The setting is the dank, foreboding jungle of darkest Africa. Out on the plains, the law of kill or be killed is the order of business--a grim circle of life in which death is never that far away. Ruling over his kingdom is wise King Mufasa. But lurking in the background, plotting and planning, dreaming bloodthirsty dreams of domination, is his evil disfigured brother, Scar. Long has he waited for his chance to rule. And he will not be denied.
Into this tense political landscape is born Simba, the king's innocent son, who by right of birth becomes next in line to the throne. What the blameless cub cannot know, however, is that his birth would be the final straw to break the back of Scar's simmering patience. Now his ghastly scheme of murder and upheaval would be put into place, and the kingdom would never be the same.
With the aid of his vile army of rabid hyenas, Scar brutally slaughters his brother Mufasa, dropping him into a herd of rampaging wildebeests that smashes his once mighty body beneath its collective feet. A young Simba witnesses the murder, and is left with the broken corpse of his father, convinced by Scar's malicious manipulations that he is in fact to blame.
Simba flees the kingdom in terror, taking refuge in the outlying regions of the jungle, beyond the relative safety of the plains. In his absence, Scar assumes the throne, and promptly rains upon the population a dark, chaotic age of horrors, in which his hyena forces flood the plains with their malevolent influence, and life for the lion tribe is made a living hell.
Meanwhile, the prince in exile succumbs to the allure of a life of ease. He befriends the strange and grotesque creatures of the jungle, who persuade him to abandon responsibility and join them in a seductive life of malaise, ruled by the arcane motto, "Hakuna Matata". It is only once the maturing Simba discovers what has happened to his father's kingdom, thanks to the ghost of Mufasa returned from beyond the grave, that he is able to finally break the curse of those words and return to the plains to attempt to face the evil and set things right.
Accompanied by those jungle creatures who have elected to help, a grown Simba at last confronts his murderous uncle. And in the face of the unstoppable fury of his righteous rage, Scar and his hyena forces are wiped from the plains in a bloody massacre of epic proportions.
The grass of the plains dyed red with the blood of his enemies, Simba takes the throne by force, vowing to continue the just rule of his father and eventually producing an heir of his own. The circle of life goes on, linked--as it must always be--with the inevitability of death which hangs ominously over the jungle like an ever-present cloud.