The Lion King is not a kids' film

The Lion King is not a kids' film


And here's why I think it should not be put down as such.


The accurate category for it is: a family film.
The main reason why I wish to discuss this topic is that people who think of this (and Disney classics in general) as kids' films, judge and try to tell off people who hold these films in adult standards and discuss them in depth and seriously.
I will dig into The Lion King specifically later, but first let me start with a general look into the topic.

This article is not meant to offend anyone, but merely to offer another point of view.

I think the three main reasons why many people put these films down as nothing but kids' films, are:
1.) It's from Disney.
2.) It's animated/cartoon.
3.) It has (anthropomorphic) animals as characters instead of humans.

But come on, now. Would you stop and think for a little longer than that, please?

Yes, this film was produced by The Walt Disney Company. But whenever has animated characters and stories created in Disney's name, been suitable only for children or even mainly? They've had aspects and themes intriguing for and speaking to adults as well, some the kind children couldn't even understand or catch at all in them while watching or reading. More on this later in this article.

And sure, this film is animated but animation is nothing but one form of art and there are tons of animated films and stories that are absolutely not meant for children's eyes and ears. So please consider to stop ruling this as a kids' film just because this is animated/cartoon film.

(Anthropomorphic) animal characters? Please consider that aspect may be so in order to make the story more appealing to children, but the crucial matter to the film is the story and the crucial matter to the story is what the characters are inside and what their choices try to teach the viewer.

Let me take you to a little trip into some of the Disney animated classics:

- Bambi (1942)...The death and destruction a man brings to young Bambi's life and to the entire forest. While it of course is affecting to people of all ages...Does an avarage little kid actually grasp all its depths and meanings, are they capable or interested in pondering them for all that it is? I daresay not. But older children, teenagers and adults do. Should we not care so much about the message and moral it sends, just because the characters are animated animals?

- Robin Hood (1973)...Has animated anthropomorphic animals for characters, but they are human inside and the story, messgaes and morals are basically the same as in the other versions wherein they're all physically human. Why should the adult appeal of the story be thought non-existent just because the characters come alive in a different art form and look different from you and I and the film footage may have occational childlike humour added?

- The Fox and the Hound (1981)...Basically this is a story about how even natural enemies can become best friends instead if only the world didn't teach them to be enemies. And how later, even when unfortunate misunderstandings turn them into genuine enemies, the friendship they originally got to form proves to be stronger than anything else and they end up saving each others' lives. I personally cry every time when Todd lies in the water, all given up, and Copper goes and protectively stands over Todd who is about to be shot by Copper's master. This dog's loyalty and love for his "natural enemy" who in fact was his dear friend, won over his loyalty to his master whom we humans consider that should be his best friend. They didn't let the ways of the world and humans' morals blind their hearts from the truth, or take away their courage to rebel against the wrongs for the better. And they won.

Why shouldn't this be appealing to adults or important to discuss, just because Todd and Copper are animated animals?

- Beauty and the Beast (1991)...Already just the intro scene, the setting of the story should make it clear this film is for adults, too. Should we dismiss it just because this story was portrayed through animation and it has magic involved? No, I don't think so. Also, Belle fell romantically in love with a beast whom she didn't consciously think to be human. She sings;
"New, and a bit alarming. Who'd have ever thought that this could be?"
That throws in a slight beastiality-like touch. Note that not actual beastiality as there is no sexual tension but something similar anyway. That is something children aren't likely to catch or think about even with those lyrics there.
Gaston is the worst male role model ever and he is passed off as a male role model in the film. While children surely do get that he's a villain, could an avarage child really grasp all the complex ways he is so? I doubt. (Sidenote; I've never hated a Disney villain but gosh do I loath Gaston. Every time the Beast has his chance to off him, I keep thinking 'Drophimdrophimdrophim–awww damnit!”)

- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)...You dare to tell me that young children would know what Frollo's song ”Hellfire” is about? If they do, I feel sorry for those kids, 'cause in my world view by all rights they shouldn't. You tell me that aspect of the story earned a song sequence in the film for children? I really don't think so.

- Hercules (1997)...If you've seen this film you don't need explanations. But for those who have not seen it; this film is riddled with sexual implications. The character of Meg throws countless implications to sex, the kind only teenagers and adults could possiblty catch. (Well, kids today grow up too early so maybe today's younger kids could catch them too, but back then...likely not.)

