Rhino was in the living room again, watching the music videos of songs from High School Musical translated around the world. It was one of those specials on TV.
He danced and grooved to every language. He knew the tunes by heart. The hyper hamster was practically partying over it. The music was danceable and catchy. After all, how many modern movies were musicals?
Mittens came in and admitted that it was a bit original. "But," she said, "I wish they would put just as much energy and emphasis on their other stuff. Look at this- around the world translations of pop or hip hop songs. That's pretty big. But Disney made movies for classics around the world, you know that? I'd like an around-the-world appreciation day using that, too."
"Hm," said Rhino, not really listening as he tried to follow the dance steps and memorize them at third try. "That's cool."
"Hey, that's pretty neat," said Bolt, coming in with his favorite toy Mr. Carrot.
"It's nice to know one of you is listening," said Mittens, lounging on a pillow.
"Huh what?" said Bolt. Then he turned his head toward the screen. "They have those songs in different languages, too?" His tail wagged against the floor, tapping to the beat.
"Yup!" Rhino grinned. "Sounds cool, don't it?"
Later on, Rhino settled down to watch a special commercial of the Jonas Brothers. And a music video.
"Aren't they soooo awesome!" Rhino exclaimed, bouncing as he said it. What he said was not a question to be answered.
"Well they've got talent," Bolt said. "Not that many bands are solely brothers, right?"
"Yeah, they're an interesting team," Mittens said.
"And they write their own songs based off experiences," Rhino added.
"Ok, that's cool, too," Mittens agreed. "Pretty cool."
Then an "I Heart Jonas" commercial came up.
"ARE YOU SERIOUS!" Mittens snapped at the screen.
"What? They're just granting wishes of fans," Rhino said defensively. " I know how that feels."
"You love the Jonas Brothers?" Mittens said, appalled. "Not as in love their music, but as in you're in love with them? Cuz that thing over there was about a Valentines Day thing- ring a bell?"
"No, silly! I worshipped Bolt," Rhino said.
"Oh. Ok granted, people can be big fans of something. But is that a reason to be obsessed and fall in love with them just for what you see them perform? Much less advertising that kind of behavior. And selling it? I mean, what are the world's children going to come to?"
"Calm down, Mittens," Bolt said to the raging cat. "You're scratching up the softest pillow."
"Oh, sorry," Mittens said, retracting claws.
"So you feel pretty strong about this," Bolt said.
"Yeah, I guess," Mittens confessed. "It's not the Disney I saw earlier…ok I'm cooled."
"Hey guys," Penny said with an ecstatic smile on her face. "Ready for The Lion King?"
Rhino was excited about this one. Pocahontas had been breathtaking last week, even more (though he wouldn't admit it) impressive than HSM.
The screen was black.
Then a Disney logo, a soft light orange, appeared and faded like it was in the dark and a candle was near it and then left. Soft animal sounds were in the background.
Rhino wondered when something would pounce right in. It was usually quiet right before something struck out of nowhere.
Walt Disney Pictures….the words appeared small and humble as they faded as quickly as they came in. Rhino could have sworn it was like a breath….
All of a sudden, a loud and clear voice cut through the mysterious peace. Rhino jumped up at the sound of that bold singing voice, and the steady orange making its way through the dark. The sunrise. Hm, looks dramatic.
The orange shone light on more around it, and animals were looking up, and making their way to go somewhere. Rhino looked like he was puzzled, straining and twitching his ears.
"Rhino, what's wrong?" Bolt asked, though his eyes were fixed on the beautiful beginning. Why wasn't Rhino just mesmerized?
"It's awesome, but I think it'd be more awesome if I KNEW WHAT THEY WERE SAYING!" he grumbled.
"It's in Swahili, an African language," said Mittens. "I don't know what they're saying, but just listen to it and watch-"
"WAIT I THOUGHT WE WERE WATCHING A MOVIE IN ENGLISH!" Rhino interrupted.
Mittens shushed him and said, "It IS in English, just be quiet and wait for it! The beginning's just so you know it's in Africa."
"Oh ok," Rhino said. The moment he paid attention to the animals, the exotic variety of wild creatures approaching a grand Pride Rock, he exclaimed, "WOW! How'd they catch that on the magic box?"
"What do you mean, catch that? It's animated, hand drawn," Mittens hissed. "Would you please let us enjoy the movie?"
