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The Lion King (2019) - 4K Blu-ray Review

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The Lion King (2019)

Although this isn’t the first of Disney’s attempts to redo their animated back catalogue, I think it had the hardest job. The mastery of motion capture technology and the sophistication that computer generated animation has reached allows them to deliver something spectacular every time they come out of the gate. But is the ability to elevate visuals all that’s necessary? 1994’s The Lion King, in this reviewer’s opinion, is the apex of traditional animation. It is perfect in every way: story, performances, art, pacing, timing, and accessibility. There are few films in history that are viewed as untouchable. This maybe should have been one of them.

"his flawless animation fails to emotionally connect you the way the 2D traditional animated did "


Jon Favreau has proven to be a masterful storyteller, so if anyone had a shot at making this work it was him. From Swingers to Iron Man to Chef to The Jungle Book, he has proven to be a chameleon of storytelling that can tackle any tale, big or small.

His version, for all intents and purposes, follows the story of Simba, from his birth to his ascension to ruler of Pride Rock. Simba is lied to by his wicked uncle Scar into thinking he killed his father, and is tricked into running away, leaving Scar to rule in father’s stead. Things become dire for all the animal kingdom, and when an old loved one finds a grown up Simba, happily living far away, she tells him what has befallen his people. Simba is forced to face his true self and decided what or who he wants to be.

Favreau assembled a predominately new cast to bring the iconic characters alive, with the exception of James Earl Jones who IS MUFASA. It is also Jones that highlights why this cast cannot possibly live up to the original voices. They all do a serviceable job, even bring some of their own inflections and personalities to these characters; but there was an unrepeatable magic to the original cast, the writing and the choices made that are so perfectly rare one could assemble 1000 remakes and never hit that high again. Having the original Mufasa for me hammered home my perception of this every time he shared the screen with the new cast.The Lion King (2019)

Let’s get to the tech. I don’t want to take anything away from the jaw dropping effects in every frame of this movie. All the iconic set pieces are rendered beautifully and realistically to the point that you forget it’s all manmade. I feel like a spoiled brat for mentioning this, but this flawless animation fails to emotionally connect you the way the 2D traditional animated did for one reason. Anthropomorphizing lions in this vastly realistic style removes any of the stylized expressions so effective in the original film. The lions just aren’t pushed to that relatable level of facial expression that, admittedly, isn’t possible in this version’s aesthetic.

The Lion King (1994) was lightning in a bottle. The Lion King (2019) is a technological masterpiece that cements for me that the original cannot be beaten. It’s made a butt-ton of cash but to this reviewer will always be a shinier but lesser version.

3/5 stars

The Lion King (2019)

4K UHD

4K UHD Details:

Home Video Distributor: Disney / Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray
- October 22, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; German: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Italian: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K Blu-ray: Region free playback; 2K Blu-ray: Region A

VIDEO:

This film was shot digitally at almost 7K resolution apparently. The film, a combination of photographic elements and digital animation, was rendered at 2K (as is all special effects heavy productions at this juncture. When you see 4K up-scaled don’t be discouraged. This picture is immaculate. And I mean as mind blowing as you can imagine. Every piece of fur, reflection in an eye, and depth of perception, color, and contrast you could gauge against this will lose hard. It’s immaculate. HDR gives it that extra pop, more so for the environments that the lions, but the heightened contrast in the black and highlight ends of the spectrum make the completely animated world leap off your display.

AUDIO:

This is an immersive, layered and thrilling ATMOS 7.1 mix. Surrounds handle the subtleties of environments as well as the heavy action sequences with equal mastery. Dialogue is clean and environment specific, depending on the scene. The stampede scene will frightened the neighbor’s dogs or make the local conspiracy nut fear invasion. The waterfall scene roars around the room and the flames of the finale sound like they’re going to burn you. I may think the film ain’t a patch on the original but it wasn’t hard to sit through a mix like this.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • • Audio Commentary with Director Jon Favreau.

Special Features:

There are no special features on the 4K disc. But, as with all this multipacks, you do get features at HD level on the included blu-ray, along with a digital copy. You get pretty weak and mostly short tid bits about the production that really aren’t worth your time. Also a commentary from Favreau, a sing-a-long turn on feature if you wanna jam with the lions karaoke style, and two music videos. Meh.

• Perfecting the Pride

• The Journey to "The Lion King" –

  • The Music
  • The Magic.
  • The Timeless Tale.

• More to Be Scene – Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in "The Lion King."

  • "Circle of Life
  • "I Just Can't Wait to Be King"
  • "Hakuna Matata"

• Music Videos

  • "Never Too Late"
  • "Spirit"

• Filmmaker Introduction

• 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"

• Digital Exclusive - Pride Lands Pedia

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

The Lion King (2019)

MPAA Rating: PG for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements.
Runtime:
118 mins
Director
: Jon Favreau
Writer: Jeff Nathanson
Cast:
Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen
Genre
: Family | Fantasy | Animation
Tagline:
The King Has Returned.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Look at the stars, the great kings look down on us from those stars... And so will I."
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studios
Official Site: https://movies.disney.com/the-lion-king-2019
Release Date:
July 19, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

The Lion King (2019)

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