The Lion King - 2019
Age-appropriateness: suspenseful and scary sequences (a child witnesses the death of his father)
Overview: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.
Themes: family, parenthood, responsibility, manipulation, identity, bravery, justice, kingship, leadership, obedience, honoring parents, love, jealousy, friendship, compassion
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Kingship. What does it take to be a great king? What does it mean for Jesus to be described as the "King of all kings"?
Mufasa is the current king of pride Rock. He is raising Simba to be the future king. As king, Mufasa is in charge of everyone's well-being. He rules the kingdom in a way that allows the most amount of people to thrive. He doesn't rule just to have power and authority himself. It's not about living an awesome life while others struggle. Instead, Mufasa teaches Simba that great kings care about everyone in their kingdom and ensure they are all protected. Revelation 19:16 points out that Jesus is our King. It says, "On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords."
2. Death/grieving. Instead of trying to run away from his problems, what is a better way to respond when we suffer a loss? How do you typically respond when you lose something or someone that you love?
Simba grieves the loss of his dad in an unhealthy way at times. He takes Scar's advice and runs away. He thinks that if he doesn't deal with his deep feelings of loss, he can feel better. He ignores his feelings and pretends like everything is okay.
3. Identity. Have you ever lost sense of your identity? Have you ever defined yourself by something you do or something done to you?
Mufasa encourages Simba to remember who he is. Simba lost sense of his identity. Our identity is the truest thing about us. It's who we are, deep down inside. No matter what happens to us, or what anyone else says, our identity is first and foremost what Jesus says about us.
Here's an article about How to Talk to Your Kids About Their Identity.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
1. Parent self-evaluation: Mufasa made the most of everyday situations as teachable moments. He was very intentional as a father. He parented with the end in mind, knowing that Simba would one day be King. When you consider who you want your kids to be when they grow up, how can you be intentional in the season you’re currently in?
2. Mufasa is the current king of pride Rock. He is raising Simba to be the future king. As king, Mufasa is in charge of everyone's well-being. He rules the kingdom in a way that allows the most amount of people to thrive. He doesn't rule just to have power and authority himself. It's not about living an awesome life while others struggle. Instead, Mufasa teaches Simba that great kings care about everyone in their kingdom and ensure they are all protected. Revelation 19:16 points out that Jesus is our King. It says, "On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords." What does it take to be a great king? What does it mean for Jesus to be described as the "King of all kings"?
3. The Bible describes Jesus like a lion. Specifically, because a lion symbolizes royalty, power, dominion, and strength. In Revelation 5:5, Jesus is described indirectly as a Lion, one who has won the victory. It says, "But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Why do you think Jesus would be described as a lion? When you think of lions, what words or descriptions come to mind?
4. When Simba was initially presented by Rafiki, the sun shined down directly on him. Matthew 3:16 describes a similar scene about the time Jesus was baptized: "After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him." Why do you think the presentation of Simba was such a big deal? How does the scene with Simba compare to the baptism of Jesus?
5. Mufasa explained that old kings now live in the stars, looking down on the animals to guide them. When we get lonely, it’s comforting to know we’re never alone. God loves us so much that he’s with us always! Isaiah 41:10 says, "Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. When was a time that you were lonely recently? How does it feel to know that God is always with you?
Check out this article about How to Talk to Your Kids About Heaven.
6. Simba grieves the loss of his dad in an unhealthy way at times. He takes Scar's advice and runs away. He thinks that if he doesn't deal with his deep feelings of loss, he can feel better. He ignores his feelings and pretends like everything is okay. Instead of trying to run away from his problems once he grew up, what could’ve been a better way to respond? How do you typically respond when you lose something or someone that you love?
Here's an article about How to Talk to Your Kids About Death/Grieving.
7. Scar constantly wanted things that his brother, Mufasa, had. Scar wanted the power and authority of being king. He was incredibly jealous of Mufasa. Jealousy is wanting to have something that someone else has. His jealousy led him to have an unhealthy view of himself and others. It led him to become a bully and to hurt people. Who are you most jealous of in life? What unhealthy things has that jealousy led you to do?
8. Timon and Pumbaa were great friends to Simba when he needed it most. They accepted him for who he was, understanding that he wasn't perfect. Even though Simba was a lion and was much different than them, Timon and Pumbaa loved and cared for him. They were emotionally available and constantly present. What are the qualities that make up a great friend? Who are your closest friends, and why do you love them so much?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:04 Simba presented as a new baby at Pride Rock. The Bible describes a time when people from all nations will come together to worship Jesus. Philippians 2:10-11 previews a time when “every knee will bow…and every tongue will confess” that Jesus Christ is King. Just like all of the different animals honor the lions, one day everyone will recognize for Jesus as King. What did you think of the opening scene, where all animals came together to respect the one in charge? Can you imagine a day when people from all over the Earth will bow down and worship Jesus as King?