- The Lion King (1994)...Has more or less anthropomorphic animated animals and no humans at all. So, this means adults shouldn't be interested in the film or dig into the story and characters, and discuss them in adults standards? Come on, now. The story is based on Shakespeare's Hamlet and some Biblical stories; there's a brother murdering his brother and intending to murder a young child, then a young child is exiled with a false blame of his dear father's death in his heart. Then this murdering uncle rules so that his home land is destroyed. The story's theme is the circle of life. The story is about growing up and taking responsibilities as its creators put it on the commentary track (or some other bonus featurette, I don't remember for sure.)

So, let me ask you what in God's name makes this film so much a kids' film that it shouldn't be taken seriously and thought of and discussed in adult standards?

ConfusedMatthew says he doesn't hold this film to any adult standards. I think he should, maybe then his review would make more sense and include more valid arguments.

I once started a poll about what people think; did Mufasa let cub Simba off too easy after the Elephant Graveyard thing, or should he have disciplined the child more? Someone got upset that that kind of discussion especially if in depth is destroying ”the Disney magic” and that we're not supposed to to think so much logic with them.

I disagree because I think that the story being about growing up and taking responsibilities means there is more to the story than just Disney magic and naturally would be logic included. I actually think that purpose the story has, makes the mentioned poll topic quite fitting and the more psychology facts you bring into it the more you get out of it. After all, the scene in question is essential to how Simba would grow up and what he learns or doesn't learn about responsibilities.
Of course, his life took a dramatic turn, to upside down, the next day. But nonetheless, it could be discussed as if it hadn't taken that turn, because the characters at that moment didn't know what tommorrow would bring.

So what if Simba and co. are anthropomorphic animals? They're clearly supposed to be human in essence, human inside – the humans of the story. To a far extent they have the same responsibilities, morals and family dynamics as you and I. The only difference is that they're pixels on screen, we are flesh and blood. They don't really feel anything and their specific story never really happened. But this leads me to...

...how many people keep not realizing that while fiction isn't real, it mirrors real life. It's something we're supposed to look into, possibly relate to, analyze, discuss and learn from. Something we may draw strength from when we can relate to and learn from the story and character. Fiction is not there just for our entertainment. It's there as one of the ways for us to safely learn and grow by. That is if the story doesn't glorify all the wrong things.

Same goes for the people who always say ”It's only a movie! Why are you getting so worked up over it!” I mean...Yes it's only a movie, a fictional story. But fictional stories are made to speak to us, make us feel, learn, find strength, and relate to. Fiction mirrors real life and can sometimes help in life. It should be in depth discussed and analyzed. It is not just for children even if the physical form happens to be more appealing to children. And it is natural that it stirs strong emotions, both negative and positive. Of course it is always important to still keep in mind that it indeed is fiction and there is no need to get too upset or into denial about a fictional character matter. I think it's best if you take the golden middle road; do not brush it off as insignificant but do not take it too seriously either.

And do not judge the book by its cover because it's the inside that counts. The animated form and antropomorphic characters are only the cover.

Simba may be an anthropomorphic lion cub in a Disney cartoon film, but more importantly he is a fictional equivalence of a human. And that is how he should be thought of and his life discussed as. Even the person who composed Mufasa and Simba's theme, got this. He's said that while he composed, he wasn't thinking about a lion cub. He was thinking of a 10-years old little boy who lost his father.

One more thing that I appreciate about The Lion King is that it doesn't think children are mindless fragile little flowers. It teaches them life in somewhat realistic way; it doesn't sugar-coat darkness. The main villain is actually menacing instead of made into a clown, unlike captain Hook was in Disney's version of Peter Pan. And unlike in so many other Disney classics, in The Lion King the dead stay dead. But the story shows that still we can face our past and find future happiness.

As in, this and other films like this, while giving children a lot to enjoy as children, also think of children as future adults and people who will face trials and sorrow in their lives. Being another reason why this film should and can be held in adult standards.






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September 29, 2014
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Thanks, wolfdoggirl25! :)

Well, "Hellfire" while is totally (censored) song, in that its meaning goes way over young kids' heads so I don't see it as a bad choice for a song, at all. There's nothing straight out inappropriate in its lyrics and as for the darkness of them...Well, Disney's known for its dark moments in its animated classics, so why not some lyrics too... :P

June 27, 2014
Usa Is not currently on the site
i argee plus how could disney put a song like hellfire in one of their movies but i guess disney will do what they want. i love the older disney movies they aren't as good anymore anyway good article.:icon106: :icon106: :innocentgrin: :innocentgrin:

September 05, 2013
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@ Unimpressed Guest:

...CONTINUES FROM THE COMMENT BELOW...

