“The Lion King II” is the only direct-to-video Disney sequel that I believe is worth watching. I am generally offended by the Disney Company’s exploitation of its classic animated tales (aka ruining them with new chapters that cheapen the original characters and themes). “Simba’s Pride” is the exception, with an interesting story, great animation, and the original cast reprising their roles (minus Rowan Atkinson). On a scale of 1-to-Frozen, I would only rate the film as average but it can hold its own with many of the theatrically released Disney classics. The story does a good job of creating connections to the original, particularly by using Scar’s “legacy” to create a new conflict. The two films flow together through shared characters, similar musical style, and the theme of pride. Unfortunately, “The Lion King” makes “Simba’s Pride” look bad because it does everything a little bit better. A prime example is the music. While the music is good, it is hard to resist comparisons to the original. The song selection seems to come from the same equation (song about the circle of life, song about murdering the protagonist, song that teaches a concept by using a Swahili word, a romantic love song), but none of the songs can match their equivalent in “The Lion King.” The most important thing is that this film enhances the franchise instead of ruining it. The writers don’t give flaws to the old characters, the new characters are complex and interesting, and the title contains an awesome double meaning. “The Lion King” is one of the greatest Disney films and “Simba’s Pride” gives us an opportunity to enjoy our favorite characters in a new adventure about trust, forgiveness, and pride.
[Pictured: All of our favorites return for this new adventure]