I finally watched “The Lion King”

Sure, I am twenty years late to the party, but better late than never, right? Right. During the Carnaval break I did what to many was a fundamental part of their childhood: watching Disney movies. Not just any, but the Disney movies. You know, the classics: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King…the list goes on, and on, and on (and on).

What would probably be an eventful exercise of jittery nostalgia to pretty much every single human being on this planet was a new experience to me. I had not seen any of these films. While they had their ups and downs, and fair share of clichés (blasphemy!), there was one that stood out, and one I regret not having watched before: The Lion King.

How haven’t I watched it?! I mean, it’s almost as if the movie was cut out for me—my middle name is Shimba, the protagonist’s name is Simba… Actually, maybe I didn’t watch it because I was so emotionally Scarred (ha!) from being called Simba as a kid that I did not dare set my eyes on the film until now. Maybe. Or maybe I was trying so hard to be a unique little child that I missed out on what everyone was raving on about. Or maybe I was just dumb. The matter of the fact is I didn’t watch it. And I really should have.

On the surface, it’s Hamlet for kids: the uncle kills his brother to take his throne, and so the king’s son must exact revenge on the uncle. Cool beans. However, iambic pentameter and incredible mastery of language aside, The Lion King does it better.

Maybe it’s because I can’t relate to Danish princes from the late Middle Ages, but I didn’t find Hamlet sad. It found it quite funny, actually, what with Shakespeare’s excellently executed dirty jokes for comic relief.

On the other hand, I nearly cried when Mufasa died (come on, it has been twenty years, that doesn’t count as a spoiler anymore), and I’m sure most of you did too. I’m not sure why I felt bad for animated lions and not for Danish people, but The Lion King felt more tragic than Hamlet. Except for the obligatory Disney-trademark “…and they lived happily ever after” ending, of course. The Lion King could have done without it.

Looking back, I now realize that The Lion King should have been a part of my life as a child. Not only is it a fantastic movie that teaches about kindness, love, and valor, but it probably would have made me been proud of my middle name. “Yeah, call me Simba all you want. I’m the most badass lion in town, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m the Lion King. Hakuna matata.”