Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rafiki: He Lives In You

Oh, Rafiki. A friend to all.

No, literally. It means "friend."

Rafiki is... an interesting character, but I think he (or in Broadway's case, she) brings a lot to The Lion King.

Some think he's crazy, some think he's wise. But I say...
Sorry, but I just had to use that image.

For those of you who haven't seen TLK, or haven't seen it in a very long time, Rafiki is the baboon who presents Simba (and later, his daughter, Kiara) in front of all the Pride lands in the opening sequence, "Circle of Life." He comes across as rather crazy. I mean, who else chants,

"Asante sana, squash banana! Wewe nugu mimi apana!"

That's means you're a baboon. And he's not. Call him crazy, call him confused, call him... wise?

Again, I am at school so I cannot guarantee these are the right videos.

There's a lot to learn from this crazy monkey and Mufasa as well. What is that one famous line?

"Remember who you are."

Simba was running from his past quite a bit, but in the midst of trying to forget everything that had happened, he forgot who he really was. In these few scenes, you can really see how much his father's death has taken a toll on his life.

The song "Endless Night" by Jason Raize really describes how he was feeling when he said:

"You said you'd always be there for me! But you're not. And it's because of me. It's my fault."

Simba has a hard time accepting the past. Yeah, you can't change it, but you can keep it from repeating. One of my favorite parts is when Rafiki says "I know who you are! You're Mufasa's boy!" and this is the conversation that follows:

SIMBA: "You knew my father?"
RAFIKI: "Correction: I know your father."
SIMBA: "Sorry to tell you but, he died. A long time ago."
RAFIKI: "Nope! Wrong again! He's alive!" (He said something else after this and I don't remember what it was.)
Then, he leads Simba through the jungle. Mufasa ain't there; just a pond.
SIMBA: "That's not my father. That's just my reflection."
RAFIKI: "No, look harder. You see? He lives in you."

Now, "He Lives In You" was not actually played in the movie, but it was on the "Rhythm of the Pride Lands" and even made it into being the "Circle of Life" equivalent as the opening sequence for Simba's Pride

This song means a lot to me, personally. Especially that lyric, "In your reflection, he lives in you." It relates to me very well. Only, in my case, it's more like, "She lives in you."

People have always told me that I looked like my grandmother on my dad's side. After she died, people were all like, "You look just like her" and "You're like a reminder of her" and such. My dad even used this song as an example. 

Now, that didn't really have anything to do with my post. I just wanted to share that with you.

Anyways. Just listen to those lyrics.

"Hela, hey mamela. Hela, hey mamela. Hela, hey mamela.
He lives in you!
He lives in me!
He watches over everything we see!
Into the water, into the truth...
In YOUR reflection,
He lives in you."

Mufasa isn't dead. He is survived by Simba. When I first took the time to ruminate about those lyrics, I thought of the obituaries I occasionally read in the newspaper. "She is survived by her husband and three kids." When someone dies, they don't just... die. They live on in our hearts, in our souls, in our minds. They don't just leave. It's impossible.

That reminds me of Evanescence's lyric from "My Immortal" (the singing voice of adult Simba in the movie covered this song, by coincidence. Look up Joseph Williams):

"If you have to leave, I wish that you would just leave 'cause your presence still lingers here and it won't leave me alone. These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real, there's just too much that time cannot erase... You still have all of me."

That also reminds me of the lyrics from "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan:

"Come stop your crying. It'll be alright. Just take my hand, hold it tight. I will protect you from all around you. I will be here, don't you cry... You'll be in my heart. Yes, you'll be in my heart. From this day on, now and forevermore... I may not be with you, but you've got to hold on... You'll be here in my heart always. Always. I'll be with you. I'll be there for you always, always and always. Just look over your shoulder... I'll be there always."

Another famous line of his is "The past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it." He uses the example of hitting a grown, moody lion in the head (at least I found Simba kinda moody in this scene...) to show that the past can hurt. But hey, it's in the past! Sometimes the past's effects are still present in the now. And even though you can't change what happened, you can choose how you are going to react and how you are going to change things.

So, there are a lot of things to learn from this baboon. And I almost forgot to embed this one...

Everybody, sing it with me! "UPENDI!!!! Down in upendi, way down in upendi, down in upendi..."

Now, here are his absolute best lines!

