The Lion King: He lives in you
When you see The Lion King at five, you just enjoy the music and Pumba’s gags. When you see the remake at thirty, the film’s underlying message is a bit clearer.
Our culture looked different in 1994. Buzz phrases like ‘You do you’ and ‘love yourself’ weren’t born yet. But the remake’s success, which openly challenges modern assumptions, reveals something interesting:
Certain ideas we’ve rejected may actually be the ones we love.
Leadership is the film’s big theme, and we see two competing leadership styles.
There’s Mufasa, a leader who serves the savannah. He teaches Simba, who ‘just can’t wait to be king,’ that leading isn’t about escaping responsibility.
It’s about service and compassion.
Then there’s Scar who represents the power-hungry, self-serving wannabe King. And this proves tempting to the young Simba.
Having fled the pride, Simba meets Timon and Pumba. Their Hakuna Mutata philosophy promises the freedom of looking after number one. No worries.
In the remake, when Nala tries to bring Simba home to set them free from Scar’s rule, Pumba even says, “You do you, Simba.”
What’s Simba going to do? Look after number one? Hakuna Matata. Or be a true king, serving like his dad?
Today’s philosophy would say he should do what he wants. But interestingly, everyone in the cinema wants him to serve the pride.
And this is what he does. And it was Rafiki’s reminder that swayed him: “Your Father’s spirit lives in you.”
Our culture tells us to love ourselves above all else. And yet we still want to watch Simba self-sacrificially giving up his comfort. Just like Mufasa. And like the ultimate King, Jesus Christ.
As children and heirs to God’s throne (Romans 8:17), he calls us to do the same (Galatians 5:13). And if we feel torn between serving ourselves our others, the Bible promises us:
Your Father’s Spirit lives in you (Romans 8:11).