• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #95: Mufasa


I feel like he's disappointed in me.

The Lion King was a huge movie. Disney animation had come back with a roar in the early 90s, churning out masterpieces like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, and an almost-masterpiece in Beauty and the Beast. By 1994, the studio was at the top of its game, and the result was The Lion King, a stupendous visual achievement with fantastic music and an equally splendid story.

I can't say I was wild about Simba, and people adopting Hakuna Matata as serious life advice irritated me. I was at a time in my life when people embracing a philosophy of abdicated responsibility really bothered me. These folks were missing the point of the movie, which was a rejection of childhood frolics and shouldering the mantle of adulthood obligations.

That's why I like Mufasa. This guy is what a king should be - powerful, considerate, thoughtful, loving, heroic, and in the end, self-sacrificing. That abnegation of self is at the core of the film's message. Grow up, cubs. Be like Mufasa. And if you can arrange to be voiced by James Earl Jones, I recommend that too.

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