Best of Rafiki (in the first TLK)
"Asante sana! Squash banana..."
"Can't cut it out! It'll grow right back!"
"I'm not the one who's confused. You don't even know who you are!"
"He lives in you."
"Change is good."
"It doesn't matter, it's in the past!"
"Ah yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can run from it, or... learn from it."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nala: Queen of Pride Rock

 Nala. Such a pretty name, huh? It means "gift" in Swahili. I am naming my first daughter Nala. Because babies are gifts from God! I've got so many names lined up.
  1. Nala, "gift" in Swahili
  2. Kiara, "day/bright" in Italian
  3. Sarabi, "mirage" in Swahili
  4. Sarafina
  5. Laura, meaning "Laurel"
  6. Savannah
  7. Moira Kelsey
  8. Mirabelle
  9. Joseph
  10. Aden
  11. Lebo
  12. Carmen
  13. Jeremy (like Jeremy Irons)
  14. Heidi
  15. Heavenly
  16. Ariel
  17. Karen "Kay Kay" (like my aunt)
  18. Megan
  19. Kiersten
  20. Rosemary
  21. Megara
  22. Jane
  23. Phillip
Tada! Within ten minutes of typing, Hope has already managed to get off-topic! Is there an award for that?

Maybe there isn't. 

However, today we are going to talk about my favorite Disney character ever.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... NALA!!!!!

Yes, today we are talking about this lioness. She is the girl that most of us female Disney lovers aspire to be. Smart, persistent, curious, beautiful. In a word (or four), queen of Pride Rock!

Then again, who wouldn't wanna be Simba's wife?

But. I am getting ahead of myself. Now, I'm ready to start.

Simba and Nala were the best of friends when they were young. They were like "little seeds of romance blossoming in the savannah." I don't know if I'm the only one who noticed, but I think they began falling for each other long before the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" sequence. You can't fall in love with someone over night. Not true love, anyways. I can see small hints. For example, the way Nala's face brightens when she speaks to Simba. The way they wrestle (not perverted, I swear). How they made sure no one was left behind when they were being chased by the hyenas. And honestly, they didn't seem all that disgusted when they found out they were betrothed. This is true love, but maybe not romantic.

This is friendship.

They were the best of friends even before they became lovers.
I think that is what matters the most. When they actually did fall in love, it was a slow and steady progression. Just the way it's supposed to be.

The video above is a highlight of their moments as cubs up until Simba's "death." Notice, Nala is the only lioness who is literally crying. I mean, think about it this way. The day before she was hanging out with her best friend and getting in trouble with him, and now he's suddenly gone. Now she has no friends, no real king, and no man. Forever alone, literally.

So you'd imagine seeing him again would be like he rose from the dead.
When she finds Simba again, she is full of several emotions at once. Sadness, happiness, love, excitement. I mean, seriously. Your best friend is supposedly dead and then after the equivalent to, say, seven to ten years, you randomly stumble upon him while hunting (mm... who else is in the mood for some warthog?). She barely remembered him at first. Why, when she was a young lioness (when I was a young lioness!!!!!) he disappeared and then suddenly appeared again. Doesn't make sense. Once again, her life changes over night. No wonder one minute she's like, "WHOA!!!" and the next she's all like, "I've really missed you." It's an emotional roller coaster ride.

These two share a bond that many do not because they are most importantly, friends. No one knows you better than your oldest friend. They can see when something's wrong. How many times does Nala try to get to the bottom of things?

"He's holding back, he's hiding. But what? I can't decide. Why won't he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside?"

SIMBA: "No one needs me."
NALA: "Yes we do! You're the king!"
SIMBA: "Nala, we've been over this. I'm not the king, Scar is."
NALA: "Simba, he let the hyenas take over the Pride lands. Everything's destroyed. There's no food, no water--- Simba, if you don't do something soon, everyone will starve!"
SIMBA: "I can't go back."
NALA: "Why?"
SIMBA: "You wouldn't understand."
NALA: "What wouldn't I understand?"
SIMBA: "It doesn't matter. Hakuna matata. Look, sometimes bad things happen..."
NALA: Simba!
SIMBA: "...And you can't do anything about it! So why. worry."
NALA: "Because it's your responsibility!"
SIMBA: "And what about you, you left."
NALA: "I left to find help. And I found YOU. Don't you understand? You're our only hope."
SIMBA: "Sorry."
NALA: "What's happened to you? You're not the Simba I remember."
SIMBA: "You're right. I'm not. Now are you satisfied?"
NALA: "No. Just disappointed."
SIMBA: "Y'know, you're starting to sound like my father."
NALA: "Good. At least one of us does."
SIMBA: "Look! You think you can just show up and tell me how to live my life? You don't even know what I've been through!"
NALA: "I would if you'd just tell me!"

Several, several times has Nala attempted to get it out of him. It never worked. Ever tried to get someone to open up to you but they just wouldn't and still you were relentless until you got to the bottom of it? You are a lot like Nala, then. Betcha no one was feeling the love tonight during that scene.

