The Hidden Meaning in The Lion King – Earthling Cinema


Greetings, and welcome to Earthling
Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is The Lion King, which stars EGOT winners
Whoopi Goldberg and James Earl Ray and is definitely not a direct ripoff the
Japanese anime “Kimba the White Lion,” no matter what you hear. The film takes place on a
landmass called Africa, where there are no humans and
all the animals speak English. The animals are ruled by the lion Mufasa,
who recently sired a baby named Simba and just can’t shut up about it. Simba becomes obsessed
with seizing power for himself, gleefully singing about a time
when his father will be dead. Mufasa’s brother Scar,
no stranger to wanting Mufasa dead, decides he wants to be the one singing. He convinces Mufasa to get trampled
in a wildebeest moshpit, then tricks Simba into thinking it’s
his fault for turning his father on to the club scene. Simba runs away, leaving the
throne in Scar’s capable paws. Simba is taken in by a kindly gay couple and
lives with them in their hippie commune. Later, he reunites with his old buddy Nala
and hakunes her matatas under the stars Almost immediately, she starts
nagging him to take his rightful places as king so she can go queen it up.
Simba says no, since he’s all about good vibes and organic farming. But then a ghost
tells him the same thing and he gets so scared he runs home to confront Scar.
They have a big kerfuffle, and Simba forces Scar to say uncle, then
throws him to the wolves, an Earth expression that means
throwing someone to the horses. Simba becomes king and their barren
wasteland magically turns back into a lush paradise, just in time for the next
generation to come along and screw it up. Because that’s the circle of life. The Lion King is loosely based on the movie
Hamlet, directed by William Shakeshack, loosely based in the sense that it
has the same plot and characters. A king murdered by his brother? Check. The son of the murdered king visited
by the ghost of his father? Double check. Two comic foils who aid our hero by
helping him chill out? Check please! A pivotal scene that takes place
in an elephant graveyard? I forget. The point is, this film is inspired by a guy
from olden times, which might explain its oddly conservative message. There is
considerable emphasis on the “circle of life,” a natural, fixed social order that, if disrupted,
will lead to chaos and violence. Mufasa uses the circle of life to justify
the animal kingdom’s predatory nature. Simba would go on to learn a
lot more about grass a little later. With a small dollop of hummus,
Simba is baptized in the feudal social order. Here, one’s value is determined by birth,
not merit or action or even a well- placed bribe. For those not already at the top,
there is no chance of upward mobility. The message of the movie is “know your place,”
that place being, of course, Africa. When Rafiki unveils Simba on Pride Rock,
the implication is “Look how cuuute!” But he might as well be saying:
“Behold the creature that will one day feast on your carcas in accordance with the laws
of the universe. Resistance is futile.” It is only through subjugation that the animals
can confirm their place in the world, and thus find peace.
This ties into Greek philosopher Socrates’ concept of the “noble lie.” As documented
by his whipping boy Plato in The New Republic, Socrates theorized that if humans were told
God sprinkled gold into the souls of important people, and less precious metals into the
souls of everyone else, they would be happy to accept their lot in life because
it had been ordained from on high. The only animal to reject this feudal society
is Scar, perhaps because he’s the only animal with a visible headwound. The first time we
see him, he picks up a mouse and laments that “life isn’t fair.” He rebels against
the “natural” societal order that labels him a weakling just because he doesn’t have
the golden haunches and perky whiskers of a Mufasa or a Channing Tatum.
When Scar comes into power, he brings about an era of equality, allowing the hyenas to
be on equal footing with the lions. But despite his progressive politics, Scar isn’t entirely
altruistic. His song about ushering in a new world order features Nazi marching imagery
and camera movements lifted from Leni Reifenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, a popular
promo for German tourism. And just like Adam Hitler, Scar’s reign
soon turns sour. By interfering with the natural order of the food chain, a once prosperous utopia descends into anarchy and starvation. Kind of like my first marriage. Perhaps
the only way to combat social injustice is to say “Hakuna Matata,”
which translates roughly to “fuck it.” For Earthling Cinema,
I’m Garyx Wormuloid.

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