Oct 062011
 

If it wasn’t for the fact that Disney forced the bulk of the features onto BD-Live, capping them at 480p in nasty letterbox, The Lion King would be nearly a perfect release. But ignoring that, you still have some amazing picture and audio quality along with one of the best animated films to every come out with a Disney logo slapped on it.

 

 

 


The Lion King: Diamond Edition (1994)


REVIEW NAVIGATION

The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

 

Genre(s): Animation, Drama, Comedy
Disney | G – 89 min. – $39.99 | October 4, 2011

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Writer(s):
Irene Mecchi and Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton (screenplay)
Cast:
Matthew Broderick, Jim Cummings, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Jeremy Irons, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin

Theatrical Release Date: June 24, 1994

DISC INFO:
Features:
Commentary, Featurettes, Outtakes, BD-Live, DVD Copy
Number of Discs:
2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (DEHT 5.1), Spanish (DEHT 5.1)
Video:
1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Codec:
MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s):
A, B, C


THE MOVIE – 5.0/5

Synopsis: A young lion prince is born in Africa, thus making his uncle Scar the second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. The King is killed and Simba is led to believe by Scar that it was his fault, and so flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile he is persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own thus completing the “Circle of Life”.

It’s been almost 3 decades since the film first came out, and it still comes across as being one of the best Disney Animated releases of all time. Disney had a slump in the 70’s and 80’s, but came back with a roar with Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Judging by the amount of money Disney made by re-releasing this film in theaters in 3D, it looks like fans both old and young can still appreciate a fine film no matter the age.

What works with the film is that Simba is just a great character. We see him as a young cub, and when he returns as an adult he still feels like someone that the audience can relate to. I know, a Disney movie and relating? I know these are animals, but the journey Simba goes on after his Father’s death is pretty amazing and to come back and take rightful seat on the throne just radiates through the audience. Of course, that’s not to say that Simba is the only good character. You have Timon and Pumbaa, along with Mufasa (for how brief we see him), Nala, Scar etc. After all these years, is it possible to still enjoy a Disney film as much as I do for The Lion King? Apparently so.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5

Commentary Track with Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff and Don Hahn

The Morning Report (2 Minutes) is an alternate scene.

Disney’s Virtual Vault – Uh oh. Looks like to save disc space, Disney is forcing consumers to go online through their Blu-ray player to watch these Special Features (all letter-boxed in 480p) that may or may not be available in a year from now. It’s up to Disney how long they keep these up, as I have many Blu-ray discs when these online features that are now gone. Boo!

Anyway, you get The Making of Morning Report (3 Minutes), a few Deleted Scenes (6 Minutes), Stage Journey (17 Minutes), Music Journey (25 Minutes), Film Journey (23 Minutes), Story Journey (12 Minutes), Storyboard Comparisons (4 Minutes) Early Concepts (7 Minutes) and an extra scene, Warthog Rhapsody (4 Minutes). No idea what these are as they looked horrific on my TV and I won’t sit through Disney forcing me into these horrific 480p, tiny special features that stutter every 30 seconds. 

Also included is a Sing Along Track.

** Blu-ray Exclusives **

Interactive Blu-ray Gallery – Pretty cool gallery filled with storyboards, character designs and more.

Backstage Disney:
– Pride of the Lion King
(38 Minutes)
– A Memoir of Don Hahn
(21 Minutes)
– Deleted/Extended Scenes
(14 Minutes)

– – This is split into three section (noted above) which delve into numerous things not present on past DVD Releases. Pride is probably the most interested as it brings some of the cast and crew back together to reminisce the film. Memoir is 20 year old footage and Deleted Scenes is exactly what you expect it to be.

Rounding out the Blu-ray Exclusives is a Bloopers & Outtake Reel (4 Minutes) and the Second Screen function.

For a limited time, the set also includes a DVD Copy.


VIDEO – 5.0/5

The Lion King is presented in 1.78:1 on a 50GB Disc. The 2D Presentation is what most people will buy (they may go see it in 3D at the Theaters, but if they don’t have a 3D TV, they will be running out to pick up the 2D edition), and it’s no slouch. In fact, since there is no “ghosting” like with the 3D Version, it’s could technically be seen as better. And that;s exactly what I am going to do with it. This is easily one of Disney’s best!

AUDIO – 5.0/5

Disney has included an English 7.1 Lossless DTS MA Track for this release. Considering we were suffering with the DVD for well over a decade, it’s nice to hear the film how it was meant to be heard. Jungle sounds, paw’s slightly walking in the grass, the ‘pride’ running, Scar dashing back and fourth…this might just be my favorite audio track this year.


OVERALL – 4.75/5

If it wasn’t for the fact that Disney forced the bulk of the features onto BD-Live, capping them at 480p in nasty letterbox (plus not all of them were carried over from the previous DVD release), The Lion King would be nearly a perfect release. But ignoring that, you still have some amazing picture and audio quality along with one of the best animated films to every come out with a Disney logo slapped on it.

 

Brad Lowenberg
Published:
10/06/2011

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.

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