Nala is a crucial character (in the first movie, anyways) because she believed in Simba. She sees in him what he could never see in himself ("The king I see inside..."). Maybe she doesn't always know when to shut her mouth ("Good. At least one of us does"), and knows how to push his buttons, but if she weren't like that, he would have never returned to Pride Rock. She knew that he was using "hakuna matata" as an excuse to run away from his past and she tried to show him that he was needed. Eventually he had a change of heart, thanks to Rafiki.

When he returned to the pride lands, she was close behind him. She was willing to fight with him.

SIMBA: "It's my kingdom. If I don't fight for it, who will?"
NALA: "I will."
SIMBA: "It's gonna be dangerous."
NALA: "Danger? I laugh in the face of danger! Ha ha ha ha!"

And this is why we all love this girl. She seriously is Simba's better half. I mean, he's one of my favorite Disney characters, too, but he definitely needs someone like her. She sees the best in him. She reminds him of who he is (like when speaking of Kiara: "Simba, who does she remind you of? Hmm? She's just like you were when you were young"). She keeps him in line. She loves him more than anyone ever could. She is willing to fight for him. They are the perfect pair.

Any questions as to why she is my favorite Disney female?

Nala's best lines (some of which are from "Simba's Pride")
"So where are we going? Better not be any place dumb."
"The water hole? What's so great about the water hole?"
"Hey genius, it was my idea!"
"Pinned ya! Pinned ya again."
"I wonder if its brains are still in there."
"We could get in big trouble!"
"I thought you were brave."
"Wait until everyone finds out you've been here all this time. And your mother... what will she think?"
"What else matters? You're alive! And that means.. you're the king."
"It's like you're back from the dead. You don't know what this will mean to everybody. What it means to me."
"I've really missed you."
"He's holding back, he's hiding. But what? I can't decide. Why won't he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside?"
"I left to find help, and I found YOU. Don't you understand?"
"What's happened to you? You're not the Simba I remember."
SIMBA: "You're starting to sound like my father." NALA: "Good. At least one of us does."
"I laugh in the face of danger!"
SCAR: "They think I'm the king." NALA: "Well, we don't. Simba is the rightful king."
"So how are we gonna ditch the dodo?"
"Simba, who does she remind you of? Hmm? She's just like you were when you were young."
"Simba, you want too much to walk the path expected of you. Perhaps Kovu does not."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Timon & Pumbaa: Hakuna Matata!

What is the phrase that most commonly accompanies The Lion King? Everybody, sing it with me...

Hakuna matata!

I think everyone knows what this means, but just in case...
It means no worries, for the rest of your days! Well, specifically... it means, "there are no worries." It is Swahili for those that don't know (after all, this movie has more Zulu in it than Swahili).

My question here is: Is this problem-free philosophy really that problem-free?

If you've seen this movie recently, you know there are two sides to it all. See what happened to Simba, for example.

There is a difference between having no worries and no responsibilities.
(I believe this is the right video. I am at school and couldn't preview it, so I am sorry if this is a fandub.)

Simba uses "Hakuna Matata" as a way to run from his troubles. He seems to have issues dealing with the past from when he's a cub all the way up to when he returns to the Pridelands.

PUMBAA: "Is there anything we can do to help?"
SIMBA: "Not unless you can change the past."

RAFIKI: "Change is good."
SIMBA: "But it's not easy. I know what I have to do, but going back means facing my past. I've been running from it for so long."

"So many things to tell her but how to make her see the truth about my past? Impossible! She'd turn away from me!"

NALA: "What wouldn't I understand?"
SIMBA: "It doesn't matter. Hakuna matata."
NALA: "Huh?"
SIMBA: "Hakuna matata. Sometimes bad things happen..."
NALA: "Simba!"
SIMBA: "...And there's nothing you can do about it! So why. worry."

"I can't go back. What would it change anyway? You can't change the past! YOU SAID YOU'D ALWAYS BE THERE FOR ME! But you're not. And it's because of me. It's my fault. It's my... fault."

MUFASA: "You must take your place in the circle of life."
SIMBA: "But how can I go back? I'm not who I used to be."

Anyone else see a pattern here? Anyone else notice how much he holds onto his past? He also has a problem with change in this movie. He has trust issues in the second one. Which I understand.

Hakuna matata has a great effect on me. It helps me keep my sanity. For me, it really is a problem-free philosophy. Why? Because I don't use it to run away from my troubles. And I also don't have PTSD. Sure, you might argue that Simba doesn't have it either, but when you think about it, he does.