"But it is most definitely NOT hand drawn!" Rhino argued. "Look at it. It's so smooth and lovely and awesome and amazing and- and too real to be- oh, it IS in English-" he realized as he listened to the song- "And just look at it, it's NOT a cartoon. I'm not stupid!"
Penny looked down at the squeaking furball that defined hyperness and fury. She giggled. "Rhino calm down. You know, sometimes I worry…if the movie scares you or anything, you can go ahead and head on over to bed…."
"Bed, my butt! You're kidding me….I'll be quiet now," Rhino said.
"That'd be a miracle," Mittens whispered.
"Hey," Rhino snarled.
But he looked at the screen just in time to see the baby lion cuddled in his mother's arms. The purring and the eyes and….the innocence. It was only natural for Rhino to squeal:
"D'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwww!" More high pitched as he stretched the reaction. "SO CUTE!"
Penny didn't hear it. She was too busy thinking the same thing when that baby Simba came up. "Almost as cute as you, Bolt," she grinned.
Bolt wasn't in the mood to look up at her and smile, as he would've. He was too busy looking at that cute little infant, so tiny, so sweet, and his sneeze was adorable….
Mittens strained to ignore Rhino's swallowed-helium-sounding gushing, and the baby Simba also won her heart already as she got past the annoying hamster.
And as he was lifted up, the crowd of animals burst into cheers and sounds of celebration, and they began bowing. It was a capturing, powerful moment that seized the audience.
Then BANG. The title hit the screen, bolder and more fearless than the logo at the very beginning. THE LION KING.
"Wa-wa-wait that's it?" yelped Rhino, thinking it was now going to head to end credits.
Then a mouse crawled out of the dark pure black screen, and into sunlight.
"Oh-ho look at that!" Rhino said. "Lemme guess, it's gonna be like the lion and the mouse story!"
A paw smacked the mouse down and picked it up. A brown, thin lion, with a black mane and a scar shown later appeared.
"Whut, you mean that adorable little baby cub turned into THAT?" Rhino said skeptically. "Well there goes all my hope for this film."
"No," Mittens laughed at the thought. "Just don't jump to conclusions, all right, and just enjoy the movie. Laugh when you need to, cry when you need to, but please no more commentary."
Rhino didn't listen. He was too busy shuddering at Scar about to eat the mouse.
Mittens saw this, and slyly whispered, "That's me snatching you if you ruin this movie, too."
Rhino didn't know whether to respond, "If that's you, then you're kinda ugly" or "Hey, what do you mean ruin?" So he kept still.
"Oh now look, Zazu, you made me lose my lunch."
There were a few chuckles.
A few moments later, Rhino cheered when Mufasa appeared, "Now that's more like him!"
Later, as Mufasa and Scar were talking about the "Presentation of Simba", Rhino said aloud, "Ohhhh so this is still the same day?" Which would've been an okay comment if he hadn't said it so loud like he was declaring "Eureka!" or something.
When Rhino saw the beautifully animated plains and trees and rain, his jaw dropped.
When he saw Simba, a bright, energetic, impatient, excited cub on the edge of Pride Rock, pouncing along, his heart leaped. Which was understandable.
"Checking in with the morning report."
"Chimps are going ape, giraffes remain above it all, elephants remember, though just what I can't recall…."
When Zazu starting SINGING the Morning Report, Mittens' eyes went wide.
"Wait, this wasn't in the original- since when was there- Zazu doesn't SING- this is-what in the world…." the confused cat said.
She was the only one who had problems with it. Penny and Bolt didn't mind, because they thought it was rather cute and funny, and they didn't know it wasn't originally part of the movie.
Rhino, of course, liked it the most.
Oh, great, Mittens thought, there's another song he's gonna sing on and on.
"ON THE MOOOOOORRRRRRNIIIIIINNG REPORT!" Rhino howled melodically.
"Oh how cute," Penny laughed.
Mittens was about to growl and roll her eyes again at this, when she realized Penny meant Simba, not Rhino.
"Oh, well….it's okay, I guess," the cat murmured. "It's just not what I remember."
Later, when Rhino saw Scar again, he scoffed. "Again, this guy? Wait a minute. He's the UNCLE of this Simba?"
"You'd know if you paid attention," Mittens growled.
When Scar mentioned the Elephant Graveyard, Rhino could already picture it now. Simba would kick dead elephant butt there! Elephant zombies, elephant skeletons…he figured it was like a haunted house but in the wild.
