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The Lion King 1½

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lion King 1½
Lion king 1 half cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byBradley Raymond
Screenplay byTom Rogers
Based on
Produced byGeorge A. Mendoza
Edited byJoyce Arrastia
Music byDon L. Harper
Distributed byWalt Disney Home Entertainment
Release date
  • February 10, 2004 (2004-02-10)
Running time
76 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States[1]

The Lion King 1½ (also titled The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata in some regions) is a 2004 American animated direct-to-video musical film produced by the Australian branch of DisneyToon Studios and released direct to video on February 10, 2004. As the third installment released in the Lion King trilogy, it is based on The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa and serves as an origin story for the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa while the film is also set within the events of The Lion King. A majority of the original voice cast from the first film returns to reprise their roles, including Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella as the voices of Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.


As Timon and Pumbaa watch the original film in a theater room, Timon decides to fast-forward to their scenes. Pumbaa's protest over this eventually prompts Timon to share his backstory, going back to before the beginning of the movie.

Timon is a social outcast in his meerkat colony on the outskirts of the Pride Lands due to frequently messing things up by accident. Though he is unconditionally supported by his mother, Timon dreams of a better life than his colony's bleak existence continuously hiding from predators. One day, he is assigned as a sentry in an attempt by his mother to get him accepted, but his daydreaming leads to the near death of his Uncle Max by the hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. Now completely shunned and convinced that he will never fit in with the other meerkats, Timon decides to leave to find a better life. He meets the mandrill Rafiki, who teaches him about "Hakuna Matata" and advises him to "look beyond what you see". Timon takes the advice literally and observes Pride Rock in the distance. Believing Pride Rock to be his paradise home, Timon ventures there and encounters Pumbaa on his way. The two quickly form a bond and Pumbaa accompanies Timon.

The pair arrive at Pride Rock during the presentation of Simba to the Pride Lands' animals. As they make their way through the crowd of onlookers, Pumbaa explosively passes gas due to his fear of crowds, causing an elephant to trumpet in fear and nearby animals to faint, but prompting animals further away to bow to Simba. Following this, Timon and Pumbaa make multiple attempts to set up homes throughout the Pride Lands, but wind up being forced away every time after witnessing several events from the original film, such as Simba singing "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", Mufasa's fight with the hyenas, and Scar's conspiring with the hyenas. Eventually, the pair are caught in the wildebeest stampede that killed Mufasa, and are thrown off a waterfall in their attempt to escape. Exhausted, Timon decides to give up, until Pumbaa discovers a luxurious green jungle he tried to tell Timon about earlier. They finally settle there with the philosophy of Hakuna Matata.

Eventually, Timon and Pumbaa encounter Simba in a nearby desert, nearly dead. They rescue him and decide to raise him under their philosophy. Years later, Nala appears and reunites with Simba after chasing and mistaking Pumbaa for food. Believing Hakuna Matata to be in jeopardy, Timon and Pumbaa attempt to sabotage their dates, but fail every time. After they witness Simba and Nala's argument, Simba disappears. Nala explains that he had run off to challenge Scar and reclaim Pride Rock, so that they need their help. Upset that Simba left them, Timon unsuccessfully tries to persuade Pumbaa to stay, but Pumbaa, annoyed that Timon would callously abandon Simba when he needs him, follows Simba and Nala. Timon indulges in the jungle's luxuries by himself, but loneliness starts to overwhelm him. Rafiki appears again and indirectly helps Timon realize that his true Hakuna Matata is with the ones he loves (not just the place he sought for), prompting Timon to take off after Pumbaa, Simba and Nala.

Timon catches up and reconciles with Pumbaa, before they journey onward to Pride Rock. After helping Simba and Nala distract the hyenas, Timon and Pumbaa run into Ma and Uncle Max, who came looking for Timon after Ma got angry at Rafiki for apparently leading Timon on a wild goose chase. Timon proposes that they all help Simba by getting rid of Scar and the hyenas. While Simba battles Scar, Ma and Uncle Max are directed to construct a series of tunnels beneath the hyenas, as at the same time, Timon and Pumbaa use various tactics to distract them while the tunnel is being made. When the tunnels are finished, Max knocks down the support beams, breaking the ground under the hyenas. However, the last few get jammed, prompting Timon to dive underground and break them himself. The cave-in commences, and the hyenas are ejected through the tunnels in time to confront Scar and kill him. Simba accepts his place as the rightful king of the Pride Lands, thanking Timon and Pumbaa for their help. Timon takes Pumbaa, Ma, Uncle Max, and the meerkat colony to live in the predator-free jungle to complete his Hakuna Matata, and he is praised as their hero.

