I was driving to work today, and singing along to a song from the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch, because – I’m me. I like the Hawaiian songs, so naturally try to sing along, even though I do not speak Hawaiian, so it sounds kind of like this “Oh like oh e maya a una de tala a oof mana mana a eee eee eee eee oh.”
Then it occurred to me that I didn’t know what their language was really called. Is it really called Hawaiian? Cause I live in the United States, and we don’t speak United States. Nor do we speak American. We do speak English (supposedly), but New England English is way different than Southern English, or California English. And if we get online, our English doesn’t look like English at all. I once looked at an old text and realized I had not capitalized my “I”s, and I cringed because I like to use the word “I” a lot and it just looked like I had barfed preschool on the phone. Or teen, take your pick.
People speak other languages here too, but we expect everyone to also speak English, cause we are Americans, even if we actually borrowed English from the English, you know, before those guys screwed it up so much. I mean really – it’s not a jumper. It’s a sweater. A jumper is something little girls wear, like overalls but with a skirt. And we don’t take lifts, nor do we drive lorries, our cars don’t wear bonnets, and use a freaking article when you say “I’m going to university.” It’s like we Americans have to tell you everything.
But England is weird too, because they don’t just go by England. They also go by Great Britain, and call themselves British, not Greatish, or Greatish Britainish. Or they could be the United Kingdom if you include the unimportant countries around them, like Scotland. I think. But again, no United Kindomners. Also do you speak Scottish and Irish, or Gaelic, or just English cause everyone has to speak English because we do? I don’t know. I have not even bothered to Google this. I do know that even the most racist people love foreign accents, so if you have one, come on over. We’ll go crazy for you. Look how successful the Beatles were. It wasn’t cause of their haircuts.
Now Spain has it right, because their people speak Spanish, but then Mexico speaks Spanish too. But the two are not actually the same. Which means the Spanish I was taught by a white Anglo woman was Spain Spanish, and does little to help me speak Mexican Spanish, and there are a lot more Mexicans around Texas than there are Spaniards. Just ask Donald Trump. I took several years of Spanish, but still can’t keep up with them because they speak, like, fast. And then you like translate in your head, and have to respond, and I just can’t keep up with all of that. Yet I see some people switch effortlessly from Spanish to English in one breath and I wonder if they are some sort of magician.
Then there’s France. They speak French. Fair enough. But we have people in Louisiana who also speak French. Also Cajun, whatever the heck that is. Parts of Canada speak French too. They don’t speak Canadian, unless you count those guys who used to say “hooser” on Saturday Night Live.
On to Japan. They speak Japanese. Yay. Also English. And Engrish, which is a combination of English and Japanese that usually results in hilarity. Like small children wearing shirts with rather inappropriate words, while smiling big happy smiles. Of course Americans are known for getting tattoos done in Chinese or Japanese characters (they’re the same, right?) and end up permanently affixed with stupid words. Just because the guy says it means “warrior” doesn’t mean it’s right. You could be walking around with the word “sponge” on your bicep. I bet our Asian neighbors love it when they see this. Asian is another word you can call Japanese, or Chinese, or Korean, or Vietnamese, because a lot of Americans aren’t going to bother with the difference. Because we’re too busy playing their video games.
Africa! Now this is one crazy place. They don’t all speak African, you guys. They have different languages and dialects, and if I looked it up, I could probably tell you one of them. I think they sound very cool, even if they aren’t saying anything important, like in the introduction to the Lion King. I heard it’s translated something like “It’s a lion, look it’s a lion” which is better than “Llama, llama, penguins in pajamas” which my friend mentioned, and now I hear every time that movie comes on. I asked a student from Africa what some names meant, and Simba means “lion”, Mufasa means “king”, and Scar means “bad guy”. Way to be creative, Disney!