When Nala came up for the first time, Rhino was in puzzlement. "Is that his sister? Half sister?"
"What are you talking about?" said Bolt.
"There's only one father…" Rhino said.
"Oh. Huh, I didn't think…" Bolt whispered.
"Oh please don't think about that right now!" Mittens said. "It'd ruin it for later."
During the song I Just Can't Wait to Be King, Rhino was back up on his bouncing feet.
Don't hear Rhino, listen only to movie, don't hear Rhino, listen only to movie…Mittens tried to will herself to do.
When Nala and Simba were wrestling, and Nala pinned Simba twice, Rhino was about to yell out that there should've been an instant replay when-
Rhino was silenced all over again as he saw they were in the Elephant Graveyard. He gaped at it.
"I wonder if its brains are still in there," Nala mused to Simba in the movie.
Rhino was torn between saying "Yeah go on in and let the fight begin!" and "Don't go in- I know something creepy's gonna come, I just know it."
"Danger, ha! I walk on the wild side. I laugh in the face of danger-HAHAHAHA!"
"That's the spirit!" Rhino rooted. Now he was leaning more towards wanting Simba to go in so bad.
Then the laugh of the hyenas started echoing.
It was enough to make Bolt, who once faced very real-looking bad guys with dangerous electric hands and the green-eyed man, cower and cuddle closer to Penny.
Penny stroked his fur and Bolt calmed down a bit. Though his fur stood on end when the hyenas showed up.
What were hyenas doing there?
Rhino gasped in horror.
"FIGHT THEM! BITE THEM! KICK THEM IN THE BEHIND AND RUN!" the rodent screamed at the screen.
Bolt wanted to will Simba to be brave enough to protect Nala and Zazu and scare the hyenas off. It was obvious they didn't respect their king- oh, future king.
….Simba slapped the hyena, claws merciless, across Shenzi's face to protect Nala. Then they kept running…
Rhino was on the edge of his seat, so to speak, and chanted, "Come on, come on, come on!"
….But the cubs were cornered and there was nowhere to run….Simba gathered up his courage and opened his mouth.
For a second, Bolt and Rhino had slightly expected something like the Super Bark.
A feeble roar was all poor Simba could bring out….
"NO!" Rhino said dramatically. "MORE SUPER THAN THAT!"
The next roar was a lot more fearless and loud.
"YES! Like that!" Rhino said.
Then it turned out to be Mufasa, who had come to Simba's rescue and got rid of the hyenas.
"Oh, that's why," Rhino said. "AND DON'T COME BACK!" he yelled to the hyenas. When he caught sight of Scar watching the scene in the dark all along, he yelped. Really loud.
"HE'S BEHIND THIS? I SHOULD'VE KNOWN."
Later, during the scene between Mufasa and Simba, it was enough to touch everyone. Luckily, Rhino didn't ruin it.
Except that he went "AWWWWWWWWWWWWW" a lot. Also really loud.
Penny's response to this was as usual.
When the next scene revealed the Elephant Graveyard again, Rhino shuddered. "But- but the hyenas were supposed to be outta here!" His face easily turned to a smile and he burst into laughter at Ed, the demented hyena.
When Scar appeared, Rhino, well, practically attacked the screen. "What, were you trying to kill your own nephew?"
As Scar began to start his evil song Be Prepared, a chill went up everyone's spine. Bolt was getting nervous again. Get a grip, I faced danger all the time. Why is this so scary? It's not like they're part of the green-eyed man's army of…
Mittens tensed as her fur stood on end. This is spooky. Gets me every time.
Rhino would never sing to this song. He couldn't believe it…Scar was going to kill Mufasa and Simba?
"NO! How could you?" he wailed to the villain on screen. "They are so happy, and Simba the SWEETEST THING EVAH, and Mufasa is so awesome, and you're going to take that away, YOU'RE A MONSTER! And this time I mean it more than I've ever meant it!"
"Hey Uncle Scar, will I like the surprise?"
"Simba, it's to DIE for."
"NOOOOOO, SIMBA!" Rhino whined. "Your uncle's a monster!"
During the stampede scene, everyone got even more chills than before. It was the most intense thing so far.
