As a big fan of The lion king franchise, I was pretty excited when I found out that Disney is planning to release TV series based on The lion king. However, I was quite shocked by the drop of quality and most importantly, depth of the story in TLG. Of course, let me tell you that I'm aware that a TV show has much smaller budget than a movie, so it basically has no chance of being as good as the original movies, but still, I did expect more in terms of visual appearance and story.
Now, the first thing that sucks here is the animation and design. The characters look flat, their bodies look weird and their movement is unnatural. Just look at Simba's feet - his toes don't move at all and when he runs, he looks like he wears shoes. Also, they should tone them down in terms of color - they seem too unnaturally bright.
Now the characters. It is true that most of the lion guard members just seem to be pulled out of thin air when Kion assembles his guard. Kion's character seems too blunt for me as a protagonist. Bunga, even though he is supposed to be the funny dude here, is too reckless and teaches kids that being brave means putting your life at risk by jumping from cliffs and trees - not only that this is the total opposite of the first movie, where Mufasa explains to Simba that being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble and sadly, children tend to repeat the actions of their cartoon heroes which can end up in hurting themselves. It is also very disappointing to see them change the personalities of the original characters. Simba, in lieu of being overprotective like in the second movie, seems like he doesn't care about his kids at all, especially about Kion in Return of the Roar - he acts like Kion is just an accident, Nala barely does anything and so does Timon and Pumba,and Kiara? She is completely different. Seriously, the second movie was based on Kiara being annoyed by having to become a queen and she wanted go on adventures, while here, she is a weak snob who is proud of being the next queen accompanied by her even more snobby friends. Yuck! Plus the villains are pathetic. I never get why Janja and his pack keep on hunting in the Pridelands. Why would they over hunt? If the franchise follows the idea of the circle of life, they should integrate the fact that animals (yes, even hyenas) never kill prey just for fun. And if Janja does, then why? If he just hunts there because he is hungry, then I don't see the reason why Kion keeps on chasing him out the Pridelands. Just because he is racist ( you and your kind are not welcome, ever - really??) and the hyenas are just evil for no reason and need to be defeated? Wow. Despite this, I do like Fuli and Ono. Beshte doesn't really do anything.
In terms of the story, it is much more shallow than the movies and pretty nonsense at some points. So, we basically have a group of baby animals with superpowers who run around the Pridelands and defeat every villain like nothing - that just makes it really shallow and unnatural when the original story rather follows the laws of nature. Also, the series states for multiple times that the Pridelands will be defenseless without Kion and his group of baby animals. Just come on! How can a group of babies (even with superpowers) be the only ones who can protect a whole pride of adult lions?! Does Simba really need is cub to protect him from villains that he banished before Kion was even born? I know the guard is supposed to be important, but this is just ridiculous. Maybe it would make more sense if Kion became the leader of the guard when he is older - Kiara will also become a queen when she is an adult. This makes as much sense as if Kiara became a queen while she was still a cub. I too don't understand the whole magical roar/cutie mark business. In the original story, there is no magic at all, it doesn't defy the laws of nature in this sense at all. According to my opinion, adding magic to the story wears down it's depth by a lot and makes it seem more like a cheap fairy tale. OK, I maybe get they wanted to make the show more cool by adding the roar, but cutie marks? Seriously? They don't even do anything and I have no clue why they included this nonsense in the series.
Overall, this thing has some positives, like some of the characters, concepts ( the LG itself isn't a bad idea, they just didn't integrate it well) and catchy songs, but I think it could have been done way better, as it feels pretty cheap and shallow compared to the rest of the franchise and kind of melts away the original emotional depth. It just lacks the feel and impact the movies leave in me. It also doesn't fit the canon. Kion was never part of the story and it just makes things confusing. In their place, I would put the series in the time gap during the second movie, focusing on Kiara's childhood, her potential friends (Ono? Fuli?) and adventures (more secret meet-ups with Kovu?).
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