'The Lion King' director explains how death of Bambi's mom influenced the death of Simba's dad

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment

The demise of Bambi’s mom in the 1942 Disney animated classic is one of the most soul-crushing deaths in movie history. But arguably more traumatizing for kids (and adults) to watch is the trampling of Simba’s dad, Mufasa, in 1994’s The Lion King.

Not only do we see the actual death (unlike Bambi’s mom, where we only hear the gunshot), but we also endure the heartbreaking aftermath, with the young cub attempting to nudge his father’s corpse awake. (Just ask Matthew Broderick how hard this one is to show your children.)

The Lion King co-director Rob Minkoff doesn’t necessarily see it that way. As he told Yahoo Movies during a Facebook Live interview this week, he and his filmmaking team discussed Bambi while making The Lion King, and found it troubling that after Bambi’s mom gets shot, she just disappears from the movie. “It’s really sad, and then they go to this new spring song, where the birds are singing in the trees. It’s really disturbing.”

So with The Lion King, “We were thinking that [Simba] needs to deal with the fact that his father died,” Minkoff explained. “We need to bring some closure to it.

“And the fact that later in the story, his father does come back to him, in a very meaningful and important way, kind of closes the loop. It’s not that he really does die and disappear forever, which I find much more disturbing.”

The Lion King‘s Signature Edition Blu-ray and Combo Pack is now available.

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