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The Lion King: Diamond Edition Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: MVC (3D), AVC/MPEG-4 (2D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: G
  • Run Time: 88 Mins.
  • Discs: 4 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + Digital Copy)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 4, 2011
  • List Price: $49.99

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BestBuy.com:
The Lion King -

Purchase The Lion King on 4-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
2D HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

Nearly 20-years after its original release, The Lion King is showing that it is one feisty feline that can not only rule the jungle and Broadway, but can still rule the box office, raking in $30 million dollars and going straight to the top, helped in part by a shiny new 3D conversion from the folks at Disney. 3D aside, the film is still a wonderful, family-friendly Disney classic with memorable songs, amazing animation, and a compelling story.

The little lion cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) is set to inherit the throne from his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) one day, but the feisty cub has a penchant for getting into trouble. He also has a jealous uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), who wants him and his father out of the way so he can become king. When Scar’s schemes with a group of hyenas culminate in Mufasa’s death and Simba being forced to flee, the youngster Simba finds a new carefree life with two friends, a meerkat named Timon (Nathan Lane) and a warthog named Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella). Simba turns his back on his former life until he is forced to come to terms with his past and return to claim his place in “the circle of life,” in order to rescue his pride from his evil uncle.

This is one Disney gem that every family with youngsters ought to have in their video library.

Video Quality

2D HD: [Rating:5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:3/5]

While watching The Lion King in 3D is an interesting experience, I’m not so certain how well converting hand-drawn animation to 3D works overall. The 3D MVC encodement shows just a few moments of really increased depth of field and some genuine pop-out, particularly in the scene where the grownup Simba walks to the edge of a precipice and kicks up some sparkling dust – it really comes out of the screen, which is unusual for a 2D-to-3D conversion. Still, the majority of the time, the conversion looks rather flat, or fake, less like an open window or museum display and more like a pop-up book.

The 2D encodement is where it is at here; it looks good enough to lick. Disney continues its unbeatable streak of putting out reference quality animated releases on Blu-ray, and I include the Pixar releases in that as well. The line art is sharp and clean, the colors are pure, noise is nonexistent – it’s just plain beautiful.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The Lion King in both its 2D and 3D incarnations comes with an incredible DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix from Disney that shows great dynamic range and wonderfully extended lows. When those elephants get to stomping, it really resonates through your whole body. The extra back channels are sometimes filled with the chorus of vocals during the musical musical performances and other times with a nicely audible atmospherics. There’s a wide soundstage and clean dialogue that remains above the sound effects. The musical score is airy and natural.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

This isn’t exactly one of Disney’s most feature-laden Blu-ray releases, but the 2D Blu-ray is compatible with Disney’s Second Screen iPad/iPhone and internet app that allows viewers to sync up with the film and watch along with additional interactive features. Other extras include some deleted scenes and outtakes as well as some behind-the-scenes featurettes chronicling the production of The Lion King.

  • Play Movie with Disney Second Screen Compatible
  • Bloopers & Outtakes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:44)
  • Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition:
    • Pride of The Lion King (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:38:06) – A look at the entire Lion King world from its animated film and books to the Broadway production contains plenty of interviews with the creators, voice actors, and others.
    • The Lion King: A Memoir – Don Hahn (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:19:40) – The producer of The Lion King gives his reminiscence on how The Lion King came together with plenty of home video footage featuring Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E, Disney and others.
  • Deleted and Alternate Scenes with introductions by co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff:
    • Zazu Flatters Mufasa
    • “King of the Wild”
    • Scar Wants Nala as His Queen
    • Simba and Nala Reunited
    • Zazu Flatters Scar
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Lion King roars to life again in this new Diamond Edition set from Disney. Although the 3D conversion is a nice option to have, there is no doubt that the real star of the show here is the marvelous 2D Blu-ray transfer and new lossless 7.1 mix.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004WDRT1Y[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Lion King -

Purchase The Lion King on 4-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
2D HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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