The king of animated films reigns in this final chapter of The Lion King trilogy! Experience the power of "Upendi"-which means "love"-as Kiara, Simba's strong-willed daughter, seeks adventure away from her father's watchful gaze. Timon and Pumbaa can do only so much to protect her, especially when she encounters an intriguing rival, Kovu, a cub who is being groomed to lead Scar's pride. As Kiara and Kovu search for their proper places in the great "Circle of Life," they discover that it may be their destiny to reunite their prides and bring peace to the Pride Lands. Featuring the original all-star voice cast, breathtaking animation, and enchanting songs, Kiara and Kovu's adventure thrills audiences of all ages as the glorious "Circle of Life" continues for a new generation.
Another made-for-video sequel to a Disney masterpiece. As with the Beauty and the Beast
sequels, most of the recognizable vocal talents return, creating a worthwhile successor to the highest-grossing animated film ever. We pick up the story as the lion king, Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick), and Nala (Moira Kelly) have a new baby cub, a girl named Kiara (Neve Campbell). Like her father before, she seeks adventure and ends up outside the Pridelands, where lions loyal to the evil Scar (who died in the original) have lived with revenge in their hearts. The leader, Zira (a spunky turn from Suzanne Pleshette), schemes to use her son Kovu (Jason Marsden) to destroy Simba. As luck with have it, Kiara has bumped into Kovu and fallen in love.
This all sounds familiar since all of Disney's straight-to-video sequels have played it very safe, nearly repeating the originals' story, tone, and pace. Perhaps there were too many cooks for this production. Besides the two screenplay credits, there are eight other writers credited for additional written material. The look of the film has none of the surprise of the original but is far superior to other animated videos. In fact, the film played in European theaters.
For kids, the sequel will be a favorite. The comic antics of Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumba (Ernie Sabella) are enjoyable, as is Andy Dick as Nuka, the mixed-up older son of Zira. And there's plenty of action. The best element is the music. Relying on more African-influenced music, the five songs featured are far superior to those in Disney's other sequels. Zira's song of revenge, "My Lullaby," was cowritten by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. The standout opening number, "He Lives in You," was created for the Lion King Broadway smash and now finds a whole new audience. --Doug Thomas