|The Lion King 1½|
|Directed by:||Bradley Raymond|
|Produced by:||George A. Mendoza|
|Written by:|| Tom Rogers|
|Music by:|| Johnny Clegg|
Don L. Harper
|Distributed by:|| Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment|
The Lion King 1½ (also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata in some countries) is a 2004 American direct-to-video animated film released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment on February 10, 2004. The DVD went to the Disney Vault in January 2005. The film is a parallel to the 1994 film The Lion King, and focuses on the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa before and during the events of the original film. The film, setup as a frame story, starts out playing the very beginning of the original film. Timon and Pumbaa are shown in silhouette commenting on the movie being shown before them, in a style nearly identical to that of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The film starts as Timon and Pumbaa are shown watching the opening act of the original film in a dark theater when Timon suddenly uses a remote control to fast forward to where they appear in the film. Pumbaa argues that the film shouldn't go out of order and attempts to rewind the film back to the beginning. Timon and Pumbaa start fighting over control of the film until they agree that the film should tell their side of the story. Throughout the rest of the film, it is occasionally interrupted to have Timon and Pumbaa comment on whatever is happening. Mystery Science Theater 3000-like moments occur as the characters comment on the original film's proceedings. When the film ends, in a theater, Pumbaa insists on watching it again. Timon protests until all their friends and almost every Disney character come to watch it too (with Pumbaa commenting that he still does not "do so well in crowds").
While the original film, The Lion King, seemed to be based on Hamlet, this film might have been inspired by the Tom Stoppard play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, in which the titular characters are seen in every major event of Hamlet.
At Timon’s meerkat colony far away from Pride Rock, Timon takes jobs as a digger and a sentry, but despite his mother's encouragement, he cannot seem to find a good job for himself. After his uncle Max is nearly eaten by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed on his watch, Timon decides to leave the meerkat colony and find a place that is right for him. He is encouraged by Rafiki to seek Hakuna Matata and to look beyond what he sees, and has the intuition to head for Pride Rock. Along the way, Timon and Pumbaa meet for the first time and set out to find a "dream home."
The adventures of Timon and Pumbaa begin to coincide with the events of The Lion King at this point. They arrive at Pride Rock, but to their dismay a herd of animals is already there. While Timon and Pumbaa are walking through the herd of animals witnessing the presentation of the newborn Simba, Pumbaa accidentally flatlets, which causes a few animals to pass out and collapse. The animals in front see this and believe that the fallen animals are bowing, and soon they all bow together.
Timon and Pumbaa continue their journey and find a new home at a watering hole that looks like a miniature version of Pride Rock. One morning, they are disturbed by some noise from outside, which is actually Simba, Nala, and the animals singing "I Just Can't Wait To Be King." Timon is angry and hits the leg of an elephant supporting the tower of animals. The elephant jumps in surprise and causes the tower to collapse, explaining why it collapses in the original film.
Timon and Pumbaa's home is ruined by this event. Pumbaa tells Timon about a "dream home" in the jungle, but Timon ignores him. They travel to the elephant graveyard and witness Mufasa and Zazu saving the cubs from the hyenas. That night, going further into the graveyard, they watch an army of hyenas marching to the instrumental opening of "Be Prepared", and the duo run away. Later, they end up in the gorge only to encounter a wildebeest stampede, the same one from the original film in which Simba loses his father. While trying to run from the wildebeests, they fall down a waterfall, which leads to the "dream home" that Pumbaa had described. The song "Hakuna Matata" has turned into a sing-along. Timon and Pumbaa later find Simba, and the film shows some of their life in the jungle throughout the years.
As an adult, Simba re-encounters his childhood friend Nala. Afraid of losing Simba, Timon and Pumbaa try everything to stop Simba and Nala from falling in love. Simba and Nala fall off the cliff in the original film when Timon and Pumbaa trip Simba and Nala with a vine. In the original film, Timon and Pumbaa reappear in another place at the end of the "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" sequence because they were running around trying to interfere with the lions during the song. Although they fail, they are happy to see Simba arguing with Nala and running off to the grasslands. They mistake Mufasa's ghost appearing in the clouds as bad weather. In the morning, however, they realize that Simba has returned home to challenge Scar. Pumbaa and Timon disagree about whether to go after Simba, but ultimately both decide to return to Pride Rock.
