Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Lion King on Blu-ray

I now own my favourite Disney musical in a hi-def package and thought I'd give a little rundown on the package.
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 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.

So that is rather troubling and I know it's going to be a deal-breaker for a lot of people which is unfortunate.
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.

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