G-RATED — A DVD/VHS ONLY RELEASE
Stars: Voices of Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Matthew Broderick, Julie Kavner, Jerry Stiller, Robert Guillaume, Moira Kelly, Whoppi Goldberg, Cheech Marin
Director: Bradley Raymond
What’s more fun than a barrel of crazed monkeys, slugs and dancing wildlife? Why, Disney’s The Lion King 1 1/2, of course.
Challenged to come up with a new saga for Simba and his clan, the filmmakers found a unique way to take something old and make it new again.
Their formula was to take two minor characters, that of a frightfully insecure meerkat (a.k.a. prairie dog in the USA) named Timon (Nathan Lane) and a a gaseous warthog named Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), and make them the real focus of the Lion King’s tale — how a frail lion cub named Simba came to be king of the African savanna. Their perspective is fraught with humor and is deliciously irreverent. And even though naughty Pumbaa can’t quite keep his intestinal gas to himself, it’s humor used to excellent effect. As the tale unfolds we learn how Timon lived before he met Pumbaa and how together they became little Simba’s foster parents.
The vocal work by Lane and Sabella is pure perfection. Julie Kavner as Timon’s mom is new to this edition as is Jerry Stiller as his Uncle Max. Robert Guillaume is the voice of Rafiki, a kind of zen monkey who aids Timon in his search for his dream home and Whoopi and Cheech play nasty hyenas out to get Timon and his family. And with music again by Elton John and Tim Rice, along with Lebo M, one tune really stands out. It’s the one by the meerkats as they tunnel and spend every waking moment trying to prevent their demise from hyena attacks.
Lotta says: At a scant 70 minutes, it’s actually just the right length. Kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy The Lion King 1 1/2 but there’s far more to this edition than just the movie. Since this is their first DVD/VHS only release, Disney has made sure that parents and kids get the most for their money and kids stay connected to their remotes. Along with the movie on Disc 1, they’ll find deleted scenes and a hidden Mickey Mouse hunt. But bonus features abound on Disc 2: Featurettes “Before the Beginning: The Making of Lion King 1 1/2” and “Timon: Behind the Legend”, “Grazing in the Grass” Music Video performed by Raven; a “Who Wants to be King of the Jungle?” game fashioned after “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” with 80,000 question combinations and hosted by Millionaire’s very own Meredith Vieira; Timon & Pumbaa’s Virtual Safari 1.5, a theme park styled ride created in conjunction with Walt Disney Imagineering; and a “Find the Face” game for small children.
Length: 70 minutes
Dolby Digital Surround Sound
French Language Track
Reviewed: February 9, 2004