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Driven from his home in the Pride Lands, Simba finds himself in a lush oasis (separated from his home by a wide desert). But he is not alone: this place is already home to a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa (they’d found Simba passed out not far away and brought him back with them).
Horribly guilt-ridden, Simba doesn’t want to stay, but Timon and Pumbaa persuade them to change his mind by teaching him a new lesson “You have to put the past behind you…when the world turns its back on you, you turn your back on the world!” All of this can be summarized in the two word motto the pair use: “Hakuna matata” which means “No worries.” It’s also the title of the song the pair sing to introduce Simba to his new home and their way of life.
I love “Hakuna Matata.” It’s a hilariously funny Disney song and the perfect way to lighten the mood after the darkness and despair of the wildebeest stampede. Timon and Pumbaa are the perfect comedy relief, a pair of wonderful characters. As a kid, I loved singing along with this particular track, and even now, thinking of it makes me smile.
Abiding by the rule of “hakuna matata”, Timon and Pumbaa don’t let anything bother or upset them. No one bothers them and they don’t bother anybody else. We also find out why Pumbaa in particular separated himself from the world. It looks like he used to live in the Pride Lands, however, being particularly flatulent, no one wanted to be around the poor warthog, and an embarrassed Pumbaa retreated to the oasis. Another verse was going to tell Timon’s story, but the song was already running long so that verse was cut.
One big change that Simba has to get used to is a new diet: the oasis, while a lush place, is home to no other wild life, no antelope, zebras or hippos, not anything that Simba is used to eating. As Timon says “Kid, if you’re going to live with us, you have to eat like us.” And what do Timon and Pumbaa eat? Grubs!! (Bugs and worms, that is). Simba is grossed out by the idea, but he finally tries one and finds….it’s not so bad!
Now comes one of my favorite visual moments in the film. During a montage representing the passing of time, Simba transforms from a cub, to a young adult, to a fully grown adult lion with a beautiful mane. The adult Simba has fully embraced “hakuna matata” and is seemingly content to live out the rest of his days in this isolated paradise. And Timon and Pumbaa are thrilled to have a friendly lion that’s looking out for them, and not at all interested in eating them.
But Simba’s quiet, carefree life is about to come to an emphatic end when a person out of his past makes an unexpected appearance (oh who could it possibly be!!)
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