Director(s): Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones (VOICES)
Release Date: August 29, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8/10
“The Lion King” follows the adventures of Simba, a feisty lion cub who cannot wait to be king, as he searches for his destiny in the great “Circle of Life.” The film earned a Golden Globe® for Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical and inspired a Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical that is currently the third longest-running musical in Broadway history. In 2019, a reimagined live-action film, helmed by Jon Favreau, will delight audiences with the thrilling retelling of the original tale utilizing groundbreaking technological advances—as only Disney can do.
The unforgettable Disney animated classic ‘The Lion King’ returns home on Blu-ray once again in the new ‘Circle of Life Edition’ which also marks the fifth entry in the ongoing Walt Disney Signature Collection lineup (following the recently released ‘Bambi’ which you can read our review of here). ‘The Lion King’ tells the powerful story of a young lion cub (and rightful King-to-be) named Simba whose life is thrown upside down following a terrible tragedy and the love, friendship and courage he experiences as he is forced to confront his heritage and consider where he truly belongs. Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ was initially released in theaters everywhere in the summer of 1994 and still remains a moving, beautifully animated and just downright fantastic film that holds up splendidly in every way and certainly makes a welcome addition the Walt Disney Signature Collection lineup.
Marking the fifth entry in the ongoing Walt Disney Signature Collection lineup of releases, ‘The Lion King: The Circle of Life Edition’ roars its way onto Blu-ray for another group of potential fans (as well as old fans of course) to enjoy. This latest Blu-ray edition of the animated masterpiece comes home sporting outstanding high definition video and audio presentations on the feature film which is available to view both via the ‘Original Theatrical Edition’ or with ‘Sing-Along Mode’ enabled for some extra fun. The Signature Collection release also offers a number of enjoyable and in depth extras, many brand new to this release and features a hilarious ‘Bloopers and Outtakes’ reel, plus ‘The Morning Report: Extended Scene/Song’, and plenty more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below), along with the option of viewing all of the classic, archival bonus content from the film’s previous releases on digital after redeeming your code, although the classic extras are not physically included on the Blu-ray disc. Combined with the impressive high definition video and audio presentations it will surely make this new Circle of Life Edition a must own for many of the fans, especially those who don’t already own this animated gem on Blu-ray. Those who already own one of the previous Blu-ray releases and are torn may want to at least take a closer look at the new extras in order to help decide whether it’s worth the cost of a double dip for you personally.
Overall, fans of this timeless animated masterpiece and homes with children (and Disney fans) that don’t already own a copy of the film on Blu-ray will definitely want to consider picking up ‘The Lion King: The Circle of Life Edition’ Blu-ray which also serves as the fifth entry in the Walt Disney Signature Collection lineup. The latest Blu-ray edition of the animated favorite delivers impressive high definition video and audio presentations that should have no trouble pleasing fans of all ages, in addition to some worthwhile extras that include some brand new goodies exclusive to this release. Those who already own a previous edition of ‘The Lion King’ on Blu-ray may want to more thoroughly explore the supplemental material before purchasing a copy if you’re uncertain, but anyone who doesn’t already own the film will probably want to get their hands on a copy of this new Signature Collection Blu-ray release before it disappears from shelves.
The Circle of Life Signature Collection Blu-ray release of ‘The Lion King’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio and includes two options for viewing the film: the ‘Original Theatrical Edition’ or ‘Sing-Along Mode’. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a clean, sharp and richly colored presentation from start to finish that suffers no notable faults along the way. It holds up impressively even during the fast moving and heavily populated sequences and never allows anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Disney that should have no trouble whatsoever thrilling the fans.
The Signature Collection Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and often fairly active audio presentation throughout. It regularly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the classic music, along with birds soaring, rocks tumbling and much more whipping throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and never allowing any dialogue or additional auditory elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible as a result. Overall, this is a splendid 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes even more fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Circle of Life Signature Collection Blu-ray release of ‘The Lion King’ includes a number of enjoyable extras and features a number created specifically for this new Blu-ray edition. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Co-director’s Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, and Producer Don Hahn’, in addition to ‘The Morning Report: Extended Scene’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length) and a collection of additional ‘Deleted and Alternate Scenes with introductions by Co-director’s Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff’ (running approximately 13 minutes altogether). We are also treated to some behind the scenes explorations of bringing various aspects of the film to life including ‘Visualizing A Villain’ (running approximately 3 minutes), ‘The Recording Sessions’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘Inside the Story Room with Introductions by Co-director’s Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff’ (approximately 24 minutes in total) and ‘Nathan and Matthew: The Extended Lion King Conversation’ (7 minutes). A ‘Song Selection’ for the movie, along with a goofy ‘Bloopers and Outtakes’ reel (approximately 4 minutes) and a ‘Classic Bonus Preview’ (1 minute) advertising the archival extras also available with your digital code are also included.