There are a lot more countries, but I know most of you have no attention span and probably quit somewhere around England (Australians speak English too! Sort of!) so I’ll stop here. Suffice it to say, language is very confusing, especially when it doesn’t even match the country name, so I think everyone should have to change theirs to make it easier (sort of like when you guys all went metric and we didn’t, but yet you still didn’t change back to feet and inches). So a “good day” to those who speak Canadian, United Kingdom, Louisiana, Asian, African, and those other places on the map. You’re welcome.
I remember when I first watched “The Lion King” in the theaters. The intro was amazing, with that camera spanning the African wilderness, and all those animals bowing, and the African chanting in the background. Of course, now I cannot listen to the chanting without hearing what a friend of mine heard it as – “Llama, llama, penguins in pa-ja-mas . . .”
And that’s just the beginning. While all those animals bowing is pretty cool, it now strikes me as a bit odd that the monkey goes and holds up the baby from the cliff. That’s a long freaking way down there. I mean, yeah, they’re announcing the birth of the new prince, or in the case of the audience, the next guy that will probably eat you. Which has to be partly why they’re all there – on the off chance the monkey drops the cub, they are gonna have some good eatin’ tonight.
And another thing, sure it’s cool when that monkey does it, but somehow this reminds me of another celebrity who did not get such good press for dangling his baby over a great height.
But enough of the intro, baby Simba quickly becomes an obnoxious little cub that makes “The Little Mermaid” look like the best child ever. He’s the prince and he knows it, and he’s gonna make sure everyone else does too by abusing his authority left and right – aws. And just like in “The Little Mermaid”, Simba’s dad has some flunky, this time a bird, keep an eye on his kid, knowing full well this flunky not only has no real authority over the prince, but stands a good chance of being EATEN by the prince should he ever get a bit peckish. And they act like Mufasa is such a great king.
Anyway, Simba has a song about how he “Just can’t wait to be king” and I find it incredibly ironic that the elder Simba is voiced by Matthew Broderick of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” fame, because I can’t help but see Ferris in this scene. And just like with Ferris, I really want to kick that little cub. Oh, but Alice, he’s just a kid! Yeah, and there’s a really good reason I decided not to be a teacher. I don’t tend to like the majority of children, with obvious exceptions, because they are, well, children.
Anyway, we soon meet Scar, Simba’s uncle, voiced by Jeremy Irons, automatically making him the most awesome character in the movie. He resents the heck out of his older brother, and no wonder, since Mufasa actually means “king” whereas Scar means, well, scar. That sucks. So just cause he’s a little younger, Scar gets nothing while Mufasa gets this entire harem, something Disney kind of glosses over, but let’s face it. All those lionesses are not doing Mufasa’s taxes, if you get my drift.
Scar decides it’d be fun to get rid of the little punk, and I can’t say as I blame him. He begs him not to go to the Elephant graveyard cause it’s oh so dangerous. Naturally Simba decides to go, just like Scar knows he will, and he takes his good pal Nala along.
Oh, Nala, there is so much to this dynamic too. Remember how I said Mufasa has this whole harem? Well, Nala’s mom is a part of that, and we never see her Dad, so that must mean that Nala is also Mufasa’s kid. Yet they’re engaged to be married. So Simba’s supposed to marry his half-sister? No wonder the two are disgusted by this idea.
Simba and Nala go to this spooky graveyard, and nearly get eaten by Scar’s pals, a group of idiot hyenas, once again reinforcing the “evil can never get good help” stereotype. Mufasa comes in and rescues the two just in time, and then has a talk with his son about how he’s one day going to rule and how that means his subjects will both serve him and be his meal tickets, but that’s okay because . . . circle of life?
Meanwhile, murder attempt #1 has failed and Scar decides to tell his cronies about how they should “Be prepared” for him to take over and what that’s going to entail. At one point we see the hyenas goose stepping and dang, Disney is really going for the evil now. This is my favorite song of the movie, because I guess I’m just sick that way.
