PictureThe Lion King is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen and is THX certified. The print has been digitally enhanced and looks amazing! The print is flawless, there are no signs of pixilation or dot crawl and edge enhancement is none existent. Colours are vibrant and natural and look stunning, with blacks being crisp and solid. During the musical number “Just can't wait to be king” which is an abstract moment that contains stunning clarity and definition. There are also copious amounts of detail and the print is super sharp. Disney has excelled again.
The layer change is at 10m49s Chapter Three and is seamless.
SoundWe are given two soundtrack choices both in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbps). The original theatrical 5.1 version is present along with the newly remixed Disney Enhanced Theatre Mix. Comparing the two reveals some stunning differences with the enhanced version putting a huge grin on your face.
This new presentation was handled by Terry Porter, the film's original sound re-recording mixer who has done more than just fine tune the soundtrack for DVD use. Take the opening 4 minutes for example which is a musical number setting the scene for the movie. Played in the original mix this sounds very clean and clear with the vocals fixed to the centre channel and the accompanying chants and instruments spread over the three front channels. The Enhanced mix is just a totally different kettle of fish, right from the first chant you know it is something special with that voice chant surrounding you 360 degrees. The instruments also sound more detailed and pronounced with the main vocal hanging in front of the soundstage. There is a scene a few seconds later where the birds fly past a waterfall and in the theatrical version it sounds very good, but lacks any real weight. Switch over again and the LFE just kicks in with tremendous weight and depth. Then the elephants come towards the screen with flightless birds running in front of them. On the Theatrical mix the birds go off left and right, but I had always expected to hear them continue behind the listening position but this was never the case in the original version. So you won't be surprised when I tell you that we now have a complete three dimensional soundfield and the birds do in fact walk off behind you now, with the elephant footsteps being thunderous in the LFE department (unlike the original mix).
The Enhanced mix is just that, it is a complete reworking of the original version with sound effects now panning where they should and the entire soundtrack is hugely dynamic. This is a reference sound mix and is stunning! The R2 promises to present this mix in DTS, but this R1 Dolby Digital version is breath taking and I can't see how the DTS mix will improve what is nearly perfection. (we will find out at the end of the month though).
ExtrasThe supplements provided on this two disc set are daunting and it has taken me two sittings to get through most of them. Without going through everything in detail (you can see the full list in the disc specs, I will cover those of interest to DVD collectors and fans. This means that many of the features for kids (and they are numerous) wont be mentioned apart from me saying they will go down great with the kids. They are all interactive games and work well with the use of the remote.The real extras of interest are those featurettes covering everything from the concepts and origins to the musical numbers and a look at the stage show. There is also a feature length commentary from the Directors and producer which is hugely entertaining and very informative. The featurette run times are a good length at 5-8 minutes each and you have the option to play all at once. I found almost all the supplements very watchable and entertaining and if I had more space and time I would be here for a week discussing them in great detail. You will just have to get this set and immerse yourself in a brilliant package of this fascinating movie production.
VerdictThe movie is a classic for the entire family to enjoy and the picture and sound are stunning! The supplements will keep fans however old entertained for hours, this is highly recommended.
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