The Lion King II:

Simba's Pride

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Details At A Glance

Category Family Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 71:53 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Darrell Rooney

Warner Home Video
Starring Matthew Broderick
Neve Campbell
Robert Guillaume
Andy Dick
James Earl Jones
Nathan Lane
Ernie Sabella
Moira Kelly
Jason Marsden
Suzanne Pleshette
RRP $34.95 Music Nick Glennie-Smith

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio No Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Hebrew (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    It is sometimes a little difficult to grasp how important The Lion King was to Disney. I was fortunate (or unfortunate depending upon your point of view) to be at Walt Disney World in Florida not too long after its theatrical release and just about everything was being redone there around The Lion King theme. Disney milked it for all it was worth, and must have made a packet out of it - the number of Lion King souvenirs I bought certainly swelled their coffers. But then, they had every reason to milk it, for it was a very successful film: a fresh, original story, some great animation, wonderful songs, great characters and wonderful humour. You name it and The Lion King had it. It was therefore inevitable that a sequel would be forthcoming. And the reason why it came straight to home video release is obvious, for it lacks every little spark that made the original so special.

    The Lion King II story picks up with the 'christening' of Kiara (Neve Campbell), the new daughter of Simba (Matthew Broderick) and Nala (Moira Kelly), who turns out to be very much her father's daughter. Whilst out playing one day Kiara meets Kovu (Jason Marsden), the appointed heir to Scar and the son of Zira (Suzanne Pleshette) - and an outsider who has been exiled because of the association with Scar. Flash forward a year or so and Kiara is a young lioness out for her first hunt when disaster strikes, from which she is rescued by none other than Kovu. What follows is the usual Disney story of good overcoming bad and everyone living happily ever after, except for the unfortunate Zira. A bunch of characters is carried forward from the original film in order to provide continuity, so we have Timon (Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) and Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) along to point the way and add their unique brand of humour - sort of (Zazu is here too but not in the hands of Rowan Atkinson). Whereas the original had the theme of The Circle of Life, the theme here is We Are One - which says it all about the two films really.

    As far as sequels go, this was always facing an uphill battle because the original was simply so original. It ultimately fails as a sequel because the humour is less original and the story is less original and the songs are less original. You get the drift here. Which is somewhat unfortunate as this is not that bad a film in its own right. It just is not The Lion King. But in the absence of any idea when The Lion King will ever get to DVD, since it is a Disney 'moratorium' title, if you need a fix of Timon, Pumbaa and crew, this will have to suffice.

Transfer Quality


    It is said that DVD is not kind to animation. Do not know why.

    Presented in a Pan & Scan format (1.33:1), this is not 16x9 enhanced. It is a great disappointment that we have not been blessed with a widescreen release of the film like Region 1 - something that Disney unfortunately seem prone to.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp throughout and has a very good definition to it, although the few inherent problems with the original animation that were a little overlooked in the original video release are exposed here. The foreground birds for instance in the opening sequence come up very noticeably out of focus and unnatural compared to the video release, where they were not so noticeable: note that this is not a transfer problem but part of the original animation.

    The colours come up quite vibrant, although I was expecting a little more vibrancy than we actually got. At times there was a lack of contrast in the colours, with the overriding predominance of oranges, reds and browns. There were some very minor hints of over saturation of the colours, but nothing too distracting and certainly miles better than the very over saturated feel of the video release.

   There were no apparent MPEG artefacts nor did there appear to be any film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts were quite rare during the film, and were in no way distracting to the film.


   The audio transfer is a new 5.1 remaster and very good it is too - for an animated film. How much audio demonstration do you expect from an animated film?

   There are seven audio tracks on the DVD: the English, French and Italian audio tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks whilst the Dutch, Hebrew, Hungarian and Polish audio tracks are Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded tracks. I listened to the English default.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync? Err, it's animation, so there is no such thing (or plenty, depending upon your point of view).

    The musical score by Nick Glennie-Smith obviously lacks originality as it has to draw somewhat from the score of the original film. However, it was quite evocative and contributed well to the film.

    This is a quite well balanced soundtrack, although the rear channels were used only sparingly to provide emphasis to action sequences and ambience during storms and so on. The soundscape is nicely encompassing and you are nicely inserted into the action. The bass channel gets very little use, other than to support of few of the action sequences.


    Nothing at all.


R4 vs R1

    At the time of its release in Region 4, Lion King II: Simba's Pride had not been released in Region 1: their release came on 23rd November, as one of the nine animated classics on limited 60 day release. Furthermore, once stocks run out after that 60 day period, it will remain unavailable in Region 1 for up to ten years. The Region 4 release apparently has no planned withdrawal date (at least none that has been advised).

    The Region 4 release however misses out on:

    The Region 1 release misses out on:     Having had the opportunity to now watch the Region 1 release, it would seem to be the better (albeit more expensive) option. It would appear that it is a genuine widescreen release, not just a matted full frame format, although I will concede that there is not a heck of a lot of worthwhile additional image involved. However, the Region 1 release seems to be a lot more vibrant than the Region 4 release and appears to be a little sharper too, and straight out seemed to be more like what I was expecting from this film. Overall, other than the huge differential in recommended retail prices (Di$ney having been widely criticized for the rather exorbitant price of these Limited Issue Region 1 releases), the lack of a widescreen version, even if not 16x9 enhanced, is a powerful argument in favour of Region 1, and the trailer and video together with a better looking transfer make this a win for Region 1 - at least until the 60 days is up.


    Okay, so it is not The Lion King but The Lion King II is not a bad family film in its own right. With the long summer holidays coming up, the release has been impeccably timed (along with a few other Disney animated classics) and is probably an essential purchase to keep the juniors occupied during the long, hot days of summer. At least this will not wear out, unlike the video tape.

    The overall video quality is good, if not especially noteworthy.

    A good audio transfer.

    And Di$ney still have not found the definition of an extra yet, at least in Region 4.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
21st November 1999
updated 14th December 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL