The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar online movie review - One Disappointed Lion King Fan
I'm reviewing this film as someone who grew up watching The Lion King.. I truly appreciate the film for its beautiful animation, powerful story, well written script, likable characters, and catchy music. TLK is simply one of the best animated films to ever be made.
And The Lion Guard tainted all that it stood for.
I understand this is meant to be a kids' film, but as I said, I'm reviewing this based upon how well it continues the story of TLK.
The story TLG tries to tell doesn't continue the movie series well. Firstly, most of the characters are not who they once were. Nala is severely downplayed, and is only there to be a caring, advice giving mate/mother. She barely does anything. Kiara brags about becoming queen when in TLK2, she didn't even want to be queen! She hated the thought of it! She didn't take her position seriously until growing into an adult! Simba has become overprotective, and kinda racist. Rafiki is only around to shout, "It is time!" Timon and Pumbaa are treated as if they're only side characters. If it weren't for them, Simba wouldn't even be alive. They played a BIG role in the first film, but there's no appreciation for them in TLG.
As for the new characters, they add NOTHING to the story. Kion is a ripoff of Simba. He looks EXACTLY like him, and even has his personality. His "powers" are just unrealistic, and are an obvious excuse to give him a big role in the show. He's an unnecessary character, and I refuse to accept him as Simba and Nala's cub. Bunga.....my God. He is the most annoying little twerp. He takes up WAY too much screen time. I can't stand him, yet they're making it seem as if he were the main character. The other 3 characters mostly just comment on what's happening. They're not very useful. Zuri is a whiny little snot, and Tifu, while much better than Zuri, barely does anything. She does fetch Simba for Kiara, but that was it. The Hyenas are pathetic villains, and got annoying pretty quick. They also try to make the same mistake that was made in the first film. If they knew of Scar, then they knew that he was why the Pridelands fell apart, since his hyenas hunted down nearly every animal. They should know that they would be screwing themselves over.
The whole Lion Guard thing is utterly ridiculous. You don't need just 5 lions to protect the Pridelands. You need a whole freaking pride! The other lions, including the king and queen, are pretty much useless according to this Lion Guard legend. The story behind Scar as the Lion Guard was pointless, so I won't get into that.
A couple other things that bothered me were the constant African phrases popping up, the "magic", and the...farts. I feel like other random African phrases were thrown in so the show could come up with possible phrases that would become as popular as Hakuna Matata. It seems like they're trying too hard to establish that the show takes place in Africa. I understand if they're maybe trying to teach kids different phrases, but it becomes cringe-worthy when the same phrases pop up every 5 minutes. As for the "magic", why? Why is there even magic? Why/How did the paintings on the cave wall magically move? Why/How did a tattoo appear on Kion and his friends? People may say that there's magic because Mufasa is a magic lion in the sky. He's meant to be a spiritual presence, not a magic freaking genie! The Lion King is not meant to have magic. It's one of Disney's more realistic films. There's no Bibbidi- Bobbidi-Boo. The only reason why Mufasa was able to appear to Simba was because he was meant to be a spiritual guide to his son. There's a huge difference between that and just throwing in magical elements. As for the....farts......why do shows feel that they need fart jokes these days? They're not funny. They're crude. The only thing fart jokes do for a show is show that the writers are not that good at what they do. When Bunga saved Kiara with a FART, I flipped out. I understand that kids may find this stuff funny, but it does nothing for them. It just encourages them to act disgusting, and may possibly dumb them down. Fart jokes, especially in a show based on one of the most critically acclaimed animated movies of all time, should NOT be relied on to bring humor.
The acting was decent. James Earl Jones and Ernie Sabella did well with their original roles. I believed that it was really Mufasa and Pumbaa in their scenes. Rob Lowe did a decent job as Simba. He's a great actor, but his voice was an odd mix between being low and growly, and soothing. It didn't sound at all like Simba. The others I can say, well, for the original characters, were decent as well.
I am very disappointed with The Lion Guard. True, I shouldn't have expected much from it, but I still did regardless because of my love for TLK. Instead of watching a nice continuation of the franchise, I instead witnessed a poorly written, cheaply animated show that barely understands its source material and brings nothing good with its new material. I may watch an episode or two of the new show just to see if maybe they fix their mistakes. But, I will make sure that I won't expect much out of it like I did with this film. If you're a die-hard Lion King fan like me, I suggest you stay away from this. It doesn't do the franchise any justice, and it just messes up the story line laid out for TLK.