--”And while no one in the pride particularly liked Scar, presumably as king, he could have commanded a few lions to chase the Hyenas out of the pridelands, rather than allow them to consume precious resources- because what good does it do to be king if you destroy your kingdom in the process?”--

Didn't you notice the MASSIVE number of hyenas there was? They seemed to be much larger in numbers than the lion pride. Even if we counted in the ones introduced in the sequel film. So no, I don't think ”a few lions” would've been enough to chase them away from still green and prosperous lands when they'd actually gained it in such large numbers. And seeing to how Scar probably didn't have friends as a king from neighbouring areas, he may have very well been stuck with the hyenas, at the end only seemingly holding the power. It seemed like the point at which Simba returned was the tip of the iceburg so to say, that soon enough someone would've overthrown Scar if he'd kept up the stubborn, selfish tyrant rule. I think the hyenas still held on to some faith that since Scar kept his promise in the first place though wasn't able to keep it all thw way, that he would still fix it. Until he called the hyenas the enemy and they realized he was never the hero.
And again with the complex character; perhaps Scar was one of those who don't think of the consequences of their selfish actions before it's too late. (Hence, ending up destroying the Pridelands.)

September 05, 2013
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@ Unimpressed Guest:

...CONTINUES FROM THE COMMENT BELOW...

--”Nor, if we're being honest, does it make sense for the evil scar to actually honor his promises to the hyenas. An opportunist uses a person for what they're worth, then finds a way to get rid of them.”--

You can't really validly say that. You can't say what a character someone else created would or wouldn't do. Perhaps Scar's creators meant him to be more complex character than that. As in not be just an evil opportunist. Maybe he related to the hyenas for some reason, and so kept his promise. And his reaction to Simba's entrance could be implication of him feating Mufasa's revenge from beyond the grave, perhaps even of some regret of murdering him. Which could have him want a lot of ”bodyguards” as for some reason the hyenas still defended him even though were displeased. The 'I killed Mufasa' revealation to Simba could've been partially of regret too but probbaly mostly out of cruelty as he meant to kill Simba just after.

September 05, 2013
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@ Unimpressed Guest:

...CONTINUES FROM THE COMMENT BELOW...

--”And then there's (censored) Simba. I find it excruciatingly difficult to believe the influence of his bumbling exiled compatriots could have done much to prepare Simba to retake the throne... ...There's no way a lion who's spent his formative years eating insects and inhaling the excretions of a flatulent warthog, has been readying himself for the epic battle that ensues with Scar.”--

I don't think this aspect of the story is about him being ready to reclaim the throne, for one becuase of course no one who's been running from their past ever since it happened could possibly be ready and seeing to his life-style he would've NEVER been ready. I think this aspect is about exactly the opposite; that he indeed wasn't prepared but still chose to TRY because he HAD TO (because his family was starving), and also because he finally understood that running from problems and sorrows isn't helping anyone. It isn't supposed to be a great battle-journey-story of a capable hero but a story about growing up and taking one's responsibilities even when things are dark and scary.

As for fighting Scar and winning; I think Simba won because Scar was way too self-assurent and certain of winning himself, and thought of Simba as the little cub who had left (which Simba much was but strengthenth with the adrenaline and rage of newly-revealed utter betrayal.) (He also won because Simba is extremely stretchy animated lion, because in real life he probably would've rolled down the cliff with Scar.)

September 05, 2013
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@ Unimpressed Guest:

--”To me, Simba is an insufferable, arrogant cub, who rubs his imminent ascension in his Uncle's face, disobeys his father's orders, and ends up getting his father killed and getting himself into hot water in the process.”--

I agree he has an attitude problem for some reason, but as for rubbing anything in his uncle's face...? No, I see him as just a little boy excited about his status while he's entirely unaware that his uncle envies him. I wouldn't blame a young child for being excited about being the future king and not picking up envy signs from a loved one who probably spent most of his time away from the pride and whenever with him, acted all friendly and 'caring uncle'. Simba really had no way of knowing his uncle's true feelings.
Therefore I don't see any valid reason what-so-ever to blame Simba for his father's death.

--”For that matter, if Scar was really interested in killing his nephew, why not just do it himself instead of sending him off to the Elephant Graveyard? They were alone when all this was being discussed, and anyone who could hatch a plot that complicated could surely have come up wit a way to dispose of the body without anyone discovering what he'd done?”--

Perhaps he LIKED doing it in a more cunning way? As in a matter of personality. Speaking of which, I also believe Scar did what he did because he's (obviously) cruel. If killed by hyenas where his father had specifically told him not to go, Simba's last thoughts would've included some serious self-blame in addition to the horror, unaware that his uncle had played him into it. (After all there was no indication that Simba would've disobeyed his father had he not been revealed what the place is.) And I think Mufasa's death scene speaks for itself as for how Scar wanted to be cruel to this child.

