The remake of The Lion King is one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2019. As we patiently wait for the new adaptation of Simba’s journey to the throne to arrive in our theatres, we thought it would be fun to remember the original animation.
Most ‘90s kids grew up idolizing Simba, laughing at Timon and Pumbaa, and celebrating when Scar finally got what was coming to him. And no, most of us are still not over the scene where Simba asked his dad to wake up and he didn’t. Or just before, when Mufasa called Scar his brother, and his reply was a snarky, “Long live the King.” Darn you, Scar.
TLK will always have a place in our hearts, but as we look back with a more analytical perspective, it’s clear that there are some things that just don’t add up about this story. We’ll always love it, but there are certain elements we can’t help but question about Simba and his friends.
From zoological facts that get twisted and turned for the sake of the story, and issues with character actions, pacing, and continuity, check out these twenty things that make no sense about The Lion King.
20 Simba And Nala Are The Only Cubs We See
One part of The Lion King that makes no sense is the fact that throughout the whole movie, we somehow only ever see two lion cubs: Simba and Nala. Surely with all those lionesses, there would be a few more cubs around the place.
19 Mufasa Is Wrong About The Circle Of Life
As Mufasa explains to Simba, the lions eat animals like the antelope, but then the lions become the grass at the end of their lives, and the antelope eat the grass, “so we are connected in the great circle of life.” That’s all well and good, except for the fact that the lions don’t actually become the grass.
18 There Are Lots Of Zoological Inaccuracies
Anteaters, for example, can be seen in the film, which is set in Tanzania, Africa, but they are only found in South and Central America. Then there’s the fact that mandrills, like Rafiki, don’t have tails like they are portrayed to have here, and hornbills have dull brown colors, not gorgeous sky-blue feathers, the way Zazu does. And Pumbaa probably wouldn’t be feasting on insects with Timon, since he’s a grass eater.
17 Mufasa Really Should Have Suspected Scar
Mufasa is portrayed as a good king, and seems to be a good judge of character, but while he’s not overly friendly to Scar, he doesn’t suspect him of being the villain that he is. Scar makes a huge statement by missing out on the presentation of Simba and makes it clear that he thinks he deserves to be the king.
16 And He Shouldn’t Have Left Him Alone With Simba
Okay, so maybe Mufasa didn’t think Scar was capable of such betrayal, even if he knew he was the black sheep of the family. But still, it wasn’t a smart move as a parent to let his son and heir hang out with a lion who quite clearly had no respect for him.
15 All The Hyenas Are Villains
In TLK, every single hyena is a villain. There are no good hyenas like there are good and bad lions (or good lions and Scar). It doesn’t really make sense that there would be an entire species of bad eggs. What’s more, Mufasa taught Simba to respect all creatures, and yet the hyenas were banned from the Pride Lands and confined to the Elephant Graveyard.
14 The Pride Lands Shouldn’t Be So Barren After Mufasa’s Death
The second half of the movie sees Mufasa defeated, Scar on the throne, Simba M.I.A., and the Pride Lands a total mess. Nala leaves to find help, telling Simba that there’s no food since Scar let the hyenas take over. But is it really feasible that the death of one lion could turn what were once fruitful plains into a barren wasteland? We think not.
13 Would Mufasa Really Have Found The Cubs In The Graveyard?
How did Mufasa know they were there? It’s implied that Zazu led him to the cubs since he shows up just after Mufasa. But Zazu was originally with Simba and Nala and was only blasted off by the hyenas a little while before. If they were “way beyond the boundary of the Pride Lands,” how did Zazu get to Mufasa and back in time?
12 Simba And Nala’s Romance Isn’t Realistic...
Like many great couples, Simba and Nala start off as friends. But after Scar tells Simba to run away and he disappears, Simba and Nala don’t see each other again until they’re all grown up. And when they do see each other again, they fall in love in about three seconds.