His father died when he was just a cub. Even worse, he saw him die. And even worse, he was tricked into believing he killed his father. Then he was banished from the Pridelands, never to return. If you are going to tell me you wouldn't be suffering emotionally, stop before you start lying. Maybe this philosophy worked for Timon and Pumbaa as it does for me. But in Simba's case, the only thing that can help him is facing his troubles.

Hakuna matata was his way of saying, there are no worries. I don't have any responsibilities. No one needs me. I'm just one person. I can't change anything. If I can't change the past, why should I care?

He was avoiding reality. While that may have worked for a few years, he couldn't really run from it for too long before he had to face it. What can we pull from this?

You can't run from your past. Because before long, it catches up with you. Don't use a carefree lifestyle to avoid your troubles, it'll only get you into deeper trouble.

Well, hakuna matata, everyone!

Timon's best lines
"When the world turns its back on you... you turn your back on the world!"
"You mean a whole bunch of royal dead guys are looking after us?"
"Why do I always have to save your AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"
"You know her. She knows you. But she wants to eat him. And everybody's... okay with this? Did I miss something?"
"It starts.. you think you know a guy..."
"Carnivores! Oy!"
"I can see what's happening. And they don't have a clue! They'll fall in love and here's the bottom line: our trio's down to two. Ze sweet caress of twilight. There's magic everywhere. AND with all this romantic atmosphere, DISASTER'S IN THE AIR!"
"We're going to fight your uncle... for this?"
"You're the king? And you didn't tell us?" Simba: "I'm still the same guy." Timon: "But with power!"
"What am I supposed to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?"

Pumbaa's best lines
"Timon, you better look! I think it's still alive."
"It's just a little lion! Look at him, so cute and all alone!"
"When I was a young warthoooooooooggggggggg!!!!"
"I'm a sensitive soul though I seem thick-skinned. And it hurt and my friends never stood downwind. And oh the shame! I thought of changing my name! And I got downhearted every time that I---"
"I ate like a pig!"
"Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away."
"SHE'S GONNA EAT ME!!!!!!!!!"
"King? Your Majesty, I gravel at your feet."
"They call me MR. PIG!!!!!"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scar: Life's Not Fair, Is It?

Scar. Probably one of the best Disney villains created. I mean, come on. This takes us back to 1994. Disney was on a good review high back in the 90s. One of those reasons? They had killer villains! Scar, Frollo, the Huns, the blue-haired guy in Hercules, skull-shirt guy from Toy Story, Jafar, Zira, Cinderella's step-mom (who named her cat Lucifer for Pete's sake), the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil, the list goes on (and I know they're not all from the Disney Renaissance).

Scar... what I like about him is that he sees himself to be higher than everyone else. Like, in the beginning of the studio version of "Be Prepared," how he speaks of the hyenas.

"I never thought hyenas essential. They're crude and unspeakably plain. But maybe they've a little potential if allied to my vision and brain."

Or, you can just see the scene the song plays in. But I'll save that for a later moment in the post.

The problem with this boy is, first of all, he never changes during the course of the movie. His resentment for his brother, Mufasa, continues even after Mufasa's death. Second, he is very selfish. He acts like he considers hyenas to be his friends even though you know he's just using them when he calls them enemies to keep Simba from killing him (and instead his so-called friends kill him). So, what is Scar thinking about most of the time?

"It's all about me."

Now, everybody gets jealous every once in awhile. Most people don't act on it the way he did, though. Sure, some people skip presentation ceremonies but most of them don't make up a plan to make sure their brother is trampled in a stampede of wildebeests. I mean, there are murderers out there, but... wildebeest stampede? He couldn't think of anything else?

That's one thing about Scar. He used his main talent for evil. He describes himself as having "the lion's share" when it comes to being smart. He's smart alright. Smart enough to trick his so-called favorite nephew into believing he killed his own father and start a whole stampede. And let's not forget that he is the one that made Simba wanna go to the Outlands. Let's just admit it.

Scar is actually a freakin' genius.

See, there's something you can learn from Scar. You can use your gifts for the better... or the worse.
This guy knows how to kill his brother, and then blame it on his nephew later. So, potential murderers out there, take notes from Scar. But I would prefer that you don't actually kill anyone. That's not good.

So, that ends this post with the fact that you should use your talents for good reasons, jealousy keeps getting worse until you do something about it, and Scar has the best mane in The Lion King.

Scar's best lines
"When it comes to brute strength, I'm afraid I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool."
 "Forgive me for not leaping for joy. Bad back, you know."
"I'm surrounded by idiots."
"It's just for you and your daddy! You know, a father-son... thing."
"Simba, it's to die for."
"I'm ten times the king Mufasa was!"
"Oh Zazu, all you need is a little garlic."
"He admits it. MURDERER!!!!!"