“Lion’s Guard, let’s go!”
For many years The Lion King was the highest-grossing animated film of all time. It remains one of the most beloved films in history. It marked the last of the Disney classic animation triumphs. Combined with the Elton John and Tim Rice songs, it is one of those generational films. While there has never been a feature film follow-up at the box office, there have been a few attempts to keep the franchise alive, and why not? A direct- to-video film told the same story from the unique point of view of the popular characters Timon and Pumbaa. A full-fledged sequel appeared in another direct-to-video feature called The Lion King: Simba’s Pride. Now the baton is being passed to the next generation with a television series on the Disney Channel called The Lion Guard.
The Lion’s Guard: The Return Of Scar is a collection of 5 episodes of the half-hour series. The Rise Of Scar is the only second-season episode, with the other 4 coming from the first year. That one is also the longest episode and was likely a two-parter when it aired. So it’s no surprise that this episode gives the single-disc collection of episodes its name. The voice cast is made up of Max Charles as the voice of Kino, who is Simba’s son and the leader of this group of misfit animals that now protect the Pride Lands. He has come into a special roar that has supernatural powers. He can also talk to his dead grandfather Mufasa, now voiced by Gary Anthony Williams. But fear not, James Earl Jones can be heard on each episode’s titles. Rob Lowe now voices Simba. Other voices include Joshua Rush, Atticus Shaffer, and Chary Payton as Rafiki.
Here’s a breakdown of the episodes on the disc:
The Rise Of Scar:
“Remember: talking to bad lions, it is a bad idea”.
This episode introduces us to Makin, voiced by Landry Bender. She’s a young baboon who has been chosen as Radii’s new apprentice. She’s a bit overexcited about her new job and meeting Kino and the rest of the Lion Guard. When she learns that her new powers include talking to great lions of the past, she is tricked into getting Kino to release his roar and summon Scar. The hyenas believe that it’s Kino’s communication with Mufasa that lets him stay one step ahead of them. With Scar back on their side, they think they can finally win. Of course, things don’t go the way the hyenas plan.
The Trouble With Gallegos:
“You can be nice and still stick up for yourself.”
A leopard is chased from his own territory by some bad leopards and takes shelter in the Gallegos tree. Afraid of the cat who really just wants to be pals, they become a bit of a pest for Kino and the Guard. Bullying is the theme of this episode.
Jana’s New Crew:
“Nothing’s better than the feel of squishy mud beneath your feet.”
After a harsh rainstorm, the Guard is working hard to make the trails safe for the rest of the animals. Meanwhile Jana (Kishinev) thinks he keeps failing because Cheesy (Mason) and Change (Scion) are holding him back. So he fires them and rolls with a new crew that looks down on him and finally kicks him to the curb. Kino and the Guard reluctantly let the two fired hyenas stay in the Pride Lands when they feel sorry for them.
“First baboons, then rain. Could it get any better?”
The Guard has its hands full trying to keep a lost baboon baby out of trouble. They also need to keep the Vultures from eating the poor little guy.
Lions Of The Outlands:
“They are not just any lions. They’re the outsiders.”
Kino falls into a trap when he hears that a group of renegade lions are chasing animals away from the watering hole in the Outlands. These bad guys are led by Zira (Futterman), an associate of Scar’s who wants to see his dream of lion domination come to pass. This episode has one of the show’s best songs as a duet between Zira and Kino.
There’s no way this release can compare with the original, but it is nice to see the traditions continue. The stage musical is one of the hottest of all time, and the story still resonates for generations. Make no mistake. This is a pale imitation of the 1994 hit film. But it’s so nice to know we can still enjoy some time in this world, “until the Pride Lands end”.