It’s been two decades since Pocahontas showed us all the colors of the wind, and also all the colors of 90s fashion in an animated film about a singing Native American gal.
Can you believe that tomorrow it will have been 20 years since Pocahontas? Pocahontas the movie, that is: Pocahontas the human died in like 1617. It has been two whole decades since Disney released its historically fuzzy account of a spirited Powhatan girl who gets White Man’s Burdened by a dude in that one haircut all the cute boys had in the mid-90s. Disney does a ton of research for each of their movies, but ultimately chose a ’90s-friendly interpretation of 17th Century style. So how do the 1600s look through a ’90s lens?
In 1994, all of the cute boys called a secret meeting and vowed to get That One Haircut. If you were a Tiger Beat reader or cherished your J.T.T. is H-O-T issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, you know exactly which one I’m talking about. It was center parted and layered back on the sides, so that all of the cute boys could brush it out of their eyes all of the time. Which was the haircut’s fatal flaw, I’d wager. It was always in the way. And it was in the way of EVERYONE, from Rider Strong to Christian Bale to… well, to John Smith, who must have painstakingly layered his locks in his berth below deck of that old-fashioned wooden boat. Smith has the longer, more mulletty version of the cut, favored by your more outdoorsy Cute Boys In The ’90s.
Another Disney character celebrating in a bar somewhere is Simba, and if you were wondering how he’s spending his 21st birthday, read on.
The Lion King was released twenty years ago this month. If you’re anything like me, your reaction was “NOPE,” followed by a long contemplation of your own mortality. In Disney terms, Lion King is roughly as old now as The Aristocats and Robin Hood were when we were kids. But, as Rafiki would remind us, it’s all just a part of the circle of life — so let’s see where life has circled our favorite savannah-dwellers to in the two decades since Nala, Simba, and the gang hit theaters (and I wore a steady stream of Lion King t-shirts, camped in a Lion King sleeping bag, and regarded my stuffed Pumba as a prized possession):
We watched Simba grow from lovable scamp, to outcast, to grown man, to redeemer of Pride Rock.
Simba is almost certainly dead. Lions in the wild live for 10-14 years, though lions in captivity may live to 20-25. So, Simba is either deceased or elderly and languishing in the zoo.
And how’s this for a bummer? Male lions are typically ousted from the pride once they are 2-3 years old if their father gets the boot, unless they take it over. So, Simba’s exile was basically just a cold, scientific reality. Isn’t nature grand? And once he was too old to be useful, he was probably kicked out again. It’s basically the lion version of abandoning an elderly relative at the home.
Nala was the ultimate BFF-turned-love interest, like a leonine Joey Potter.
Nala had a bunch of cubs. Lion cubs born in the same litter can actually have different fathers – science! – which lead Nala to appear on Timon’s short-lived talk show, sort of an animal version of Maury Povich.
Simba was not the father.
Nala is now dead.
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Scar’s hyena henchmen were last seen mauling their former leader to death.
Hyenas can live up to 25 years in the wild, so it is possible that these fellows are alive and really, really old. Hyenas look decrepit even when they’re babies, so I can only imagine.
Wise Rafiki was supposed to be some sort of shaman/jester hybrid, maybe?
Babboons can live up to 30 years in the wild, but face it, Rafiki was already pretty old 20 years ago. But if you look up to the night sky, you can see the word “sex” spelled out in the stars and know that he is with you always.
Funny guy Timon taught Simba how to live and love, and taught us that damn Hakuna Matata song that’s still stuck in our heads two decades later.
Before dying (sorry! you knew it was coming!), Timon took advantage of the weird meerkat reality show trend, and became a star of sorts on Animal Planet.
Pumba issued the first fart ever heard on a Disney film (this is a true thing).
Well, that’s the circle of life, kids. And the circle stops at death. Also two decades closer to the grave: all of us. Man, I feel old right now.