11 ...And Weird Because They're Siblings
While Simba’s mom is Sarabi, his father Mufasa is the alpha male of the pride. More than likely, he fathered other cubs besides Simba (even though the only other cub we see is Nala).
The other possibility is that Nala was fathered by Scar, but that’s pretty unlikely considering the way prides work. And if that was the case, Nala would be Simba’s cousin instead of his sister. Still weird.
10 Scar And His Hyenas Acted Like It Was WWII
One of the most unnerving scenes in the film is when Scar is rallying the hyenas during his song ‘Be Prepared.’ The scene is reminiscent of propaganda from World War II. The marching hyenas loyal to Scar was confirmed to be ripped off the movie Triumph of the Will, which was circulating in Germany at the time.
9 The Wildebeests Would Have Stopped Running Toward Their Prince
The wildebeests are provoked by a pack of hyenas, but that doesn’t really fit in with the universe TLK sets up. All the animals have higher thinking power than their real-life counterparts—if elephants can come to worship a lion cub, then wildebeests can notice their king ahead of them and stop stampeding before they trample him.
8 Surely The Lionesses Would Have Seen Through Scar
Nala is one lioness who leaves the Pride Lands to find help, but the others seem to just lounge around and accept Scar’s treatment of them. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Scar’s ruling methods aren’t working since everyone is starving, but the lionesses never rise up against him. And considering how greatly they outnumber him, it could probably be done.
7 The Movie Times Are Off
Firstly, how did Mufasa make it to the graveyard in time to save the cubs? Then Simba leaves the jungle without telling his friends where he’s going and is seen running (for presumably a long time) before he gets there. But just moments after he arrives back in the Pride Lands, Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa show up just behind him. How?!
6 They’re All So Mean To Zazu
Throughout the film, he is the object of a hunting lesson and has to act like a nanny to Simba, who doesn’t appreciate him at all and is super rude to him. The hyenas blast him off the “birdie boiler” and in the end, Scar has him in a cage singing songs for his amusement. What did Zazu ever do to draw such a short stick in life?
5 How Exactly Did Mufasa Get To Rule All The Animals In The Pride Lands?
Mufasa is not only king of the lions but the ruler of all the Pride Lands and all the animals who live there. From the presentation of Simba in the first scene, we can tell that the animals are mostly subservient to the lions.
The only thing that makes the lions superior, however, is their ability to physically control the other animals by hunting them. So this is really a world where the ruler is the strongest species who is a threat to all the rest. Not a very nice thought!
4 The Characters Might Be Seen As Stereotypical
Some critics of TLK have complained that the characters are all flat, one-dimensional, and stereotypical. There’s the overprotective but kind-hearted king Mufasa, the wise mentor Rafiki, and the villainous Scar with a literal scar across his face.
Nala has received a lot of criticism for being a passive princess who appears to fight for herself but really doesn’t do anything other than serve as a love interest for Simba.
3 What Are The Odds Of The Storm At The End?
What really makes the ending so climactic is the huge storm that hits just as Simba and Scar have their final face off. As Simba is hanging off Pride Rock, a strike of lightning ignites a fire below him. While this certainly adds to the drama and raises the stakes, it’s nothing more than a plot device for convenience.
2 Mufasa’s Spirit Should Have Visited Simba Earlier
Though Nala tries to convince Simba to return to Pride Rock and challenge Scar, he isn’t fully convinced until he has his run-in with Rafiki. But wouldn’t everything have been easier if Mufasa had just sent him the message earlier? He would have not only saved Simba years of built-up guilt, but also the pride years of hunger.
1 Rafiki Is Almost Mean To Simba
Rafiki plays the role of the wise mentor who has an answer for everything. But he’s not a very supportive guide, in our opinion. He disappears after Mufasa’s death and forsakes the pride, and when Simba finally sees him, he’s super difficult. He runs from him, and then falsely leads him to believe that Mufasa is physically alive before explaining himself. Way to get his hopes up.
Sources: The Gamer, Ranker