There, Timon re-encounters his mother and Uncle Max for the first time since he left the colony. Timon's mother and uncle make a system of tunnels to trap the hyenas while Timon and Pumbaa create a diversion, from spinning plates, to doing the Can-Can, to breakdancing, and finally, to everybody's amazement, horror and disgust, proposing to Shenzi. This diverts the hyenas long enough for the meerkats to complete and collapse the tunnel trap.
After defeating Scar, Simba becomes the king and Timon tells his mother that he found his place, but something is still missing: his family. In the end, Timon and Pumbaa return to their jungle paradise, bringing Timon's entire meerkat colony with them. The meerkats now have a safe, work-free place to call home, and Timon is hailed a hero.
- Nathan Lane as Timon
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
- Julie Kavner as Ma
- Jerry Stiller as Uncle Max
- Matthew Broderick as Simba (teenager and adult)
- Robert Guillaume as Rafiki
- Moira Kelly as Nala
- Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings as Shenzi, Banzai and Ed
- Edward Hibbert as Zazu
- Matt Weinberg as Young Simba
- Mickey Mouse
- Snow White and the Dwarves in this order: Dopey, Bashful, Doc, Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, and Grumpy (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)
- Beast, Mrs. Potts, Chip and Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
- Lady and Tramp (Lady and the Tramp)
- a hippo dancer (Fantasia)
- Genie, Aladdin, Jasmine, and Carpet (Aladdin)
- Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
- Mad Hatter and March Hare (Alice in Wonderland)
- Donald Duck
- Quasimodo, Hugo, Victor, and Laverne (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
- Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and Lost Boys (Peter Pan)
- Pocahontas (Pocahontas)
- Mowgli and Balooo (The Jungle Book)
- Terk (Tarzan)
- Dumbo (Dumbo)
- Flora, Fauna and Merryweather (Sleeping Beauty)
- Br'er Bear (Song of the South)
Based on 13 reviews from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 79% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.4. The film has a more mixed rating of 65% in the RT community, with a score of 3.2/5.
The film soundtrack, The Lion King 1½: Songs From Timon and Pumbaa's Hilarious Adventure, was released to CD by Disney Records on February 10, 2004. It includes two songs from the original film, "That's All I Need" and "Hakuna Matata", re-performed by Nathan Lane who took over the role of voicing the character Timon. The rest of the soundtrack includes various R&B tracks, including remakes of the Kool and the Gang classic "Jungle Boogie" by artist French, and two instrumental pieces from film composer Don Harper. Ennio Morricone was the original composer of "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly".
- "Grazing In The Grass" (Raven-Symoné)
- "Digga Tunnah Dance" (Lebo M and Vinx)
- "That's All I Need" (Nathan Lane) (based on unused song from original film called "Warthog Rhapsody")
- "Hakuna Matata" (Lane, and Ernie Sabella)
- "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (Lebo M)
- "Jungle Boogie"
- "Timon's Traveling Theme"
- "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
- 2005 Annie Award for
- "Best Home Entertainment Production" (Won)
- "Music in an Animated Feature Production" (Nominated)
- 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards in the following categories:
- Best Animated Character Performance (Nathan Lane - voice, Alexis Stadermann - animator) for "Timon" (Won)
- Best Animated DVD Premiere Movie (Won)
- Best Director (of a DVD Premiere Movie) - Bradley Raymond (Won)
- Best Editing (of a DVD Premiere Movie) - Joyce Arrastia (Won)
- Best Screenplay (for a DVD Premiere Movie) - Tom Rogers (Won)
- 2005 Saturn Award
- "Best DVD Release" (Nominated)