The Lion King is one of Disney's biggest hits. Whether it was the emotional story or the beautiful songs, it seems that some part of the original movie really touched a nerve of the audience in a major way. However, of everything that people loved in The Lion King it's possible nothing has stood the test of time like Simba's sidekicks Timon and Pumbaa.
The two of them, and their song "Hankuna Matata" have become a major part of Disney history. There's a pile of Disney merchandise available to fans singing the praises of the Hakuna Matata philosophy. This is odd when you think about it, because it's actually really bad advice. CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg had a chance to speak with the new voices of Timon and Pumbaa, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, and they admitted that their characters are actually terrible influences on Simba. Check out their comments below.
It's wonderful to hear these comments from Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner because it's something that I've found very interesting about The Lion King for a long time. The showstopping number of The Lion King, the song that bridges the two time periods of the film, is just made up of terrible advice the movie eventually calls out.
"Hakuna Matata" argues one should simply leave their past behind them, forget about it and move forward in life. While this might seem like good advice, dwelling on the bad things in life certainly isn't healthy, the ultimate lesson of The Lion King is something very different. In the original animated film Rafiki has to explain to Simba that the better choice is to learn from your past mistakes, which you can't do if you ignore them.
In the end, Simba has to realize that "Hakuna Matata" is not the way to live one's life, something which even Seth Rogen admits he didn't realize as a kid. As the voice of Pumbaa puts it...
They're bad. Yeah, in this movie we kinda lean a little more into like, identifying specifically that their philosophy is not correct because I think to a lot of people, "Hakuna Matata," without one step of deeper thought, you think that's like a really great philosophy, but it isn't. It's actually, like, they are wrong, which was lost on me for 25 years.
The same lesson was probably lost on a lot of kids, and no small number of adults, back in the mid-90s when the original Lion King came out. Based on Rogen's comments, it appears that the new generation seeing The Lion King for the first time with the remake might be less likely to make that mistake as the new movie does something to make this fact more clear.
Of course, while it might be made clear to the audience that Hakuna Matata is no way to live, and Simba eventually realizes this, one wonders if Timon and Pumbaa will ever come to this realization. The implication is they've been living like that for a very long time, convincing them to change their entire way of life might not be easy.
The Lion King remake hits theaters on Friday.