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Lion Guard: Return of the Roar Review!

Jondee here at the Pride Lands,

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Lion Guard: Return of the Roar is a 44 minute movie that leads to the Lion Guard animated series on Disney Channel. The Lion Guard was created by Ford Riley. Simba (Rob Lowe) tells the Circle of Life story to his daughter, Kiara (Eden Riegel), who will soon be Queen of the Pride Lands. She was the heroine of the Lion King sequel Simba’s Pride (1998). They are interrupted by the antics of his younger son, Kion (Max Charles) with a tufts of red mane, and Bunga (Joshua Rush), the honey badger. The two friends run off to play to baobab fruit ball. This is to “It’s a Beautiful Day” where they romp through the Pride Lands and past all of their animal friends. The baobab fruit falls into the Outlands and Bunga jumps after it. He loves saying, “Zuka Zama!” and it’s catchy. Kion yells at the hyenas to let Bunga to go and this angers Kion so much it unleashes the Roar! Bunga leaps up the cliff as the Lion Guard mark fades from Kion. Rafiki (Khary Patyon) is there to tell Simba it is time for Kion hearing the Roar. Rafiki tells Kion that it’s the Roar of the Elders. Simba takes Kion and Bunga to the Lion Guard Lair, a hidden passage to a lake. He tells his son about the Lion Guard which protects the Circle of Life. Scar was the head of the Lion Guard, but lost his roar when the power got to his head, the Guard turned against him, and Scar used it to destroy the Lion Guard and lost the Roar.

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Kion starts assembling the Lion Guard and this is overheard by the vulture, Mzingo (Jonny Rees with English accent like Zazu). He appoints Bunga as the first recruit since he is the bravest animal. They hear the cries of Kiara and rush off to help her. Kiara’s fellow lioness Zuri (Madison Pettis) has her claws caught in a log. Timon (Kevin Schon, who previously voiced Timon in other productions) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella returns!) are able to free her unleashing a swarm of bugs. Bunga announces the Lion Guard who says it’s “Zuka Zama!” Bunga’s song that gets all the jungle animals to sing. I’m going to say it all day. “Pop up! Pop up! Zuka! Zuka! Dive in! Dive in! Zama! Zama!” I gotta get this soundtrack. Kion convinces Timon and Pumbaa that Bunga is the bravest. At the volcano lair of the hyenas, Janja (Andrew Kishino), the leader, gets a report from Mzinga. Janja wants the Outlanders to attack before the Lion Guard can form. His song, “Tonight We Strike” is a surreal villain song. Ono (Atticus Shaffer), a cattle egret with the keenest sight, swoops in to snatch up a snail. Beshte (Dusan Brown), the strongest hippo, knocks over a boulder to create a water slide for the other hippos. The fastest cheetah, Fuli (Diamond White), races baboons, who run into Beshte. Fuli apologizes for saying the baboons look funny when they scratch their heads, lol! Kion gathers his Lion Guard.

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It is great to see other African wildlife with this series (I’m expecting the characters to be showcased at Animal Kingdom) and I especially love the African phrases that slip in with the characters. The others doubt Kion’s roar, it comes out as a squeek, and Simba chastises his son for choosing his friends for the Lion Guard instead of lions. Kiara hunts gazelles with the other lionesses when they see the hyenas. Kion sings a song of doubt, “Is It Time?”, he hears the voice of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) in the clouds! He tells Kion that his Roar will be there when he needs it. Bunga rushes to warn Kion about the hyenas. Kion has a plan and he marks each with a Lion Guard paw print (removable tattoo time!). Kion gives the battle cry, “Until the Pride Lands’ end, Lion Guard defend!” The hyenas are thrown together and squashed by Beshte. Rafiki announces to Simba and Nala (Gabrielle Union) that Kion’s Lion Guard is successful, but the gazelle herd stampedes towards Kiara. Bunga lands on the rock protecting Kiara and uses a tactic from his uncle Pumbaa to scatter the herd. Kion’s roar uses the clouds of all of the past lions to blast the hyenas away. Five Lion Roars out of Five! Zuka Zama!