Watching The Lion King 2 and The Lion King 1 ½ (which is the order in which they were released) is akin to a tale of two sequels. On the one hand, you have a film which attempts to be just as grandiose as the original film. It recalls moments from the original repeatedly in telling its tale. It shows us how the circle of life continues on past that first film. The other sequel opts to give us moments from the original film via a new and different perspective. It breaks the fourth wall repeatedly. And, in its attempting to tell a smaller tale succeeds far more than the other.
It is The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride which fares far less well in the land of sequeldom. The story picks up soon after the end of the original film with Simba's daughter, Kiara (Neve Campbell, Michelle Horn when Kiara is a cub), following all too closely in her father's footsteps. She refuses to listen when she is told to not do things. As a young cub she disobeys and meets a young outlander lion, Kovu (James Marsden, Ryan O'Donohue when Kovu is a cub), a member of a pack of lions who remained on Scar's side during the original film.
Simba (Matthew Broderick) finds Kovu with Kiara, learns who Kovu's mother is Zira (Suzanne Pleshette) who is still angry with Simba's ruling the kingdom. And, from there, it's all rather predictable. The lion cubs get older, the plot to dethrone Simba progresses, the cubs fall in love, and right conquers wrong.
The film parallels the original very closely and often very overtly. The intent here may be to truly show us that the circle of life is just that and that generation after generation have to fight their own battles and learn right from wrong. That isn't necessarily a bad message, but it isn't depicted here in interesting ways. Things just sort of plod along from one moment to the next, never achieving the greatness of the first film. Some scenes are incredibly similar in nature to the original (a song in Scar's cave, a lion scrambling on the edge of a cliff as a stampede rushes below), but the comparison always favor the first movie which really makes this film a shadow of that one.