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5 out of 5
I was fourteen years old when The Lion King was released in 1994. I grew up on Disney - and have learned to love and respect each and every one of the animated theatrical releases in their own ways. But… The Lion King reigns supreme to most of the Disney catalog. I put it up there in my top five favorite animated features of all time. (Along with: Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Robin Hood)
I was more than excited when I found out that it was being released from the Disney vault – and finally releasing on Disney Blu-ray. The transfer to Blu-ray is impeccable – Disney has never let met down when it comes to Blu-ray transfers. Unfortunately I feel there could have been more special features than what they actually had. Maybe include a full taping of The Lion King Broadway musical (which they talked about quite a lot in the special features). Also included in the special features is a fake outtakes reel. Now, I’m a fan of outtakes, but not when they are fictitious and created after the fact. I believe the only time this actually worked was in Toy Story 2, but that may have been because it was included in the film at the end instead of re-created twenty-something years later.
The documentary in which they discussed the creation of The Lion King was truly amazing. I highly enjoyed seeing all of the original animators and directors in one room talking about their experiences with this epic movie. Andreas Deja has always been my favorite Disney animator, so the chance to see him talk about creating Scar was an inspiring moment.
The music featured in the film (created by Tim Rice and Elton John) are some of the most beautiful pieces ever seen in an animated feature. On a side note, you find in the documentary that they actually wanted ABBA to create the songs – which would have been disastrous.
The Lion King is without a doubt one of the most adult orientated Disney films since they released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, back when animated features were enjoyed by more adults than children. I’m not saying it’s not for children, but it has something for everyone… murder, deception, revenge – this is an Oscar worthy film in animation form. The fart jokes will keep your kids interested all while you soak in the marvelous storytelling.
The Bottom Line: Go out and buy this Blu-ray right now. Not only is it one of the best animated films of all time, but I would say that it is one of the best movies of all time. It’s great for children, and also has a lot of characteristics that even adults can enjoy.