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  • Daniel Rae

Lion king 1 1/2 Review


"Lion King 1 1/2", Disneytoon Studios, 2004


At the very least, this is a film that understands its purpose to the Disney brand as something to merely consume and nothing more - a filter that is used as it's creative backbone, from its familiar cast of characters the hollow nature of the plot and the way in which it incorporates its polished, yet tangible look and feeling. Nevertheless (of course), whilst the disposable story does in fact warrant a few laughs and some admiration for its charm on the surface, its one-note sense of humour it seems to revel in eventually begins to highlight the lack of direction that the original's comic relief can go.

Although it's structure may appear to just attach itself to the blatant iconography of The Lion King, I can appreciate the subversion of the sturdy quest-like progression of the story, presented and built upon by the familiar motive to "look beyond what you see" that tastefully lays the foundation for the self-aware tone, encompassing the brand-stamped want-to-fit-in ideology in an amusing way. I can also appreciate the confidence of both the writing and the delivery of this (ultimately) empty experience, providing itself room to work in tangible and individual human quirks that falls outside of the 'main story'. However, this immedialtey underscores the film's biggest fault - the lack of any nuance that could have clearly been worked in. Whilst audiences' immedialtey attach onto the youthful charisma of the duality between these characters, what they're attaching onto is nothing different to the film's predecessor. An 'origin story' provides the room to explore intimacies that shapes individuals, and the small-scale threads the story haphazardly weaves in underlines the focus away from looking at the duo as real characters and more towards how they uphold the image of something greater. Whilst the efforts may have been fittingly placed in finding the innocent enjoyment that comes with the existence of this film, the lack of integrating any real personality specific to this 'story' beyond the jarring and repetitive 4th wall breaks amounts to a lack-luster attempt at incorporating any variety into the already overused formula. This leads to a lot of tedious aimlessness, disrupting the flow of the gimmick as the audience is waiting in the same vein as the duo for the next notable plotpoint in the background to happen. It's in these in-between spaces of continuity where their dynamic that holds the feel-good aesthetic together could have been commented on as much as journey itself, perhaps regarding their function as comic relief, but is instead wasted on the want to hold together the idea of paradise - an interesting premise ruined by the lack of any rounded development and the slapped-together-afterthought of messaging.

Ultimately, whilst not an offensive watch, Lion King 1 1/2 purposefully boxes itself in stylistically and thematically. Although not aiming to achieve the sustaining power of the IP it lies in the shadows of, Raymond failed at using the time that this film presented wisely or cleverly, the former of which the tone may lead you to believe.


1.5/5 Stars







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