The Lion King II – Simba's Kingdom
The Lion King II – Simba's Kingdom (original title The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride ) is an animated adventure and music film aimed at the home video market released in 1998 . It is the sequel to the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King, with its plot influenced by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and the second installment in The Lion King trilogy. According to director Darrell Rooney, the final draft gradually became a variation of Romeo and Juliet.
Produced by Walt Disney Video Premiere and animated by Walt Disney Animation Australia, the film centers on Kiara, the daughter of Simba and Nala, who falls in love with Kovu, a rogue male lion from a bandit pride who was once loyal to her uncle Simba's villain, Scar. Separated by Simba's prejudice against the banished pride and a vengeful plot planned by Kovu's mother, Zira, Kiara and Kovu struggle to unite their separated prides and be together.
Most of the original cast returned to their roles from the first film with a few exceptions. Rowan Atkinson, who voiced Zazu in the first film, was replaced by Edward Hibbert for both this film and The Lion King 1½ (2004). Jeremy Irons, who voiced Scar in the first film, was replaced by Jim Cummings, who briefly provided his singing voice in the first film. Despite initially receiving mixed to negative reviews, the film has undergone positive reevaluation over the next few years, with many critics deeming it one of Disney's best direct-to-video sequels.
In the Pridelands of Africa, Kiara the daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala, gets angry with her overprotective parents. Simba sends her childhood friends the meerkat Timon and the warthog Pumbaa to follow her. After entering the forbidden "No Man's Lands," Kiara meets a young cub, Kovu, and they are attacked by crocodiles. They escape using teamwork and Kiara even saves Kovu at one point. When Kovu takes his revenge for Kiara's game, Simba confronts the young cub just as he is being confronted by Zira, Kovu's mother and leader of the Forsaken. Zira reminds Simba how he exiled her and the other Forsworn, and says that Kovu was meant to succeed her late uncle Scar and Simba's nemesis.
After returning to the Pride Lands, Nala and the rest of the pack return to Pride Rock, while Simba lectures Kiara about the danger posed by the Forsworn. In No Man's Lands, Zira reminds Kovu that Simba killed Scar and exiled everyone who respected him. Kovu explains that he doesn't think it's a bad thing to befriend Kiara, and Zira realizes that he can use Kovu's friendship with Kiara to get revenge on Simba.
Several years later, Kiara, now a young adult, sets out on her first solo hunt. Simba asks Timon and Pumbaa to secretly follow her, forcing her to hunt away from the Pride Lands. As part of Zira's plan, Kovu's brothers Nuka and Vitani trap Kiara in a fire, allowing Kovu to save her. In exchange for saving her, Kovu asks to join Simba's pride. Simba is forced to take Kovu's place since he saved Kiara. Later that night, Simba has a nightmare trying to save his father, Mufasa, from falling in the wildebeest stampede, but is stopped by Scar who then transforms into Kovu and sends Simba to his death.
Kovu considers attacking Simba, but is interrupted by Kiara and starts spending more time with her. Kovu is torn between his mission and his feelings for Kiara until Rafiki, a mandrill who serves as shaman and advisor, leads them into the jungle, where he introduces them to "upendo" (a misspelled form of upendo, meaning "love" in Swahili), helping the two lions fall in love. That night, Simba allows Kovu to sleep inside Pride Rock with the rest of the Pride at Nala's persuasion. Upon learning of Kovu's failure to kill Simba, Zira sets a trap for them.
The next day, Kovu tries once again to explain his mission to Kiara, but Simba takes him around the Pridelands and tells him the story of Scar. The Renegades attack Simba, resulting in Nuka's death and Simba fleeing. Afterwards, Zira scratches Kovu, causing him to turn against her. Returning to Pride Rock, Kovu begs Simba's forgiveness, but is exiled, because Simba thinks he is behind the ambush. Distraught, Kiara hints to Simba that she is acting irrationally and flees in search of Kovu. The two lions then reunite and profess their love. Realizing that they must reunite the two packs, Kiara and Kovu return to the Pride Lands and convince them to stop fighting. Zira, however, refuses to let go of the past and attempts to kill Simba, but Kiara intervenes and Zira dies.