Once the story finishes, Ma, Uncle Max, Simba, Rafiki, and eventually many other Disney characters (such as Mickey Mouse, the Seven Dwarves, the Genie, etc.) join Timon and Pumbaa to rewatch the film in the theater in which Pumbaa tells Timon that he 'still doesn't do well in crowds'.

Voice cast


In April 2000, it was announced that the Walt Disney Company selected Jeff Ahlholm, Colin Goldman, and Tom Rogers to write the script for The Lion King 3. It was scheduled to arrive in video stores sometime in 2001.[3] In May 2003, The Lion King 1+12 was scheduled for home video release in early spring 2004 with Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, and Matthew Broderick reprising their original roles, and Elton John and Tim Rice returning to compose a new song, "That’s All I Need".[4]

The film was animated by Walt Disney Animation Australia in Sydney, New South Wales and Toon City in Manila, Philippines.


Upon its initial home video release, The Lion King 1½ was accompanied by a marketing campaign tie-in with McDonald's with six Happy Meal toys: Simba, Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa, Mufasa and Ed.[5] (This same promotion was used in international countries for the Special Edition release of the first Lion King with two additional toys featuring Zazu and Scar.)

In May 2003, the DVD edition was confirmed to include music videos, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes views of how the movie was made, and two featurettes: Timon -- The Early Years; a mockumentary tracing Timon's childhood through tongue-in-cheek interviews with family and friends; and Disney's Funniest Moments, highlighting Disney animated characters from the Seven Dwarfs to Brother Bear. Two games are also featured, including a virtual safari backlot tour through the Pride Lands and a Lion King trivia game in the format of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, titled Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle?, and hosted by Meredith Vieira, then-host of the U.S. syndicated version.[4] The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata! was released on February 10, 2004.[6][7]

On its first day of sales, the film sold 1.5 million DVD units,[8] and in its first three days of release the film generated about $55 million in sales revenue, 2.5 of which were DVD copies of the film.[9] By March 2, 2004, six million DVD and VHS copies of the film had been sold in North America.[10] More than 30 percent of the title’s sales were to the Latino market.[11]

The movie was released as part of a 3-movie box set along with The Lion King and The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride on December 6, 2004. In January 31, 2005, the film, along with the other Lion King movies, went back into moratorium.[12] The film was first released on Blu-ray as part of an eight-disc box set on October 4, 2011 along with the other 2 films.[13] The movie later received a separate Blu-ray release as well as a standard DVD release on March 6, 2012, along with The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.[14] The Blu-ray and DVD releases, along with Simba’s Pride and the Diamond Edition release of The Lion King, were removed from release on April 30, 2013.[15]

The film was re-released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on a Blu-ray combo pack and digital release along with The Lion King II: Simba's Pride on August 29, 2017 — the same day as the first film's Signature Edition was released.

In 2019, the film was re-released digitally for the first time on Disney+.


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 78% approval rating based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 6.41/10.[16]

Frank Lovece of TV Guide gave the film 3+12 stars out of 4 stating that "This retelling of The Lion King (1994) from the point of view of comic sidekicks Timon (voice of Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) is one of the rare Disney direct-to-video sequels worthy of the original." He went on to say that 'the only aspect of the film that feels forced is the revisionist positioning of Timon as young Simba's step-dad, which has no emotional echo in the first film. The quality of the animation is surprisingly impressive; some static backgrounds are the primary concession to a small-screen budget and the fluid character movements and expressions are vastly superior to those of, say, The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa TV cartoon series.'"[17] Joe Leydon of Variety gave the film a positive review writing "toddlers and preschoolers will be equally enchanted and amused by colorful toon shenanigans."[18] Los Angeles Times article writer Susan King wrote that "Because Disney's made-for-video sequels to their classic animated films have been mediocre at best, expectations for this new sequel to the mouse house's 1994 blockbuster were slim. But thanks to a clever story line, snappy dialogue that kids and adults will enjoy, a couple of decent new songs and the return of the original voice actors, Lion King 1+12 is an irreverent gas."[19]

Many reviewers have suggested that the film was influenced by the Tom Stoppard play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which follows Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, and details their experiences taking place during the same time as the events of Hamlet, similar to what the film does with its predecessor, which has been similarly compared to Hamlet.[18][20][21][22] Screenwriter Tom Rogers confirmed that this was intentional in a 2019 interview, adding that the film's frame story was inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000.[23]


The Lion King 1+12: Songs From Timon and Pumbaa's Hilarious Adventure
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 10, 2004
GenreR&B, Pop, world, soundtrack
LabelWalt Disney

