The Lion King (2019) [Blu-ray review]

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The Lion King hit in the middle of July and people didn’t know what to do with themselves. Certain chunks of the American populace have fetishized Disney animation to a point where even similar facsimiles can’t cut the mustard. The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon hit with a degree of fanfare due to the novel nature and the fact that they stood different enough from the originals. Then, we started to see such loving fan-cuts that would make Gus van Sant green with envy. Audiences turned out for the familiar and then left when the Uncanny Valley drug its ass across their carpet.

These same people took to the Internet to whine and cry, but were met with indifference. The Lion King while holding a degree of fanatical love for a certain generation has already been passed over by younger fans. Those kids are now onto whatever data Pixar is chugging and recycling into their mouths like baby birds. After all, who wants to sell their kids on seeing a redo of a 25 year old animated film? Hell, I can’t even get little kids to watch Simba of the Pride Lands or whatever the Lion King show is called.

The Lion King 2019

Jon Favreau has his work cut out for him. But, what he ended up doing was quite different than his work on The Jungle Book. That earlier film of his had multiple iterations of the source material to draw upon. The Lion King is just the Lion King. The ubiquitous 1994 film that spawned Sega Genesis games, clamshell VHS releases and many a fast food toy. Hence, the focus became on how they were casting the voice actors as a predominantly African American ensemble with a smattering of friendly other talent.

The first rule of engaging a modern populace is appeasing checkboxes when you realize the content isn’t enough. From there, you spatter a healthy mix of Beyonce Award contenting moments and a chance for Seth Rogen to entertain the kids. I was never a Lion King fan as a kid, as I spent my time trying to work my underage self into seeing Legends of the Fall. Somebody had to be the middle school weirdo with a taste for World War I era family dramas.

If there ever was a film made by committee, then I nominate The Lion King 2019 for that honor. Still, I can’t hate that much because every inch of the film is gorgeous. Gorgeous but ultimately hollow. The A/V Quality is a healthy mix between that jaw-dropping DTS-HD 7.1 master audio mix and the perfect 1.78:1 formatted 1080p transfer. The special features are as follows:

The Lion King Blu-ray special features

  • The Journey to “The Lion King”
    • The Music – Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.
    • The Magic – Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.
    • The Timeless Tale – Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.
  • More to Be Scene – Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”
    • “Circle of Life” – Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film
    • “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” – See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie
    • “Hakuna Matata” – Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.
  • Music Videos
    • “Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John
    • “Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
  • Filmmaker Introduction
  • Audio Commentary – By Director Jon Favreau.
  • Song Selection
    • “Circle of Life”
    • “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”
    • “Be Prepared”
    • “Hakuna Matata”
    • “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
    • “Spirit”
    • “Never Too Late”
  • Protect the Pride –Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.

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Disney live-action remakes

The Lion King hits shelves on October 22nd

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