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The ETCast is back!
Kevin and I caught up on Skype and debated to movies we disagree about: Shrek and The Lion King. As you know if you’ve been following our Animation Evaluation project, you know that I’m a big fan of both Shrek and The Lion King, while Kevin believes both are overrated.
We spent an hour debating the movie’s flaws. Kevin reveals why he finds the protagonists of both movies so infuriating from a storytelling perspective, while I defend The Lion King‘s “classical” story structure and Shrek’s integrity as a hero. We do agree on a revised version of Shrek we’d like to see.
Anyone else want to chime in?
3 thoughts on “ETCast, Episode 010 – Debating Shrek and The Lion King”
So, I’m a fan of The Lion King.
Thoughtful points on both sides. Much was said about Simba being a weak character, but I’m curious what you guys think of some of the others. Scar has always terrified me, being an outright cerebral villain, the kind of pure evil that would murder his brother and then convince a child that had killed his own father. I think Simba running a way is less a sign of Simba’s cowardice than a sign of Scar’s despotic control over the young prince. Rafiki, too, is interesting, if perhaps as a plot device more than a character, because even the three short glimpses into his tree when he draws, erases, and enhances the picture of Simba serve to establish both the audience’s expectations that Simba has royalty in his blood and an air of mysticism that permeates the story.
Many brief scenes do work to make the development of the story and protagonists more convincing. Nala’s desire for Simba to be “the king I know he is” is a reference to the scene in their youth when Mufasa leads two crestfallen cubs out of the elephant graveyard and Nala tells Simba, “I thought you were very brave.” The following scene, with Mufasa tutoring Simba under the starlight, is an overt transition in Simba’s character: he is explicitly told what it takes to be a king, and what it’s like to be a king, and these lessons plant seeds that the audience gets to see bloom when he returns to Pride Rock as an adult. Simba goes back, of course, because Rafiki shows him his reflection, in which he sees Mufasa and becomes persuaded of his true destiny.
Don’t overlook the little scenes. It seems harsh to call out a lack of transitions between the three stages of Simba’s character, then to also shrug off the scenes in which those transitions actually occur (e.g., Mufasa in the clouds) as silly or lazy on the part of the writers. Those scenes take time on screen, and they are significant in the motion of the plot, and ignoring them can create artificial holes.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!”
“Yeah, but it still hurts!”
“Yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it. So what are you going to do?”
Thanks for the comment. Listening back to this, I thought of about 50 things I wish I had said but didn’t, so I am not entirely pleased with my defense of the movie in this podcast.
I really like some of the points you make here, and I agree with all of them. You can pull out some things in isolation and find fault with them, but in the scheme of the movie, I agree that it all works.
Oh snap, I totally didn’t know someone commented on this. Better late than never?
Although I personally think Scar is a fine villain, Nostalgia Critic has done well to criticize Scar (as a menacing villain) once he gets the throne. Scar wanted to be king so badly, only to sit on his butt and do nothing meaningful for the rest of the movie once he gets what he wants. For as much as he schemed, he didn’t seem to think about what he was going to do after killing Mufusa and Simba.
Perhaps I have overlooked the little transition scenes in our discussion of The Lion King (I haven’t seen it in a while, nor do I plan on doing so) but I still think the big picture problems of the film are still there. You can learn from the past. But what did Simba have to learn? That he didn’t kill his father? Talk about a boring revelation (one that is delivered at a very convenient time by our supposed cerebral villain).