix all the shit that Scar douched, but he's like "nah" and she peaces. Timon and Pumbaa are all, "YAAAAASSS!!! BACHELORZ 4 LYFE! MGTOW!" and Simba gets ready to kick back and eat bugs until death.
Then Rafiki the krazy baboon shows up and tells Simba that his dad is still alive—which, I don't know how many of you have a dead dad, but it's a PRETTY FRAUGHT ISSUE—and then just points to Simba's fucking reflection in a pond and gives a speech about how dead people live forever in our hearts. YEAH I KNOW MY DEAD RELATIVES LIVE ON INSIDE ME BUT FUCK YOU, MAN. THAT'S REALLY NOT THE SAME AS BEING ABLE TO HUG YOUR DAD.
Luckily for Rafiki, who is about to get punched in his fucking tooth, Ghost Mufasa picks that exact moment to show up in the sky and lecture Simba like a dick. "Simba," he says, "you're a fuck-up. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life. Stop eating bugs, you loser. Remember who you are. You are my son and the one true king." Then he goes back up to lion heaven to play two-on-two basketball with Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, and Liberace.
Simba decides to go challenge Scar and reclaim his throne. After running across the entire Sahara, apparently, he gets to the Pridelands where Scar has somehow managed to dry up all the water with his shitty attitude. Despite being a diabolical mastermind, Scar immediately admits to killing Mufasa for no reason, undermining 100% of his leverage against Simba. Simba dumps him off a cliff, while Pumbaa kills all the hyenas for fat-shaming him.
Then Simba and Nala are like:
And all the water comes back to the Pridelands, because physics.
So, the moral of the Lion King, I guess, is don't push your older brother into a wildebeest stampede, because some day your nephew might throw you in a hyena-infested fire? Also, the sky is full of dead lions.
The end. Happy birthday, Lion King.