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The time has almost come to bring The Lion King to a close. After today I’ll share the final scene of the film and that will be the end. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at one of the most popular films of the Disney Renaissance.
“Under the Stars” is one of my favorite instrumental themes from the film. This is the part of the story where Simba is convinced he needs to return to Pride Rock to confront Scar. A now-grown Nala (who snuck away from the desolate Pride Lands in search of help) has already tried to convince Simba to return, but the guilt-ridden Simba (who still believes Mufasa’s death is his fault) refuses, and won’t tell her why either. He storms off in anger and finally vents his frustrations to the night sky (where Mufasa once told him the great kings of the past watch over them)
You said you’d always be there for me! But you’re not…that’s because of me. It’s my fault…it’s MY fault!”
And just in the nick of time, Rafiki shows up! Simba doesn’t remember him of course, but he was the mandrill who presented Simba to the kingdom as the future king. Rafiki is singing a crazy song to himself, it goes like this:
“Asante sana, squash banana, wewe nugu mimi hapana”
And when Simba demands to know what the heck all that means, Rafiki explains that it means (in part at least) “You are a baboon, and I’m not!” When Simba tells Rafiki he must be confused, the mandrill reminds Simba that he (Simba) doesn’t even know who HE is, but he (Rafiki) does, he’s “Mufasa’s boy!”
Of course hearing his father’s name brings Simba running after Rafiki for more information, especially when Rafiki insists that Mufasa is still alive and that he can show his father to him, but only if he follows him deep into the jungle. Simba does follow, and I love the music that comes while he’s creeping and running after Rafiki. It’s a very primal song, full of African drum beats and chanting. Sometimes when I just listen to the soundtrack, I imagine a tribal dance going on (as I’m almost positive that’s what this piece was modeled after).
After chasing Rafiki for quite a while, Simba is led to a distant lake where, Rafiki tells him, he will see his father. But when a nervous Simba peers over the edge, he is disappointed.
“That’s not my father…it’s only my reflection.”
“But you see…” Rafiki tells him “He lives in YOU.”
And suddenly the reflection changes to that of Mufasa and out of nowhere there’s a ghostly voice coming from the sky (five year old me was freaking out right about now). I absolutely love this animation: Mufasa starts as a ghostly silhouette coming out of the clouds, and as the scene continues, Mufasa’s body takes shape, until at last, we see Mufasa completely as he appeared in life:
“Simba…” (Mufasa says) “You have forgotten me..you have forgotten who you are and so you have forgotten me. Look inside yourself Simba. You are MORE than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life. Remember who you are, you are my son, and the one true king!”
And just as quickly as he comes, Mufasa is gone again. Rafiki (who presumably watched the whole thing) comes back to see if Simba has finally learned his lesson. Simba does understand now, but he’s still a bit scared about his past….time for one more lesson then.
Without warning, Rafiki bashes Simba over the head with his staff. And the following exchange has become almost a mantra for me in getting over the bad things that have happened to me in my life:
“OUCH! Geez, what was that for?
“It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!’
“Yeah, but it still hurts.”
“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or, learn from it (tries to hit Simba again but Simba ducks), AHA!! You see! So what are you going to do?”
“First…I’m going to take your stick!! (pause) “I’m going back!!!”
Yes, while Simba is sad that he only got to see his father again for a brief moment, he knows now what he must do: head back to Pride Rock and confront Scar once and for all!
For more of The Lion King, see also:
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