|The Lion King II: Simba's Pride|
|Directed by:||Darrell Rooney|
|Produced by:||Jeannine Roussel|
|Written by:||Flip Kobler|
|Music by:||Nick Glennie-Smith|
|Editing by:||Peter Lonsdale|
|Studio:||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Distributed by:||Walt Disney Home Video|
|Release date:||October 27, 1998|
|Running time:||81 minutes|
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (later retitled 'The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride) is an American direct-to-video film released by Walt Disney Home Video on October 27, 1998, as a sequel to the 1994 film The Lion King. It was later re-released as a special edition DVD (which altered the original title's "II" into "2") on August 31, 2004.
The film centers around Simba's daughter, Kiara, who falls in love with Kovu, a male lion who was raised in a pride of Scar's followers, who are Simba's enemies. Desperate to be together, they must overcome the two obstacles that are keeping them apart: Simba and Kovu's mother, Zira. While the original film's plot seems to have been inspired by the Shakespeare play Hamlet, this sequel's plot is similar to another Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet.
The film opens where the previous film ended, set approximately one year later, where Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) gathers the animals of the Pride Lands together for the presentation of Simba (Matthew Broderick) and Nala’s (Moira Kelly) new daughter Kiara. Mufasa's spirit (James Earl Jones) watches over the ceremony. four years later, Simba becomes very overprotective of a now 4-year-old Kiara (Michelle Horn), assigning Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella) to be her babysitters. One day while they are arguing, Kiara sneaks into the "Outlands" where she meets a young cub named Kovu (Ryan O'Donohue). After escaping a river filled with crocodiles, the two become friendly but Simba and Kovu's mother, Zira (Suzanne Pleshette), quickly end their playing. Zira reminds Simba that he exiled the outlanders, and notes that if he wants to punish them, Kovu is Scar's hand-chosen successor. Unwilling to harm the cub, Simba orders them to leave and later scolds Kiara for endangering herself, then sings to her that they "are one". In the Outlands, Zira's eldest son, Nuka (Andy Dick), complains to his younger sister Vitani (Lacey Chabert) about Kovu's status as "the Chosen One". At that moment, Zira returns and scolds both of her sons, but then decides that she can use Kovu's new friendship with Kiara to get her revenge against Simba.
Now at age 18, Kiara (Neve Campbell) heads out from home to do her first solo hunt. However, Simba sends Timon and Pumbaa to keep an eye on her, after promising to let her do it on her own. Furious to find out her father has lied, Kiara goes further from home to hunt, though is still unsuccessful in her efforts. Nuka and Vitani (Jennifer Lien) set fire to the plains where Kiara is hunting, causing her to faint and giving Kovu (Jason Marsden) the chance to rescue her. Drawn by the smoke, Simba finds them together and reluctantly thanks Kovu for the rescue and allows him to come to Pride Rock, though Simba forces him to sleep outside. That same night, Simba has a nightmare about his father's death, only in the dream Scar morphs into Kovu and Simba takes his father's place falling off the cliff. He goes outside to a watering hole where Kovu contemplates attacking him, but Kiara interrupts and they go off together so Kovu can help her learn to hunt. During the lesson, they run into Timon and Pumbaa struggling with some birds, so the two lions help them chase the birds off. Together, they have fun playing, something Kovu notes he has never experienced before. That night, Kovu tells Kiara that he is not Scar's real son, but "was a part of him". Simba seeks guidance from the "Great Kings" and Nala advises him to give Kovu a chance, because he is not his father. Kovu decides to leave after trying to confess his real intentions, but Rafiki stops and invites the young lions to experience "Upendi"–love. After a musical journey through the jungle, the two fall in love.
That night, Simba invites Kovu to sleep inside. Vitani sees the two walking inside, and notices that Kovu failed to attack Simba when he had his chance. In the morning, a profoundly changed Kovu resolves to confess to Kiara his true original intentions and his abandonment of them, but before he can do so, Simba calls him over for a private discussion. The lions go for a walk, and Simba tells him the true story of Scar, which Kovu had never heard. However, their walk is interrupted by an ambush by Zira and her pride. After a brief fight, Simba manages to escape by scaling a wall of logs in a gorge. In chasing after him, Nuka slips and is killed by falling logs. Zira blames Kovu for Nuka's death, swiping a paw across his face and scarring his eye. Breaking from his mother, Kovu returns to the Pride Lands and begs forgiveness. Believing Kovu was behind the ambush, the wounded Simba exiles him and orders Kiara confined to Pride Rock. Kiara escapes and reunites with Kovu far from home.