:13 Mufasa explains to Simba that “others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give”. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus explained that very thing: "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” His followers didn't understand this type of king. They always envisioned a king that ruled with great military power and had many servants, but Jesus is saying He’s the exact opposite. Mufasa also explains that we are all connected in the great “circle of life” and we are to show respect to all creatures. Jesus demonstrated this when he respected the people that no one else respected. When you think of a king, do you think more of a ruler or a servant? How can you respect all people around you, loving them and serving them before expecting anything from them?
:20 “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”. Simba sang about his excitement to grow up and be king. Is there anything you cannot wait to grow up to do or to be? What are you most excited for when you grow up?
:24 Simba and Nala visit the elephant graveyard, deliberately disobeying their parents. Ephesians 6:2-3 says, "'Honor your father and mother.' This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, 'things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.'" Obedience is listening to and following the rules, knowing that's what's best for you. Is there ever anything you did that went against your parent’s rules? How did that end up for you?
:31 Mufasa says he’s only brave when he has to be. He also admitted that he was scared. Bravery is having the courage to make good choices, even when you’re afraid. Sometimes the bravest thing to do is admit that you’re scared. It’s okay to show your weakness. Being strong doesn’t mean you can’t admit that you’re not perfect. In fact, being strong requires it! Do you think that it takes bravery to admit when you are scared, sad, or lonely? When was the last time you felt that way?
:35 “Be Prepared”. Scar advises the hyenas to be prepared for what they have to do to King Mufasa. Matthew 24:44 says, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” What do you think it means to be prepared for the return of Jesus? In what ways can you start preparing for Jesus' return?
:40 Scar manipulates Simba into going into the valley, endangering him and Mufasa. Manipulation is a form of lying, it means to trick someone for selfish reasons. Has someone ever manipulated you to get what they want? Have you ever lied to someone else for your own benefit?
:54 Timon recommends that Simba put his past behind him. He says that bad things are going to happen, and we ought to have a positive attitude about the future. In John 16:33, Jesus promises us that, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Is there anything from your past that you haven’t fully moved on from? How can you be honest about your hurt while still having a positive attitude about the future?
1:03 Scar is a king who brags about being “able to take whatever he wants”. He’s exactly the opposite of what Mufasa describes as a good king. Because of Scar’s selfishness, what has been the result of the kingdom and land around him? How has his never-ending desire to “take” instead of to “give” impacted the animals around him?
1:07 Timon and Pumbaa’s worldview is that every animal is disconnected from everyone else and therefore you can do whatever you want. They say that “life is meaningless, and you can just do whatever you want.” They think that you live your life and at the end of it, life just ends, there’s nothing else. Do you agree with the way they view life? How might their worldview actually be harmful?
1:10 Timon and Pumbaa believe that since they are outcasts that no one important would look down on them with care. Jesus was always spending his time with outcasts, telling those rejected by society that God loves them and cares for them. Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." With this verse in mind, do you agree with Timon and Pumbaa? How do you think their views of themselves would change if they saw how Jesus treated outcasts?
1:18 “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”. Nala finds Simba after thinking he was dead. She's thrilled to find him alive. The two lions really love each other. 1 John 4:16 says, "We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." What does this verse tell you about love? In what ways can you show your loved ones how much you care about them?
1:22 Nala and Simba disagree about the responsibility he has as king. Responsibility is when you do the things you are supposed to do and accept the results of your actions. Nala says that he has a responsibility to return to Pride Rock and protect his friends and family. Simba disagrees, thinking that he isn't capable of being king. Who do you agree with in this scene? What are the things you’re responsible for?
1:27 Mufasa encourages Simba to remember who he is. Simba lost sense of his identity. Our identity is the truest thing about us. It's who we are, deep down inside. No matter what happens to us, or what anyone else says, our identity is first and foremost what Jesus says about us. Have you ever lost sense of your identity? Have you ever defined yourself by something you do or something done to you?
Here's an article about How to Talk to Your Kids About Their Identity.
1:33 Sarabi says that, “a true king’s power is his compassion.” Compassion is the motivation to go out of your way (not just when it is convenient) to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another. God is the most compassionate being to ever live. That's one of the reasons He is the perfect King. In Matthew 9:36, we see the heart of Jesus: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." How compassionate of a person are you? In what ways is God compassionate with His people?
1:41 Simba faces Scar and challenges him for the throne. Simba stands up to Scar, who is ruining Pride Rock with his leadership. Simba stood up for justice, even if it meant putting himself in harm’s way. Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless.” In what ways are you seeking justice in your life? Who is someone who might need to stand up for and fight for justice?