The Lion King
The Lion King (TLK) is an animated movie that was released by Disney in 1994. It is popular in the furry community and is reported by some as their first introduction to the fandom, especially since it was released right at the beginning of widespread public use of the Internet.
Many participate in The Lion King MUCK or on one of the other large number of multiplayer worlds inspired by The Lion King. In 2001, there were "about 10 or 12 TLK mucks out there, some doing better than others. There are about 40 or so private TLK RPG's out there (non forum) that are invite only. There are 40 or 50 or so forums".
The movie is part of a three movie series:
- The Lion King, released in 1994
- Simba's Pride or The Lion King 2, released as a direct to video in 1998 in North America.
- The Lion King 1 1/2 (The Lion King 3 in Europe) released as a direct to video in 2002.
The movie centers on a pride of lions living around the area of Pride Rock, a fertile region providing enough to sustain the pride and other inhabitants. Mufasa is their wise leader, and when his mate Sarabi gives birth to Simba there is much rejoicing - except with his brother, Scar, who decides that in order to control the pride he must eliminate both Simba and his father.
Through a series of unfortunate events, Scar manages to eliminate his brother and make it look to Simba as if he is responsible for the death. Wracked by guilt, Simba leaves the pride in Scar's control. However, he later returns with his friend Nala to cast his uncle out and reclaim his rightful place as leader.
During Scar's reign, the land became barren, due to either mismanagement or other untold environmental issues. This might also be a form of the old myth of the intimate relationship between the King and the Land: the virtue of the King is reflected in the health of the land.
There were a few points of controversy with the first movie:
- In one scene, Simba flops down into the grass and stirs up some pollen. The pollen hovers in the air of a moment and appears to make a word in the sky before drifting off. Many people claimed they saw 'SEX' as the word, however Disney claims the word is 'SFX' as in 'Special Effects'. While the scene was not modified in the VHS release of the movie, the DVD release has the word darkened out and hardly visible at all.
- This Disney animated film was based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- There are many similarities between the movie and a Japanese anime series called Kimba the White Lion. Originally, The Lion King was to be called King of the Jungle and was to include a white lion as the lead. There are many parallels in characters and story points between the two movies that did make it into the final production. This page goes deeper into the similarities between the two movies, including images of the two.
Usage of African languages
Although many people believe that the movie takes its inspiration entirely from the Swahili language, all of the songs in the film are written in Zulu (while both are Bantu languages and therefore related, they are not mutually intelligible). It should be noted, though, that many of the names and phrases in The Lion King are words in Swahili, although other non-African words are used. The most popular of these examples is the phrase Hakuna Matata (lit. "there are no worries").
Characters with Swahili names include:
- Simba - lion
- Sarabi - mirage
- Pumbaa - careless; to be a fool; to be bewildered
- Rafiki - friend
- Banzai - skulk, lurk
- Shenzi - uncouth, savage, demon, barbarous
The Lion King musical stage show is an adapation of The Lion King movie. The stage show uses a combination of masks, puppetry and models to depict the animal characters. All of the costumes are designed to allow the human actors' faces to be seen as well as their animal personas, creating a deliberate duality. The show has been enormously successful, both on Broadway and in London's West End.
Several new songs (many in Zulu) were added for the Broadway production.
Impact on furry fandom
The film played a formative role in the development of the furry fandom's Internet presence. The Lion King Fan-Art Archive and The Lion King MUCK were both established in 1995 by Joshua C. Templin and Brian Tiemann and indirectly attracted untold numbers of Internet users to the concept of furry and anthropomorphic media. This occurred at the time when the World Wide Web was still considered to be an especially young platform for communication over the Internet, and a few other anthropomorphic media hosts were established in the same year to accommodate newer furry fans across wider distances, extending the furry presence on the Internet.
Multiple other Lion King MUCKs were established over the next 15 years, and other franchise-themed fan-operated roleplaying destinations were established soon after TLK MUCK.
A TV series entitled The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa debuted in 1995, focusing on the adventures of the meerkat and warthog. The other characters only appear in cameos, however.
- The REASON Muck talk isn't liked by a lot of furs here.. August 12, 2001 post by Magnwa to TLK-L. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
- Zulu on ethnologue.com
- Swahili on ethnologue.com
- The Lion King at Wikipedia
- Debate on the identity of Simba and Nala's cub
- The Lion King characters
- The Lion King fan fiction
- www.lionking.org - The biggest TLK site on the net, this includes The Lion King Fan-Art Archive.
- The Lion King at the Internet Movie Database
- Fans of The Lion King LJ community on LiveJournal
- The Lion King (musical) at Wikipedia