I remember going with my family to watch the live action adaptation of the Lion King. It was great (neglecting the fact that they got rid of He Lives In You, which will forever slap), but it made me realise that my degree has essentially ruined this beautiful Disney classic; all I could see was how it reflected a political reality. The 4D experience was great but it wasn’t the steam coming from the ceiling, the moving chairs, or the 3D glasses that made the experience feel real for me. I couldn’t help but concentrate on the parallels between the issues interwoven within the plot and the issues of real life.
So, we all know what happens in this film:
1) Mufasa dies
2) Scar takes over the pride
3) Simba runs away
4) Simba returns to defeat Scar and take back his rightful place as an heir of Mufasa
But it’s actually “everything the light touches” that I care about:
The biggest difference between Scar and Mufasa is their ideas about how the pride lands should be governed. Mufasa obviously sees the need for balance and regulation and protection of the pride. Scar on the other hand is just focussed on using the pride lands for his pleasure until nothing is left. It’s greedy and exploitative. He’s even willing to form a coalition-esque structure of government with the hyenas to fulfil his plans.
Scar has to erase all Mufasa-type ideology from the pride lands in order to secure his interests, so he removes all possible leaders that carry this stance; the rest of the pride are clearly opposed to him regardless but the lack of leadership has left them scattered. And by doing so, he gains power and brings his sovereign boundaries to a point at which the pride lands are lifeless. The environment is almost inhabitable, the pride are constantly being monitored, maltreated and tyrannised by hyenas, and when confronted about the over-exploitation of their territory, he’s enraged.
To me, that sounds a lot like our world as a collective. It sounds a lot like turning rivers black for the sake of brightly dyed clothes. It sounds a lot like the exploitation of the “cheap labour” force (which is predominantly third world women). It sounds a lot like a bunch of people who just want ridiculous amounts of money that nobody needs at the expense of others and the planet.
But money will save us, right?