Saturday, August 30, 2014

Take another Look: The Lion King

Lets take a look at a classic animated film the Lion King. When you see these movies as a kid you definitely don't see them in the same light you do as an adult. The Lion King is easily one of the more immoral movies I've seen.
Simba is a kid and acts like a kid would. Especially with the knowledge that he will one day inherit an entire kingdom. And thats fine. Mufasa attempts to impart wisdom to him, but with little to no effect. At one point he even says to Simba "Being king isn't about always getting what you want." Simba never seems to understand this.
Scar, Simba's uncle, begins to plot against Mufasa. He raises an army of hyenas to fight for him. This is fairly realistic. Several times throughout history family members have plotted to kill one another for political power. He felt cheated that he wasn't in line for the kingdom because of Simba. Scar thought he was a more fit leader, and in many ways he was probably right. After the successful coup, Scar convinces his nephew to run away and never come back. Which he was also right to do. Simba was responsible for his father's death. I understand Scar set this up, but Simba's eagerness and naivety was ripe for the picking.
He meets up with a meerkat and warthog. (On a side note, Timon the meerkat was the only creature in the movie that was anthropomorphized. He walked like a man does.) Simba hides out in the jungle with these creatures (that he should be eating) and learns concepts like Hakuna Matata. "No worries for the rest of your days" is the epitome of a childish world view. Simba should have had some worries. He left his mother and lady friend to suffer under his tyrant uncle Scar. While on this self imposed exile, he never hones his skills as a leader, a male, a hunter, etc. Simba just sits around (eating what I don't know, its hard to imagine he actually hunted and killed something.) By sheer happenstance, his lady friend finds him hiding out in the jungle (while she was actually on a hunt). After the surprise of finding Simba alive, she then reminds him that he has responsibilities to the people he left behind. Simba pushes back against this. And understandably so. Simba actually says to her "You think you can just show up and tell me how to live my life." Which is exactly what a child would say. His life is good the way it is. No need for the king of the "No Worries" brigade to get bogged down with patriarchal concepts like duty and honor and leadership.
After being repeatedly shamed for his abandonment by his lady friend, which she was right to do, he decides to go back. The main motivation for this was his own greed and selfishness (granted this is also what motivated Scar, but he acted on it directly). Simba still thinks being king would be neat and put him in the center spotlight.
Simba sneaks past the hyenas (because he's a wimp). Even in the final showdown, Simba is not willing to do what is necessary. He demands Scar step down and go away. Even after Scar admits he played a hand in the death of Mufasa, Simba still wouldn't step up. He basically backs Scar into a corner and they do the dirty work for him. Why anyone would want Simba to be the leader is beyond me.

In short, Simba is a pussy. He has absolutely no growth. Simba is a coward who runs away from his problems from beginning to end in this movie. Remain a child forever, run away from conflict, and you'll get everything you want. Is that a good message to send to children? 

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