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The Lion King: The Signature Collection Blu-ray Review

Lion

“The Lion King” gets a glossy new Blu-ray release.

If you don’t know the story of “The Lion King” by now, I’d ask if you have been living off the grid. However, as is the tradition for my reviews, I’ll start off by describing the plot of the film. The story chronicles the life of a young lion cub/future King (Simba) who is the son of King Mufasa. Mufasa’s brother (Scar) plots to get rid of both Mufasa and Simba and partially succeeds in doing so. Mufasa winds up dead and Simba runs away and lives out in the wild with his pals Timon and Pumbaa. Eventually, Simba’s calling rears its head which forces the lion to find himself and become who he was meant to be (a King obviously).

When I saw “The Lion King” in theaters way back in 1994 I thought it was a solid Disney animated feature film but I didn’t quite understand the rabid obsession over this film. Rewatching the film now, I still don’t understand the undying love for the film which has undoubtedly grown over time. Now, there’s denying it has become an iconic original Disney animated film. There’s also no denying that the score and songs have been firmly implanted in your brain. Indeed, the score by Hans Zimmer and Tim Rice and Elton John’s classic tunes such as “The Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” are arguably the best part of the entire film. As for the film itself? I just don’t understand the hubub about it.

Upon reflection, I think part of why “The Lion King” has never spoken to me is that it feels like it’s missing something. As the film throws in useless pop culture references and explores themes about nature, family, life, learn, the past, and finding yourself in the least subtle ways imaginable, writers Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton seem to forget about scripting a middle act AKA the actual journey part. The film is so entirely focused on the story set-up and conclusion that it rushes so quickly through the middle to the point where the movie barely feels like it has a middle. Aside from some inner conflict, comedic hijinks, a brief vision quest and some handy advice from a mentor in Rafiki, there’s not much going in act 2. There’s certainly not a lot of conflict or struggle going on. It feels like there should be more to Simba’s journey before he goes back to the Pride Lands.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The colorful and crisp hi-def transfer will please fans of the film.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A flat-out dynamic track. The songs never sounded better.

Extras: * DVD copy and Digital copy. * A strip of film frames. * Disney trailers and an for classic bonus features. * An animated sequence for “The Morning Report” song that was made for the stage musical. * 5 deleted and alternate scenes with intros by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. * Nearly 4 minutes of bloopers and outtakes. * “The Recording Sessions”- Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers intro an extra that gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the voice actors recording sessions. * “Inside The Story Room”- A 5 part extra that delves into sequences, storyboards, character moments and more. New intros by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff are included. * “Visualizing A Villain”- Some sort of arty interpretive dance to the song “Be Prepared.” It’s as weird as it sounds. * “Nathan And Matthew: The Extended Lion King Conversation”- An extended conversation between Tom Schumacher, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. Lots of interesting behind-the-scenes stories (included material about the original version of the movie). * An informative commentary by Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff and Don Hahn.

Overall Thoughts: Despite my own issues with “The Lion King,” it is still a fine Disney animated film. I’m sure there are tons of fans out there who are eager to pick this new release up. Those fans will not be disappointed by this extra feature packed release.

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September 3, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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