My opinion right after watching the film
My opinion right after watching the film was that it is not as bad as I thought it would be…… in the beginning. In the middle, they just started shitting on the quality and integrity of The Lion King with its poor attempts to shove Timon and Pumba in every single scenario. If they took this as an opportunity to dig in deeper with Timon and Pumba, with keeping some of the humor the two have, than this film could have been better.
Apparently they had plans making The Lion King 3 all the way back in 2000 for a 2001 release, but clearly things changed through production. The film became The Lion King 1 1/2 sometime in 2002 or 2003.
The frame story of The Lion King is started from Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) watching the film in the theater, rewinding from The Circle of Life to their introduction in Hakuna Matata.They decide to tell them the story from the beginning, and that they were at the events of The Lion King form the very beginning.
We get a backstory of Timon’s life before meeting everyone in the film, where he was the clumsy, misunderstood careless, and lazy meerkat, who screwed things up for his meerkat society. Literally all of the meerkats are carbon copies of Timon’s designs, with a minor tweak in color. His mother Ma (Julie Kavner) and uncle Max (Jerry Stiller) are introduced, and the former is trying to encourage her son softly, telling him that he needs to step up. Timon hates his life because they have to hide and hide (isn’t that a main component of Hakuna Matata? To hide from their problems, and have no care about anything?)
Timon is on his way, and ends up bumping into Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) after balling his eyes about. Rafiki tells him to find Hakuna Matata by looking ahead, which he instantly sees as Pride Rock. Timon hears a growl, and runs away from the animal approaching him, who ends up being Pumbaa. Timon thought he was going to eat him, but Pumbaa reassures him that he only followed him because he saw him crying. It is weird that they gave Timon a backstory, but refuse to give Pumbaa one. All we know is that people run from him because of his smell and habits (we already knew this in the first film, so nothing new is being added).
They start to walk together, and it just so happens to be the same day Simba (Matthew Broderick) is born (Circle of Life), and Pumbaa smells a bowel movement/gas start to rumble. When it finally comes out, it causes some of the animals to knock over and pass out, or to bend their noses instead of the respect of Mufasa and Sarabi.
So Timon and Pumbaa continue to bond, because both are outcasts and alone, which is nice enough. The scene they used to show them bonding was pretty tasteful. Ma ends up finding her way to Rafiki, asking for her son. When he told her that he told Timon to follow the metaphor of Hakuna Matata, she loses it, knowing her son takes metaphors literally, and thinks he is starving.
We get some supposedly fun moments of Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa hang out with one another, which ended up including a bug slurping scene between Timon and Simba -_-. Simba starts growing up, and they end up hanging out, until Nala (Moira Kelly) reappears in his life, and Timon continues whining. I dislike him more in this film than I did in the first film.
Soon after, they find out that Simba left to return home, and Nala tells them that he needs them to support him take on Scar. Pumbaa follows, and tells Timon that Hakuna Matata is nothing without Simba, since it is about who you are with. The continue arguing, and Pumbaa left, only for Timon to follow a few minutes later, knowing they are right.
During the climax of The Lion King, Timon only ends up calling his meerkat tribe for support when the hyenas are after them. I do not like how they concluded the plot with the meerkats and Timon, since it is very unsatisfying. I do not know why they would start the film with a side-plot, and there is little to no payoff at the end.
I am not impressed with the characters in the film. The main ones were mostly grating, the new characters were eh at best, and the side characters are pretty much irrelevant.
The animation is pretty decent. There are some times where I was confused whether some footage was from the original film, or reanimated for this film with the Disneytoons budget. Either way, my eyes were quite pleased at the visuals when looking at the film.
Well, I cannot really bash the music, since they honestly repeated shortened versions of the music in The Lion King. They just rearranged a lot of compositions, and tweaked it to make it into something humorous is what I can, and will critique. A lot of the music in the film was devalued because of the random changes.
Reception at Release
The film was released on February 10th, 2004, and there are no reports on the financial profits gained from the film.
According to Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes, the reception was quite positive, at least compared to the other DisneyToon films. People liked the fact that it took an interesting spin on the story of the first film, and the dialogue was pretty nice.
From what I have heard, people do not hold it of high regard today, but some still say it is one of the better DisneyToon films. There is a lot of mixed reception regarding this film.
23.5/40 = 59%