In the beginning, we see Scar (Jeremy Irons) “play[ing] with [his] food”. He “lose[s] his lunch” because Zazu (Rowan Atkinson) talks to him.
Then, of course, we have the iconic “great circle of life” speech Mufasa (James Earl Jones) gives young Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Lions eat the antelope, die, and become the grass. The antelope eat the grass. Everything is a big chain of eating.
The hyenas think they are “dangling at the bottom of the food chain”. This is an exaggeration, but they are lower than lions. Everything in this world is focused on who is higher on the food chain: who is eating who and who is being eaten by whom.
The hyenas need Scar to bring them food. We, as the audience, assume their hunting abilities are limited. They need someone else to bring in the food (we see this again later when Scar rules. The lionesses “do the hunting”).
When Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) find Simba, Timon wants to leave him. “Lions eat guys like” them according to Timon. Even away from the Pride Land, the food chain is still on everyone’s mind. Simba’s at “the top of the food chain”.
After Scar is king, “there’s no food, no water”. The hyenas are upset because they are hungry, as always.
When Nala (Moira Kelly) shows back up, she hunts Pumbaa because all the food has left Pride Rock. Pumbaa screams, “She’s gonna eat me!” But Simba (Matthew Broderick) interferes and saves his friends.
To lure the hyenas away, Timon “[dresses] in drag and [does] the hula!” He uses his “buddy Pumbaa” to attract their attention. Pumbaa equals food to the hyenas.
After defeating Scar, the rain brings back the greenery which ultimately brings back the food for the animals that are not lions. Yay, “Circle of Life”!
Eating plays a huge roll in this movie. When we think of lions, most often the first thing we think of is danger. They might eat us, right? Eating is a sign of power. In The Lion King, lions eat everything, thus having the power. But when Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa, they talk him into an alternate power. All three have power over the bugs instead of one animal having power over other animals. Ultimately, eating equals power.
This site has nothing to do with an analysis of this movie, but it talks about bugs as a food source. Not a new idea but something to think about.
An interesting article discusses the lessons men (and I would argue women, too) can learn from this movie.
Thanks for reading! See you next week!