Why "1 1/2 " instead of a "3"? Because, quite literally, there's no sequel here at all. In fact, there's virtually no new material at all, and those expecting more of the same should steel themselves for exactly that: more of the same.
The Lion King 1 1/2 plays out almost like a clip show from the original film, done up MST3K style. Timon and Pumbaa sit in a screening room and fast-forward through the original Lion King movie to get to their exploits. These are slightly retold and expanded upon from the creatures' point of view. Presumably the stories from the original Lion King weren't quite accurate. Here they are appropriately embellished with those lovable scamps inserted into the original footage, showing how it was really the unappreciated leisure lovers that saved the Serengeti. While a couple of new productions are tossed in (something about Timon trying to find his perfect home under a waterfall), virtually all of the songs from the original are performed here (at least in part; I'd be shocked if any of this was re-recorded for the new DVD).
Possibly the most annoying aspect of the movie is the film-within-a-film design. The chatter that interrupts the movie periodically is grating to the point where adults will want to turn it off. One scene, in which Pumbaa takes a bathroom break, serves only (and obviously) to pad the movie out by another minute in a pathetic attempt to reach the 77 minute running time. Kids will find it annoying too that their loud and colorful diversion has suddenly stopped midstream. I can't imagine any of them sitting in front of the TV patiently waiting for the toilet break to end.
Somehow Disney has deemed The Lion King 1 1/2 worthy of a two-disc DVD release, complete with deleted scenes (huh? I thought the whole movie was deleted scenes), kids' games, and making-of footage. It's all skippable, but no moreso than the film itself.
Bottom line: Unless you want to ruin your memory of the original Lion King with lots of pointless revisionism and potty humor, skip this disc.
Aka The Lion King 1 1/2.
Simba sizes up a steaming pile of this movie.
Run time: 77 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 10th February 2004
Production compaines: DisneyToon Studios, Walt Disney Animation Australia, Walt Disney Television Animation
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 4
IMDB: 6.6 / 10
Director: Bradley Raymond
Producer: George A. Mendoza
Screenwriter: Tom Rogers
Starring: Nathan Lane as Timon, Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Julie Kavner as Mom, Jerry Stiller as Uncle Max, Matthew Broderick as Simba, Robert Guillaume as Rafiki (voice), Moira Kelly as Nala (voice), Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi (voice), Cheech Marin as Banzai (voice), Jim Cummings as Ed (voice), Edward Hibbert as Zazu, Jason Rudofsky as Flinchy, Matt Weinberg as Young Simba, Corey Burton as Grumpy, Jeff Bennett as Additional Voices