The circle of life keeps on turning as Disney’s The Lion King arrives with a new Signature Collection blu-ray release, bringing new bonus features for fans of the classic movie. Is the new release worth snagging even if you already have it? Check out my review to see what I think.
Typically in my blu-ray reviews, this is the part where I talk about the movie itself and its quality. Frankly speaking, however, if you haven’t already formed an opinion on The Lion King at this point in your life, I’m not sure I’d be able to help you.
It’s one of Disney’s classics and most beloved animated film. While everyone has their own favorite Disney film, this one has always been mine. From film’s powerful message on loss/acceptance, and facing your responsibilities regardless of how hard it is, to the incredible songs and animation...there’s a lot to love. It’s a film I loved as a child and continue to enjoy as an adult with my own kiddos.
It's as solid a movie as it ever was, so if you loved it previously, you're going to continue to love it for this release. If you didn't like it...well, I mean, the odds of me changing your mind at this point is pretty damn slim.
The picture quality is excellent, though it's essentially the same transfer as the previous "Diamond Edition" blu-ray release. That's not a bad thing, as the image is crisp and clear, with vivid colors and excellent sound. It's easily the best version out there for this movie, but you shouldn't expect it to be any different (from a technical aspect) from the last time The Lion King arrived on blu-ray.
Where the Signature Edition changes things up is by adding in some new bonus features for fans to enjoy...And I mean, this thing is loaded up with a BUNCH of bonuses:
Brand New Sing-Along Version
Audio Commentary – View the film with commentary by producer Don Hahn and co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.
Visualizing a Villain – Against a backdrop of live dancers and the animated “Be Prepared” sequence, artist David Garibaldi paints a masterpiece of evil.
The Recording Sessions – Watch rare footage of the actors recording their roles, matched with the final animation. Intro by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.
Nathan and Matthew: The Extended Lion King Conversation – Nathan Lane (Timon) and Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba) offer candid and hilarious insights into their Lion King experiences.
Inside the Story Room – Co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff present archival footage of five original story pitches.
Circle of Life – See how color creates emotion and meaning in the film’s iconic opening.
Simba & Nala – See how elements proposed in story meetings evolve into what appears onscreen.
Simba Takes Nala Out to Play – …And, sometimes what seems funny in story meetings never makes it into the film!
Hakuna Matata – Co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff sing, act and dance their hearts out as they pitch the “Hakuna Matata” sequence.
Rafiki and Reflecting Pool – Co-directors Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff pitch a sequence that became the emotional heart of The Lion King to Producer Don Hahn.
Not everything is new, and some are ported over from the last release, but there's still a ton of special features to pour through on the disc. For a classic film like this, it's always exciting to see the behind the scenes process. I enjoyed seeing the actors talk about their experiences on the film, as well as the old footage of their recording sessions for, now, iconic scenes.
On top of all this, with the blu-ray you get a swanky film cell collectible to go along with it. It's a nice touch for collectors/Disney fans, though I suspect the kids won't care a whole lot about it.