Friday, September 21, 2018

They say Simba is on the move

“The Lion King” is one of the most popular films of all times. I'm old enough to remember the hysteria it created back in 1994. The plot is set in the fictitious Pride Lands, ruled by the lion king Mufasa as foremost in the “circle of life”. His son and successor Simba is tricked out of his royal birthright by Scar, an apostate lion who conspires with evil hyenas to take power in the Pride Lands. Aided by the two hobos Timon and Pumbaa (a meerkat-warthog duo who became more iconic than the actual lions), Simba survives as an outcast, until the ghost of his dead father summons him back to become the rightful ruler of the Pride Lands. Apparently based on “Hamlet”, I mostly noticed the similarities with another classical Disney production, “The Jungle Book”. There are also obvious Biblical references (Eden, fall of Man, Cain/Abel), but they have been thoroughly secularized. Mufasa and Simba, evidently, are not Aslan!

I admit that I didn't find “The Lion King” very interesting or entertaining (except when the hobos sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”!), but then, I'm middle aged. I actually never saw the film until today, when it was aired on Swedish public service television. I did notice another thing, though. Unless you're an unregenerate hyena-lover, there is very little to complain about in the film – perhaps the slightly patriarchal family structure of the lions? (In real life, both male and female lions hunt, while in the film, hunting females are implied to be unnatural.) Forget about all the “Nazi” accusations, they are ridiculous and probably concocted by trolls or people jealous of the true king's success. The only political message of the film is a slightly ecological or new agey one, since the “circle of life” is in perfect natural balance, watched over by the “gods” in the starry sky…

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