August 19, 2013
Uk Is not currently on the site
I agree with the last two comments, I CAN see that the Lion King is both for kids and adults, but, please tell me people are not serious- a 12 rating? No, a PG would be the limit in my opinion. Iron Man 3 (not sure about 1&2) was rated only a 12, and your willing to put the Lion King alongside that? As Sarabi said, the film system is already bad enough, there is no way I'd ever consider the Lion King having a 12 rating.

August 19, 2013
Uk Female Is not currently on the site
ex mod, cheeky sod
i agree, young children will most likely be unable to understand the deeper meanings of the movie, but I don't think it should be rated a 12. If I'm correct, tlk is a U. When I saw that, I was a little stunned, as I was expecting at least a pg.
however, 12 is too far.... in my opinion, anyway ^^

August 19, 2013
Uk Is not currently on the site
Oh.My.Gosh.
People aren't serious, are they?
12? (and we wonder why our movie system is inn such a bad way)
the films should be rated PG at best. NOT 12. TLK is of course a family movie, and it's mostly labelled as such. 13 ratings belong to horror movies. Not movies about a little lion cub and his adventures.

August 19, 2013
Sweden Is not currently on the site
I totally agree with everything you said they should label it 12 years and above because they basically learn it at school anyway

April 29, 2013
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I realize I'm overthinking this, but I'm exaggerating to make a point: There's no way a lion who's spent his formative years eating insects and inhaling the excretions of a flatulent warthog, has been readying himself for the epic battle that ensues with Scar. Nor, if we're being honest, does it make sense for the evil scar to actually honor his promises to the hyenas. An opportunist uses a person for what they're worth, then finds a way to get rid of them. And while no one in the pride particularly liked Scar, presumably as king, he could have commanded a few lions to chase the Hyenas out of the pridelands, rather than allow them to consume precious resources- because what good does it do to be king if you destroy your kingdom in the process?
I could go on and on, but the point is, I just fail to see how The Lion King is anything other than idealism at it's worst.

April 29, 2013
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I found this site by searching "What is the appeal of the Lion King" on Google. I realize it's been a huge cultural phenomenon since it was released, but I don't get it. I say this as a person who was the appropriate age (12) to adore this film when it was released... and I didn't. Not then, and, after a recent re-watching... not now, either. My friends loved this film, so it's nothing to do with peer pressure or any other social pressure. I agree that the music is great, but the film itself is lacking something.
I'm not here to attack you for your fandom at all, merely to offer a different perspective. I've watched this movie twice lately... and I don't hate it, but I fail to see the (censored) appeal. I realize the storyline was supposedly based in part on Shakespeare's Hamlet, but it misses the mark even in that respect.
To me, Simba is an insufferable, arrogant cub, who rubs his imminent ascension in his Uncle's face, disobeys his father's orders, and ends up getting his father killed and getting himself into hot water in the process. For that matter, if Scar was really interested in killing his nephew, why not just do it himself instead of sending him off to the Elephant Graveyard? They were alone when all this was being discussed, and anyone who could hatch a plot that complicated could surely have come up wit a way to dispose of the body without anyone discovering what he'd done? And then there's (censored) Simba. I find it excruciatingly difficult to believe the influence of his bumbling exiled compatriots could have done much to prepare Simba to retake the throne- if anything, their table manners alone would be enough to get him exiled from any royal court I know of.

March 12, 2013
Australia Is not currently on the site
This is so true! Lion King does have a very human story, and should be taken seriously. The thing with Disney movies is when you're a kid they appear very appropriate; but when you're older you actually "get' everything!

March 01, 2013
Usa Is not currently on the site
i LOVE this article! u rock i totally agree with everything you said

February 13, 2013
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I agree with some of the comments. It can be for adults and children

January 09, 2013
Uk Is not currently on the site
ye, cuz adults get the meaning of hamlet straight away. I mean WHAT CHILD at the age of 5 or 6 understands what HAMLET means straight away?! You have a really good point! :icon108:

FutureNoble
FutureNo
ble
September 02, 2012
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It's For family Lion king Is

Guest
Guest
August 25, 2012
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i belive this it's for both children and adults and even teens but has some down sides to..

Guest
Guest
August 23, 2012
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This was a very interesting article. I know, as a sophomore in High School, it's hard to admit sometimes that I still thoroughly enjoy Disney classics, such as the Lion King, because my peers only view many of these classics as "kids shows" and you should be frowned upon for still watching them. I must wholeheartedly agree with the fact that they are wrong. I enjoy these movies very much, possibly even more than I did as a younger girl, because I *get* it now.

Great work. :P

August 23, 2012
Global Moderator Usa Female Is not currently on the site
The Lion King for adults and kids too.




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