The film's soundtrack album contains two original songs; "Diggah Tunnah Dance", written by Lebo M., who co-wrote many of the songs for the original film, and "That's All I Need", written by Elton John and Tim Rice, who also worked on the first film. The latter song, which is performed by Nathan Lane in the film, is largely based on a cut song from The Lion King titled "The Warthog Rhapsody", with which it shares a similar melody. The film features the song "Hakuna Matata" from the first film, which is featured both as the original soundtrack recording in the soundtrack album and in the film as a new cover performed by Lane and Ernie Sabella. The soundtrack also consists of various covers of pop songs, such as Hugh Masekela's "Grazing in the Grass" performed by Raven-Symoné, Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" performed by Drew K. and the French, and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (which appears briefly in the original film as well) performed by Lebo M. and Vinx. Other featured songs not on the soundtrack include "Sunrise, Sunset" from the musical Fiddler on the Roof and the eponymous theme song from the television show Peter Gunn composed by Henry Mancini. The film contains an original score composed by Don L. Harper, and also features Ennio Morricone's instrumental theme from the Sergio Leone film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.[24]

Track listing
1."Grazing in the Grass"Raven-Symoné2:59
2."Diggah Tunnah Dance"Lebo M. and Vinx3:53
3."That's All I Need"Nathan Lane2:29
4."Hakuna Matata"Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver and Joseph Williams3:33
5."The Lion Sleeps Tonight"Lebo M.3:35
6."Jungle Boogie"Drew K. and the French3:20
7."Timon's Traveling Theme"Don L. Harper1:20
8."The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"Ennio Morricone1:43
Total length:22:52


  • 2005 Annie Award for
    • "Best Home Entertainment Production" (Won)
    • "Music in an Animated Feature Production" (Nominated)
  • 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards in the following categories:
    • Best Animated Character Performance (Nathan Lane - voice, Alexis Stadermann - animator) for "Timon" (Won)
    • Best Animated DVD Premiere Movie (Won)
    • Best Director (of a DVD Premiere Movie) - Bradley Raymond (Won)
    • Best Editing (of a DVD Premiere Movie) - Joyce Arrastia (Won)
    • Best Screenplay (for a DVD Premiere Movie) - Tom Rogers (Won)
  • 2005 Saturn Award
    • "Best DVD Release" (Nominated)

Video game

A video game based on the film was published in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance, featuring Timon and Pumbaa as the playable characters.[25][26]


  1. ^ a b "The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004)". Allmovie. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Lion King 1½". Disney. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  3. ^ Lyons, Charles (April 12, 2000). "Disney taps cubs to pen direct-to-vid 'Lion King 3′". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Villa, Joan (May 9, 2003). "Dis fills 'Lion' gaps with '1 1/2'". The Hollywood Reporter. High Beam. Archived from the original (Fee required) on October 31, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  5. ^ DeMott, Matt (February 5, 2004). "McDonald's Happy Meals Feature Lion King 1 1/2 Toys". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  6. ^ "Disney DVD and Video Newsletter - The Lion King 1½" On DVD And Video February 10". Disney. February 2004. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  7. ^ Ball, Ryan (February 10, 2004). "Lion King 1 1/2 Continues Circle of Life". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on March 4, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Ball, Ryan (February 12, 2004). "Lion King 1 1/2 Sells 1 1/2 Million". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Herrick, Scott (February 15, 2004). "'Lion' sequel DVD roaring". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  10. ^ Ball, Ryan (March 2, 2004). "Lion King 1 1/2 Tops 2004 Sales". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Wolf, Jessica (April 7, 2005). "Home Video Speaks Latinos' Language". Archived from the original on April 13, 2005. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "Out of Print Disney DVDs".
  13. ^ "Audiences to Experience Disney's "The Lion King" Like Never Before". PR News Wire. May 26, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  14. ^ Lui, Ed. "Lion King 1 1/2" and "Lion King 2" Coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on March 6, 2012". Toon Zone. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012.
  15. ^ "The Lion King 1 1/2".
  16. ^ "The Lion King 1½ Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "The Lion King 1 1/2".
  18. ^ a b Leydon, Joe (February 10, 2004). "Review: 'The Lion King 1½'". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  19. ^ King, Susan (February 12, 2004). "Rip-roaring 'Lion' retelling". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  20. ^ Churnin, Nancy (February 17, 2004). "Catch the 'King' when he was a cub". Dallas Morning News.[dead link]
  21. ^ Willman, Chris. "The Lion King 1½". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 20, 2004.
  22. ^ The Lion King 1½. VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever Archived 2014-03-23 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Spencer, Keith A. (10 August 2019). "We just solved a major mystery in the Lion King franchise". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  24. ^ "Lion King 1 1/2 Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "The Lion King 1½ Game Boy Advance info/review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  26. ^ Disney Interactive (October 7, 2003). "Kids Play inside the World of Hakuna Matata with Disney's The Lion King 1 1/2 for Game Boy Advance and Disney's The Lion King PC Game Collection". Business Wire. Archived from the original on March 4, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2017.


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