The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar | Rating: 7.2 / 11 |

Released February 23, 2016

Revisiting Pride Rock was an exciting yet terrifying idea when the poster for The Lion Guard appeared outside Radio Disney end of last year. What did this mean? Who is that young lion cub? Why does he have a tattoo? Are any of the original characters involved? What about the original voices? Questions like these rushed to mind while fear threw out thoughts like “Disney better not ruin The Lion King legacy!” Come to find out The Lion Guard is a TV movie designed to set-up a new television series on The Disney Channel of the same name. The show centers around Kion (pronounced Kai-On), Simba and Nala’s second born, on his quest to defend and protect the pride lands. In order to protect the pride lands Kion has to assemble a team of the strongest, bravest, fastest and keenest of sight to form The Lion Guard.

Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu and Rafiki are still around. There’s even some clever dialogue referencing the original film. Although casting Rob Lowe in place of Matthew Broderick as Simba was actually a pretty stellar (and similar voice) choice, the only original voices are Pumbaa and Mufasa. Yes that’s right, there is a cameo by Mufasa who is still voiced by the incredible James Earl Jones. Plus we meet a ton of new friends, the worst being the ever irritating Bunga (a honey badger) who likes to make up his own jargon (aka an ever obvious writing attempt at a catch phrase) and sing about it.

The animation style and musical score all reflect our beloved 90s film and while the writing is overly predictable, the only real complaint was the length of the film; 44 minutes was just too short of a visit to the pride lands and will leave you wanting more. Moral of this story, The Lion Guard: Return Of The Roar provides a warm blanket of nostalgia that kids of all ages will enjoy. Adults can be kids too.