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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
More Hakuna Matata
by Betty Jo Tucker

Evidently, viewers who saw The Lion King don't know the half of it. According to Timon and Pumbaa, there's much more to the story, and they relate their own hilarious version in Walt Disney's 2-Disc DVD release entitled The Lion King 1 1/2. If you're one of the few people who missed The Lion King, no worries, this quasi-sequel will still entertain you and make you laugh out loud many times while watching it.

The original voices of Nathan Lane as Timon and Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa work their magic again here. Timon tells Pumbaa, "Sarcasm is a foreign language to you" with an inflection that's pure Lane comic arrogance. And Sabella's nave vocal antics for Pumbaa complement his sophisticated (?) partner perfectly. Timon, the clumsy merecat, and Pumbaa, the lonely warthog, make a great team once more. Using a Mystery Science 3000 approach to their story, the two friends comment on their movie -- even stopping certain scenes until refreshments (a sack of worms, of course) arrive. Their flick shows how they met, their rescue of Simba, and what they did to help him  become the Lion King. Never mind that they failed to achieve all their goals -- such as when they tried to stop Simba from "feeling the love tonight."  After all, nobody's perfect.

In addition to most of the original Lion King characters, this DVD release introduces Timon's overprotective Mom (Julie Kavner) and his outrageous Uncle Max (Jerry Stiller). And there are some wonderful new songs as well as a colorful Esther Williams-type finale that seems to come right out of an old MGM musical. Director Raymond Bradley and his crew obviously had a great time working on this project!

The DVD bonus features offer lots of fun for viewers of all ages. I especially enjoyed the "Before the Beginning" featurette, mostly because it includes the only interview Nathan Lane has done for a Lion King movie. It's also interesting to hear producer George Mendoza and director Bradley present deleted scenes and explain why they were dropped. And the clever mockumentary about the legend of Timon adds even more humor to this entertaining DVD.

For the kiddies, there's a virtual safari plus games like "Find the Face," a "Hidden Mickey Hunt," and "Who Wants To Be King of the Jungle?" (similar to TV's Who Wants To Be a Millionnaire?).

A hard-to-resist DVD? You don't know the half of it.

(Released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment and rated "G" for general audiences.)     


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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