Saturday, October 15, 2011
The Lion King on Blu-ray
First off, it's The Lion King and it's awesome. Alright, now the bits specific to the new release.
There is, of course, an audio commentary featuring a handful of the crew that worked on the movie who do a good job of being both entertaining and informative. There are several featurettes about the movie's production that make for some interesting watches though they do tend to overlap and tread a lot of the same ground as each other.
A little odd that Jonathan Taylor Thomas only appears in one of these features and even then only in a single shot of footage from 1994.
Still, there are lots of tales to be heard that will keep anybody interested in animation and/or film production, well, interested.
My personal favourite feature is the concept art gallery. The gallery is pretty enormous when compared with similar features on other blu-rays and even conveniently separated into sub-categories.
There are deleted scenes as well of course. A little different from last year's Diamond Edition of Beauty and the Beast, this package doesn't include the option of watching the 'Special Edition' of the movie; the only complete run of the film viewable is the theatrical release. 'Morning Report' is included in the Deleted Scenes features though.
Also included is a newly animated 'Bloopers' feature; one of those deals where the characters are portrayed as actors and we see synthetic 'mistakes' on the 'set'; similar to how Pixar has ended a handful of its movies. For the most part, they aren't all that entertaining.
The only feature I haven't been able to try is the 'Second Screen' mode since I do not own an iPad. All it seems to be is an option to wirelessly stream the movie to an iPad.
Now for the bad; something I noticed when I saw the 3D version in theaters but neglected to mention earlier and is still a present flaw on the blu-ray. During the sequence of Mufasa's spirit appearing to Simba, near the end, there's a shot that starts as a close-up of Simba and pulls out to a very long-shot where we see the clouds retreating in the sky. On the 3D version I saw last month and on this blu-ray, the animation layer with the cloud in this shot is totally absent. This is a pretty glaring flaw and a rather confusing one as well. While I haven't viewed the DVD included myself, I did find a comparison of the scenes on avsforum.com where somebody pointed out that the cloud is still there on the DVD.
So this mistake is exclusive to the hi-def version of the film which is very strange.
Outside of this one glaring flaw, it is a great package and has all the features you could really want with a single movie. Had the transfer not missed such a huge element of one of the shots, this would have been a pretty much flawless release.