Meanwhile, Zira leads her pride in a war against the Pride Lands, and a fierce fight breaks out. As Zira and Simba face off, Kovu and Kiara leap between them and Kiara tells Simba that the fighting has to stop. She then tells him that the Outsiders are part of the pride, and that she understands what he meant when he sang "we are one". Zira ignores her, but Vitani agrees with Kiara, who realizes that she had enough hate throughout her life and favors peace as the alternative. Zira tells her daughter that she will die too if she will not fight, which turns the other Outlanders against her and they go to Simba's side. Now alone, Zira leaps for Simba, but Kiara pushes her away and they fall over a cliff. Kiara lands on a rock, but Zira is sliding towards a storm-swollen river. Unlike her father, Kiara offers to help her opponent. However, Zira, like Scar, is unable to let go of her hate and falls to her death. Simba helps his daughter back up the cliff and allows the Outlanders, including Kovu, to return to the Pride Lands, and Kovu is allowed to stand with Kiara at the top of Pride Rock. Mufasa's spirit proudly watches over from among the stars and praises his son for his decision.
- Neve Campbell as Kiara
- Jason Marsden as Kovu
- Matthew Broderick as King Simba
- Suzanne Pleshette as Zira
- Moira Kelly as Queen Nala
- Nathan Lane as Timon
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
- Robert Guillaume as Rafiki
- John Oliver as Zazu
- Andy Dick as Nuka
- Jennifer Lien as Vitani
- Michelle Horn as Cub Kiara
- Ryan O'Donohue as Cub Kovu
- Lacey Chabert as Cub Vitani
- Mary Gibbs as Infant Kiara
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa's Spirit
In 1998, Disney believed that Simba's Pride would be so popular that it shipped 15 million copies to stores for the October 27 release date. Disney sold 3.5 million copies in three days. Thirteen million copies were sold while it was still in print in the late 90s. The film was first released on VHS in the United States on October 27, 1998 and on June 8, 1999 on Laserdisc. It was first released on DVD as a limited issue on November 23, 1999, and placed into moratorium on January 19, 2000. It was not released again on DVD until August 31, 2004, when it was a two-disc special edition. It went into moratorium in January 2005.
Siskel & Ebert gave this sequel a "two-thumbs up" and said it was a "satisfactory sequel to one of the most popular films of all time, The Lion King. However, they also said it was best that it went to video, citing that the music was lacking and not remotely equal to the original's soundtrack.
- "He Lives in You" - This is an original song by Lebo M and his African choir. This song represents Kiara's birth and is also the equivalent of "Circle of Life". The song can also be a reference to when Rafiki told Simba in the first movie that Mufasa "lives" in him. Also appears in the Broadway version of the first film.
- "We Are One" - Sung by Cam Clarke and Charity Sanoy. Following Kiara's encounter with Kovu and the Outsiders, which puts herself in danger, Simba explains how important she is to the pride and that the pride is one. The musical equivalent to the first film's talk about the Great Kings of the Past with Mufasa and Simba.
- "My Lullaby" - Sung by Suzanne Pleshette, Andy Dick, and Crysta Macalush. Zira's lullaby to Kovu, which outlines her plot for him to kill Simba and how proud it would make her. The equivalent to "Be Prepared" as the song is talking about how they plan to murder Simba just like how Scar's song talked about killing both him and Mufasa in the previous film. The song's ending is similar to the end of "Be Prepared" with Zira towering over the Outlanders mirrors Scar towering over the hyenas at the end and her treatment of Nuka during the song resembles Scar's abuse of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
- "Upendi" (Swahili for "love") - Sung by Robert Guillaume, Liz Callaway, Gene Miller, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Rafiki's song to Kiara and Kovu about love and happiness. Sung by Rafiki and his safari friends. Also the equivalent to "Hakuna Matata," from the first film.
- "Not One of Us" - Sung following Kovu being permanently banished by Simba for supposed betrayal in an attempt to kill him. This was the first time the animals outside of the main characters (they talk in Lion King 1½) and the lions in both movies (they congratulate Kiara when she hunts) have been seen talking. Only song to not have an equivalent to the first film.
- "Love Will Find a Way" - Kiara and Kovu's first encounter following Kovu's banishment, where they decide their love is too strong for their differences to keep them apart. Similar to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". Liz Callaway and Gene Miller provide the singing voices for Kiara and Kovu in the movie. The end title is performed by R&B artists Kenny Lattimore and Heather Headley
Return to Pride RockEdit
An audio CD entitled Return to Pride Rock: Songs Inspired by Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was released on September 8, 1998. Although not promoted as a soundtrack to the film, it contained all the songs from the film and some additional songs inspired by it by Lebo M. Tina Turner recorded a version of "He Lives in You" for the film. On August 31, 2004, Disney released an "enhanced soundtrack" to coincide with the release of the film's 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. However, the CD only contains the songs featured in the film, without any of the inspired songs in The Lion King.