Disney is a household name in every house I know of. And although I cannot find it in my heart to forgive them for what they did to Star Wars, until recently I thought I’d always have a soft spot for them for the dozens, maybe hundreds of animated series and movies they gave me as a kid, and as an adult.
Snow White and Bambi are some of the earliest full length animated films I remember seeing and I clearly remember the joy I experienced watching the adventures of Mowgli in the original 1967 animation. I’ll never forget the scene and the cramp inducing laughter afterwards, when King Louie says “have a banana!” and shoots a banana straight into Mowgli’s mouth, and after that he says “have TWO banana’s!!” and shoots two banana’s at the same target… I think that was the first time in my life that I can remember not being able to stop laughing. Yep, Disney at least did that right.
But… From the very beginning, the company never produced anything original; all their stories are stolen or payed for, as they are all based on old stories, fairy tales, literature and plays. This isn’t a problem in itself and happens all over the place, and Disney has never claimed to be original. And they made good copies, as most of their movies became far more popular than the originals they were based on. So no one, including myself, is complaining or accusing Disney of anything malevolent.
Unfortunately I’ve come across some articles and videos that now also taint my better memories of Disney. I was surprised when I learned about this a few months ago; it’s not like this is news, it’s about the 1994 animated blockbuster The Lion King. As so often in these cases, this controversy was given little coverage at the time. It became the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time, which, on the face of it, is a trophy befitting Disney’s status as the world’s premier producer of animated blockbusters, at the time at least. But now I’ve learned that The Lion King is stolen.
The Lion King was marketed as Disney’s first completely original work, not based on any pre-existing literature or film, a claim they hold on to till this very day. Except it’s not original at all and the ripoff is so in your face that it boggles my mind how this can stand any scrutiny at all. The Lion King is ripped off from Kimba the White Lion:
Kimba the White Lion is a Japanese shōnen manga series created by Osamu Tezuka which was serialized in the Manga Shōnen magazine from November 1950 to April 1954. An anime based on the manga was created by Mushi Production and was broadcast on Fuji Television from 1965 to 1967. It was the first color animated television series created in Japan. – source: Wikipedia
Just watch the video I linked at the end of the article to see some of the obvious similarities in theme’s, characters and imagery. You’d expect that Disney could have done a better cover-up than just changing the one letter from “Kimba” to “Simba”…
Alleged similarities in the characters, beginning with the protagonist lion cubs Kimba and Simba, include the evil lions, the one-eyed Claw and Scar, the sage baboons Dan’l Baboon and Rafiki, the animated birds Pauley Cracker and Zazu, and the pair of hyena sidekicks (it was a trio in the Disney film). The Lion King co-director Rob Minkoff deflected criticism of similarities in the characters by stating it was “not unusual to have characters like a baboon, a bird or hyenas” in films set in Africa. – source: Wikipedia
It’s an ugly world where profits trump anything else, but that’s the world we live in. This is the real story we’re being told here, that it’s okay to lie and cheat, just as long as you make sure you don’t get caught before you’re too big to even care anymore. I really don’t know how to react to this, other than with intense disappointment and anger…