When Rhino saw Mufasa lying dead, he said, "No, he'll come back to life. They always do," very positively. "He's playing dead, or knocked out, or something. I know they won't let someone die in a Disney movie…would they? NO, it can't be….Mufasa, did you miss your cue…get up….NOW. NnnnnOW. Now? Oh my….no, no it's not….CURSE YOU SCAR!"
Mittens didn't bother to remind Rhino that there definitely was a death in the last Disney movie they saw (Kokuum). She was too caught up in the scene.
Rhino sobbed more than the rest of the audience. Which was a lot.
"It's just…so sad…" Bolt said to himself. He whined and nuzzled Penny beside him, and licked her hand as he shortly remembered that he had almost lost her once. He was lucky that she lived. But he felt so bad that sometimes for others, it wouldn't be that way…poor Simba….
Penny's eyes were brimmed with tears. She wiped them away quickly.
Mittens got up closer to Penny and tried to cuddle, too. She knew she wouldn't feel the same as she did with her past owner. She wasn't as close to Penny. And Penny wasn't as close to her. But the scene…it made her want a hug, even if her own loss wasn't as deep as Simba's….
Rhino hated Scar's guts after this. "You crossed the line, pal!" he said threateningly to Scar as he appeared on screen.
"If it weren't for you, he'd still be alive."
"NOOO SIMBA DON'T LISTEN! HE'S A JERK AND A STUPID LIAR AND A MURDERER-"
Scar told Simba to run away, and a scared Simba obeyed…
"No, Simba, TURN BACK AND FIGHT! BITE HIS HEAD OFF, TEAR HIM APART! HE KILLED YOUR FATHER!" Rhino screeched.
Rhino got up close to the screen as if he decided that he would do it to Scar for Simba.
Coincidentally, at that moment, Scar's calm voice said, "Kill him." And the hyenas started to pounce out-
"AGH!" Rhino screamed before remembering he was too close to the screen, and Scar meant kill Simba, not him.
After that relief, Rhino instantly got up again and yelled, "RUN SIMBA RUUUUUN! Oh yeah! See, he listens to me now."
He decided it was okay to laugh now when the hyena Bonzai fell into the thorns.
During Scar's pretend grieving for Simba and Mufasa, Rhino shouted in fury, "YEAH RIGHT, YOU MONSTER!"
The hyenas came into Pride Rock, and Rhino wailed, "He's a monster…"
Then the movie shifted its views back on Simba, now dying in the desert…
"NO!" Rhino yelled. "NOT SIMBA, TOO!"
The vultures closed in….
"No-hoooooooo!" Rhino wailed.
"AAAAAAAAH!" came two new voices on the screen.
Rhino immediately liked the characters Timon and Pumbaa for saving Simba.
"Hakuna Matata, huh, I like the sound of this!" Rhino said.
Rhino laughed outrageously at the fart joke with Pumbaa. More than it needed.
The movie switched scenes to back to Pride Rock.
"Oh lighten up, Zazu, and sing something with a little more bounce in it."
"It's a small world after all-"
"NO! Anything but that."
This won so much laughter they almost couldn't hear the next song Zazu sang for a bit.
"Ok, so maybe Zazu does sing after all," Mittens shrugged, chuckling.
"Huh, a song killjoy, sounds like someone I know," Rhino smirked. He burst out laughing again as he remembered the old Small World song.
The scene switched to a beautiful scenery.
"Ooh, pretty…" Penny said.
A belch echoed through it.
"I take that back…."
Rhino guffawed, literally rolling on the floor laughing. "That was a good one."
Simba was stargazing with Timon and Pumbaa, and they were discussing what the sparkly lights were.
When Simba mentioned what Mufasa told him…Timon and Pumbaa burst out laughing.
And Rhino growled, losing his respect for these characters. "What do you know?" he yelled at them.
When Simba left and Timon inquired, "Was it something I said?" Rhino pulled his ears in frustration, yelling, "YA THINK?"
Rafiki, that baboon from the beginning, came in and found out Simba was alive, and began leaping with excitement.
Rhino gaped. "Wow what a wizard."
"How'd he know that?" Bolt wondered. "He's incredible." The dog had a mini flashback of when he first met Rhino and thought Rhino was a phantom, knowing everything about him. Was Rafiki a phantom?
Mittens also wondered how Rafiki got that, but she figured maybe he had a direct line to special senses or something….
Penny might have thought the same thing, but she only said, "Rafiki's so funny, he's my favorite character." Which puzzled Bolt and Rhino since the baboon was barely in the movie so far.
