The Lion King 1½

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The Lion King 1½
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Original release February 10, 2004
Director Bradley Raymond
Producer George A. Mendoza
Running time 77 minutes

The Lion King 1½ (also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata in some countries outside the United States) is a live action/animated film, a part prequel/part midquel (or "in-between-quel" according to the film's teaser trailer) to 1994's The Lion King, made by The Walt Disney Company. The movie focuses on the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa before they met the lion Simba, and how Simba lived with them. Basically, the film is a comedic retelling of The Lion King from Timon and Pumbaa's point of view.

Plot

As the original 1994 film was based partially on the Shakespeare play Hamlet, and its direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was partially based on Romeo & Juliet, this movie is highly suspected to be inspired by Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, a play that created a humorous back story for two minor characters in Hamlet. Timon lived in a meerkat colony far away from Pride Rock. He was one of the worst diggers underground. While his mom has always been sympathetic and encouraging of Timon, his Uncle Max is more skeptical and embarrassed by his nephew. His father is not mentioned at all in the film, but did appear in a deleted scene; a sort of flashback. Timon's mom convinces Uncle Max to give Timon a job as sentry. The job results in disaster when Uncle Max narrowly escapes being eaten by the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Timon loses the little respect of his colony he had and leaves, hoping to find his place in the world. On his journey Timon meets Rafiki who tells Timon that he seeks "Hakuna Matata", and tells him how to get there. Timon mistakes Rafiki's words of wisdom as an actual place located at Pride Rock. Along the way, Timon and Pumbaa meet for the first time. Unfortunately, Timon was scared of predators which made Timon and Pumbaa scream loudly when they bump into each other.

The adventures of Timon and Pumbaa begin to coincide with the events of The Lion King at this point. When they walk through the herd of animals witnessing the presentation of the new-born Simba, Pumbaa becomes a victim of his demophobia-triggered flatulence problem, and the terrible smell causes a few animals to collapse. The animals at the front see this and believe that the fallen animals are bowing, and soon they all bow together too. Timon and Pumbaa continue their journey and find a new home near Pride Rock. One morning, they are disturbed by some noise from outside, which is actually Simba, Nala, Zazu, and the animals singing "I Just Can't Wait to be King". Timon gets mad 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 collapsed in the original film. Timon and Pumbaa's home is ruined by this event and they set off to find another home. On the way, they travel to the elephant graveyard and witness Mufasa saving the cubs from the hyenas. That night, going further into the graveyard, they witness an army of hyenas marching to "Be Prepared", and the duo run away. Later, they end up in the gorge only to encounter a wildebeest stampede, which is the same one from the original film where Simba loses his father. In the midst of it all they fall down a waterfall and, just as Timon is about to give up, find themselves before a large, luscious empty jungle in which they make their new home. Later they find Simba and the film shows us some of their life in the jungle throughout the years. As an adult, Simba re-encounters his childhood friend Nala, and Timon and Pumbaa try everything to stop Simba from falling in love with her. This has disastrous results, although explaining a few things not touched in the original film: Simba and Nala fell off the cliff because Timon and Pumbaa tripped them with a vine; and Timon and Pumbaa re-appear at the end of the Can You Feel The Love Tonight sequence at another place because they were running around trying to interfere with the lions during the song. Although they fail, Timon are happy when they notice Simba arguing with Nala and running off to the grasslands. They go back to sleep, mistaking Mufasa's ghost appearing in the clouds as bad weather. However, in the morning, they realize that Simba has returned home to challenge Scar. Pumbaa follows after Nala, leaving Timon alone. Rafiki appears before Timon but before he can say anything, Timon realizes that his "Hakuna Matata" is all about his friends, not his home. Timon catches up with Pumbaa and together they head to Pride Rock.

There, Timon re-encounters his mother and Uncle Max for the first time since he left the colony. They battle the hyenas while Simba fights with Scar. Thanks to Timon's quick thinking, the hyenas roll down a tunnel just in time to meet Scar after he is thrown from Pride Rock by Simba. This seems to be an error, as in the original film the hyenas attacked Scar because they heard him telling Simba that the whole plot was their fault and idea. But they can not have heard it, as they were chasing Timon. A possibility the hyenas heard while Timon and Pumbaa run down, but after they heard it, they focused on eating Timon and Pumbaa.

After the defeat of 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.

When the movie is over, Pumbaa says he wants to watch it again, but Timon refuses to. However, Timon's mom, Uncle Max, Simba and Rafiki suddenly arrive and request to watch the movie as well. They are then joined by numerous Disney characters. Timon gives up and begins to play the movie again. Right before the credits roll, Pumbaa says he's still not used to crowds.

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