Long live the king!
Disney Animation has re-released 1994’s The Lion King back on to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download.
Synopsis: The Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba, the heir of his father, Mufasa. Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar, plots to usurp Mufasa’s throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes and only Mufusa is killed. Simba returns as an adult to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon and Pumbaa.
Directed by: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Written by: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson, Cheech Marin, Whoopi Goldberg, Moira Kelly, Robert Guillaume and Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Runtime: 88 minutes
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish and French: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)
Special Features: The Recording Sessions, Inside The Story Room, Visualizing A Villain, The Lion King: Song Selection, Deleted Scenes
Overall review: The Lion King was an animated masterpiece when it came out in 1994. There are plenty of memorable musical numbers such as Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, Hakuna Matata and Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight. More than twenty years later, all those songs stood the test of time for Disney soundtracks. Not to mention that Can You Feel The Love Tonight won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Song back in 1994.
The Lion King’s story is very original back in its time. The story essentially follows Simba in two phases of his life. The first phase of his life, Simba’s voice by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, is when he was a small cub exploring his relationship with his father Mufasa, voiced by James Earl Jones. The later phase, adult Simba voiced by Matthew Broderick, is when he confronts Scar, voiced by Jeremy Irons, for the throne to the animal kingdom.
Many parts of the movie is embedded into our culture today—making it a very influential animated film. People will sometime reference Circle of Life tale or even use the phrase Hakuna Matata as the new C’est La Vie moment. Not to mention, the iconic image of the baboon raising Simba in the air on Pride Rock marks one of the best memorable moments for the film.
As a Disney enthusiast, the extra features are an absolute delight. It has certain never-been-seen-before footage of the recording sessions videos with the voice actors playing their parts in the film. Although the video footages are old and choppy, it was great to see all the voice actors in the younger selves being so animated and dedicated to their characters.
The performance artist David Garibaldi did an excellent job with the music video in Visualizing A Villain. He creates his own art painting to visualize his interpretation of the villain Scar in the tune of his song.
And a terrific bonus comes with a new The Lion King song adapted from the Broadway play of the same name. Disney created a new animated sequence opening to include the Broadway song into the extra features.
And the best part of the Blu-ray extras will be and must be the song selections with captions. After all, no Disney animated movie experience would not be complete without a sing-along karaoke to the favorite songs.
The least interesting parts of the special features will be Inside The Story Room and Deleted Scenes. Although, Disney aficionados will enjoy the behind-the-scenes commentaries and narration, it proved to be boring unless you care the tidbits of trivial information.
The movie has a lot of heart. It’s one of my favorite Disney animated films of the relaunch era. Without a doubt, The Lion King must be included into your Blu-ray Disney collection.
Overall Grade: A
The Lion King is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on Tuesday, August 29.