Scar comes up with another plan, that is, leading Simba out to a valley and then getting his pals to stampede the Wilderbeasts over the mountain. Talk about your overkill, but I guess Scar wanted to make sure someone really got smashed this time. And it works, because Mufasa again comes to Simba’s rescue, but is unable to escape himself, mostly cause Scar knocks him off the cliff instead of giving him a paw up, saying “Long live the king.”
So Dad’s dead, and there’s Simba trying to get him to wake up cause he realizes that oh man, he is REALLY gonna be grounded now, when Scar helpfully arrives and asks “Oh, Simba, what have you done?” Gawd, I love Jeremy Irons. Oh, where was I? Right, he gets Simba to believe that he is at fault for his Dad’s death, and that he’d better run away before anyone finds out his crime. It works, and Simba runs, and then Scar makes another mistake. He sends his minions after Simba to finish him off. Wrong, wrong, wrong, Scar. Of course the hyenas give up after a while, figuring there’s no way the cub will survive out in the wilderness alone.
But Simba is of course discovered by pals Timon and Pumba, a meerkat and a warthog. Timon gets the idea that if they get Simba on their side now, when he’s a big lion he’ll totally protect them. So they befriend Simba and show him how to eat bugs. And this is where I gotta say, yeah right. There’s no way a lion’s gonna grow up healthy on bugs. At some point, he had to have seen Timon and Pumba as two plump pieces of meat. Hey, “Hakuna Matata” means no worries guys, so you probably won’t mind if I snack on your entrails?
Sorry, I might have gotten a bit too violent there. Simba grows up a lazy goofball while back home Scar runs the kingdom into the ground. He’s not so good at balancing the whole eating certain subjects while keeping enough to still serve you thing. Also he somehow managed to cause drought, which is pretty impressive for one lion.
But Simba, Timon, and Pumba are having a great time, staring up at the stars and making lots of fart jokes. There’s even an entire song revolving around farts. But eventually Nala has to show up and ruin all his fun. She’s shocked to find Simba alive, and naturally assumes Simba’s gonna wanna come right back and defeat Scar when she tells him how he’s let the place go and stuff.
So now we come to the love song, and this is why I don’t normally get into the animals playing human parts bit. It just kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. I felt the same way in Disney’s “Robin Hood” where the parts of Robin and Marion are played by foxes. Simba and Nala are even worse, staring into each others eyes, and then at one point Nala licks him and does this “come hither” thing and I start thinking of Wild Kingdom and my brains screams “OMG please say this isn’t happening!”
Thankfully they stop there. Simba’s all, I am not going back there cause I’m a failure (well, sort of true) and then Dad appears in the clouds and tells Simba in his giant Darth Vader voice to get off his lion butt and go do what he’s supposed to do. Then the monkey shows up, and hits him on the head, and Simba decides to return home and confront his uncle.
Simba and Scar have this big battle, and it looks like Scar is gonna win, but then he stupidly misplays his hand saying “I killed Mufasa.” Oh, whoops. This gives Simba the strength to keep fighting and, you’ll never guess how Scar dies. Yup, another plummet death. I never saw that one coming, did you?
Anyway, all is happy and Simba and Nala get married (cue banjos) and have a cub of their own, and the monkey once again dangles the baby up over the cliff and boom, the end.
Now as for where the Lion King originated – it’s fairly well known that the Lion King is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In Hamlet, the king is murdered by his brother, who then marries the king’s wife, and the prince has to make up his mind about confronting his uncle. Oh, and you get ghost dad there, too. That all makes sense. But, you might not know that Disney also totally freaking ripped the movie off of some Japanese anime entitled “Kimba the White Lion”.
I know this because, naturally, I get all my real news from “The Daily Show” and Cracked.com. Check out this link, again from Cracked.com. It’s unreal how completely shameless Disney is in its ripoff. They weren’t even trying to disguise it. Shaaaame, Disney, shaaaame.
So ends the tale of the lion king. Stay tuned for our first human male lead in a Disney film, Aladdin.