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The Lion King (2019) Blu-ray Review


“The Lion King” (2019) doesn’t compare to the original.

The story of 2019’s “The Lion King” retains the plot from the 1994 animated classic. The power hungry brother of King Mufasa (Scar) plots to kill Mufasa and his son Simba with the aid of the hyenas. Simba manages to escape death and winds up at an oasis where he grows up with friends Timon and Pumbaa. Meanwhile, in the Pride Lands, things become worse for the Animal Kingdom (including Simba’s friend Nala and Simba’s mother Sarabi) under Scar’s rule. Will Simba come back and save the Pride Lands and reclaim the Throne? I’m sure you already know the answer.

Despite running 118 minutes (the 1994 animated classic clocked in at 88 minutes), it doesn’t feel like anything new or of value has been added to the story of 2019’s “The Lion King.” For the most part, scenes are merely extended and the pacing is slower to allow scenes to breath more. Alas, even with the changes and the photorealistic visual effects, the film is entirely inferior to the animated Disney classic. Even with the cutting edge technology (I’ll get to that in a bit), the sole reason the 2019 “The Lion King” never measures up to the original comes down to one word- emotion. As real as the animals may appear, you can’t shake the feeling that you are watching animals with disembodied voices. The animals themselves cannot create expressions like their animated counterparts and the movie suffers because of it. Were it not for Timon and Pumbaa (voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen respectively) who single handedly save the movie with their humor and chemistry, it would be a rather dry cinematic experience. To me, if you’re going to remake a film, do something different like the underrated 2019 “Dumbo.” Retelling the same story in a different format with a cast, a score, and songs that isn’t on par with the original just doesn’t cut it. That’s no disrespect to the cast members like Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen and composer Hans Zimmer, but you can’t replicate what is already considered perfection by many as hard as you may try.

Director Jon Favreau has had such a fantastic varied career with writing the indie classic “Swingers,” launching the MCU with “Iron Man,” soon to be delving into the Star Wars universe with “The Mandalorian,” and now doing live-action Disney remakes with “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King.” He’s a truly talented visionary that is doing some pioneering work with the visual effects outfit Moving Picture Company. Truth be told, it is the effects that do stand out here the most. The animals and the virtual sets are grand technological achievements. The movie is a marvel to look at if nothing else.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The visual effects are stunning in 1080p.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the iconic songs to the dialogue, this track delivers

* Digital Copy
* DVD copy
* Disney trailers
* Song selection and sing along options
* Music videos for Beyonce’s “Spirit” and Elton John’s “Never Too Late.”
* “More To Be Scene”- A look at 3 sequences (“Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” and “Hakuna Matata”) in various forms (storyboards, animation tests, recordings, and finished version)
* “Protect The Pride”- A PSA for the Lion Recovery Fund.
* “The Journey To The Lion King”- A 3 part behind-the-scenes extra that covers the music, the visual effects, and the iconic story.
* Intro by Jon Favreau
* An insightful solo commentary by Jon Favreau. Favreau is always worth listening to.

October 16, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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