Simba apologizes to Kovu for his mistake and the Forsworn are welcomed back to the Pride Lands.
Simba son of Mufasa and Sarabi, king of the Pridelands, companion of Nala and father of Kiara. Cam Clarke provided his singing voice.
Kiara , daughter of Simba and Nala, heiress to the Pride Lands, love interest of Kovu and later mate.
Metal , Zira's son, Nuka and Vitani's younger brother, and Kiara's love interest and later partner.
Zira , the leader of the Forsaken, Scar's staunchest follower and mother of Nuka, Vitani and Kovu.
Nala , queen of the Pride Lands, mate of Simba, daughter-in-law of Mufasa and Sarabi, and mother of Kiara.
Timon , a witty and self-absorbed but somewhat loyal meerkat who is best friends with Pumbaa and Simba.
pumbaa , a naïve warthog who is best friends with Timon and Simba.
Rafiki , an old mandrill who serves as the shaman of the Pridelands.
Edward Hibbert as Zazu, a red-billed hornbill who serves as the king's butler.
nuka , the son of Zira, the elder brother of Vitani and Kovu and the oldest male in Zira's family.
vitani , daughter of Zira and sister of Nuka and Kovu.
Mufasa Simba's late father, Kiara's grandfather, Nala's father-in-law and former king of the Pridelands.
Scar , Mufasa's younger brother, Simba's uncle, Kiara's great-uncle and Kovu's mentor who appears in a brief cameo.
By May 1994, discussions had begun about the possibility of a home video sequel to The Lion King before the first film was released theatrically. In January 1995, it was reported that a sequel to Lion King would be released "in the next twelve months". However, it was delayed, and in May 1996 it was reported that it would be released in early 1997. By 1996, Darrell Rooney had signed on to direct the film while Jeannine Roussel was set to produce.
In April 1996, Jane Leeves of Frasier fame had been cast as Binti, who was to be Zazu's girlfriend, but the character was ultimately dropped. In August 1996, Cheech Marin reported that he would reprise the role of Banzai the hyena from the first film, but the character was ultimately cut from the sequel. In December 1996, it was confirmed that Matthew Broderick would return as Simba while his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston were in talks to voice Aisha, Simba's daughter. Andy Dick was also confirmed to have signed on to voice Nunka, the young villain-in-training turned hero, who attempts to fall in love with Aisha. Eventually, the character was renamed Kiara (after Aisha was revealed to be the name of a female Power Ranger), and voiced by Neve Campbell, from the Scream film series. Nunka was renamed Kovu and voiced by Jason Marsden. Then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner urged that Kovu's relationship with Scar be changed during production as being Scar's son would make him Kiara's first cousin once removed.
According to Rooney, the final draft gradually became a variation of Romeo and Juliet. "It's the greatest love story we have," she explained. "The difference is that you understand the position of the parents in this film like you never did in Shakespeare." As none of the original animators were involved in the production, most of the animation was done by the Walt Disney Television Animation studio in Sydney, Australia. However, all storyboarding and pre-production work was done at the Feature Animation studio in Burbank, California. Additional animation was by Disney's Canadian animation studio and Toon City in Manila, Philippines. By March 1998, Disney confirmed the sequel would be released on October 27, 1998.
Original title The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Original language English
Country United States, Australia
Regia Darrell Rooney, Rob LaDuca
Producer Jeannine Roussel (producer), Walt Disney Animation Australia, Walt Disney Video Premieres (production companies)
Film script Flip Kobler, Cindy Marcus
character design Dan Haskett, Caroline Hu
Artistic direction Fred Warter
Music Nick Glennie Smith
Date 1st edition October 27, 1998
Duration 81 min
Italian publisher Buena Vista Home Entertainment (distributor)
Gender adventure, musical, sentimental