Then, Rhino thought it'd be a good idea to bring up his favorite part from Hakuna Matata again….
"Rhino," Mittens said through clenched teeth. "We're at an important new scene now. Get over it, please."
When they saw the adult lioness attack, Rhino yelled out as if he were watching a wrestling match with animals,.
Coincidentally, he used the same yells Timon in the movie said!
It was because of that that Mittens didn't grab him and kick his hamster ball out.
"Get her! Bite her head! Go for the JUGULAR- THE JUGULAR!"
Then it turned out to be Nala, and Rhino went all giddy on how they found each other and maybe they could start new life away from Scar….
"I can see what's happening."
"And they don't have a clue!"
"They'll fall in love and here's the bottom line: our trio's down to two."
"The sweet caress of twilight, there's magic everywhere,
And with all this romantic atmosphere, disaster's in the air!"
This brought a smile on everyone.
Rhino attempted to memorize those lines somehow, though they weren't going to rewind it.
Bolt thought, Good thing our group wouldn't go down to less….
Mittens thought, Haha, disaster's in the air!
The beautiful Can you Feel the Love Tonight song was enchanting and silenced Rhino again….
The ending of the song made him laugh all the more, as Timon and Pumbaa burst out in tears. He could tell it was safe it laugh if the tears were flying like in cartoons.
Afterwards, Simba and Nala had a fight. Nala wanted Simba to go back and be the king, and Simba wanted to leave behind all his past…
That silenced Rhino, too. So, they weren't going to listen to him and stay away.
Well….GOOD! He decided in his head, rather than out loud, for once. Simba needs to beat Scar senseless and go for the jugular on HIM!
"It's because of me…it's my fault…"
Simba was weeping, alone, remembering his father's death.
"NO IT'S NOT THAT WAS A LIE!" Rhino was about to say.
Right after the sad part, a rhythmic, happy humming was heard.
Mittens growled, at first thinking Rhino was spoiling this sad scene, but then realized, to her surprise, it wasn't Rhino, but Rafiki. "Ohhh. I forgot about this guy."
It didn't take long until everyone saw why he was Penny's favorite. Laughter took up the entire living room. "It's a secret. Asante Sana SQUASH BANANA!"
Laughter built up again. And again, and again.
When Rafiki said Mufasa was alive, Rhino jumped and geeked out, "I KNEW IT! THEY ALWAYS COME BACK!"
But it was different than he expected.
"Oh, wow, that's different but…so nice…." Rhino murmured, touched by the scene again.
"What was that! The weather. Very peculiar."
Laughter started up more when Rafiki smacked Simba on the head with his stick.
When Simba decided that he was going back, Rafiki howled to the sky victoriously and excitedly. And the same could be said for Rhino.
But now, Mittens didn't mind as much. It wasn't as bad as last time.
Simba was running back…
Rhino whooped nonstop, "YEAH GO OVERTHROW SCAR! TELL HIM THAT'S WHAT HE GETS!"
When Timon and Pumbaa showed up as live bait to distract the hyenas, everyone tumbled over in laughter.
However, Rhino was still laughing, his ball rocking back and forth along with his laughs, long after everyone else was like "Ahem" and focused back on the fight at hand.
Rhino kept yelling out curses to Scar and screamed at Simba "Finish him! Finish him! Die, Scar, die! Die, die, die, die!"
And Scar did die, but in a creepier way than Rhino thought he would. A cold shudder went up his little spine.
But then, Rhino cheered like never before.
And as Pride Rock healed and the Circle of Life came about as a reprise, he screamed out, "AWESOMENESSSSSS! I LOVE IT! LOVE IT!"
"Oh dear, poor Rhino's lost his mind," Penny said. "I didn't know it was that intense, I mean, it's probably not appropriate for little hamsters, huh. All those carnivorous lions…."
"What are you talking about," Rhino laughed, though of course Penny couldn't hear. "I LAUGH IN THE FACE OF DANGER!"
And so Rhino rolled off, Hakuna-Matata-ing all over the place. I Heart Jonas didn't cross his mind any more. He wondered why there wasn't an "I Heart Simba" instead, now.
It also turned out that he missed a rerun of his favorite two part episode of Hannah Montana. But he didn't care anymore. After all, "It's about Hakuna Matata, not Hannah Montana!"