Following the trend of live-action adaptations, Disney brings life to one of its most popular original animated movies—The Lion King! Available on October 22, 2019, you can own Disney’s current CGI recreation of The Lion King with all of the amazing Blu-Ray edition bonus features to enjoy!
“I was provided with a free copy of Disney’s The Lion King Blu-ray that I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.”
The original animated version of Disney’s The Lion King was released back in 1994 and even though I grew up with old Disney movies, The Lion King was one movie I never watched in full. Of course, I was familiar with the general storyline and all of the iconic musical numbers, but the 2019 live-action adaptation of The Lion King was actually my first time watching the whole movie. Whether or not that was a wise idea is certainly debatable.
Disney’s 2019 remake of The Lion King was subject to some harsh criticism upon its announcement and eventual theatrical release. There were some critics that felt as though Disney’s decision to recreate The Lion King was just a pointless “cash grab” on the part of the House of Mouse, with Indiewire calling the movie a “glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate.” Another common critique of the movie was that the hyper-realistic design of the characters and setting rendered a once lively movie completely void of emotion and life.
Personally, I would have to agree with both common critiques. I do think this remake was a cash-grab, but I don’t necessarily think that’s inherently a bad thing. Movies are definitely made for profit. That’s not something new. But even though films are made to earn money, I think most of them are also created to make people happy. No doubt, there are people who hold The Lion King as their all-time favorite Disney movie, so being able to see it remade this year was probably something cool to see (for them). I know I would be ecstatic if Disney announced live-action versions of Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (they’re my personal favorites).
On the other hand, I also agree with the critique that the hyper-realistic design of the movie created some problems. Now, don’t get me wrong because The Lion King was beautiful! That much was noticeable just from watching the trailer. Within the first few seconds, I was literally sitting with my face practically pressed up to my television screen trying to figure out whether or not everything was CGI or legit photography of African landscape and animals. Everything looked so pretty and so real. I’m still shocked at how far technology has come in regards to film.
However, a lot of the movie’s life was sucked out due to how realistic everything looked. Since all of the characters are animals and are made to look exactly like real animals from the actual world around us, they were unable to act out in ways their cartoon counterparts could. This was especially horrendous during the musical numbers because none of the animals could dance, jump, spin around, or even sing properly. The music numbers basically looked like National Geographic footage with a Disney song playing in the background.
As somebody who never watched the original The Lion King, but did watch all of the sing-along music video segments, it was really disheartening to watch the “live-action” renditions of these same songs. My biggest issues were with the 2019 versions of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Be Prepared.” Also, considering the fact “Be Prepared” is my favorite song, you can imagine my disappointment regarding how it was handled in the live-action CGI version.
The cartoon version of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” incorporates a lot of vibrant neon colors and flashing lights, as well as a whole animal pyramid dance sequence, none of which were included in the realistic remake. As for Scar’s “Be Prepared” number, it was practically non-existent. No offense to the voice actor, but what was supposed to be a sassy and sinister musical number was reduced to Scar just casually talking (not singing) to a pack of hyenas for a few seconds before cutting to a different scene entirely.
All in all, I do think the 2019 version of The Lion King lost some of its magic due to the animation restraints. It’s somewhat puzzling because even though CG animation has advanced so much, Disney opted out of going for a more cartoonish design. Still, this movie was visually beautiful and nowhere near off-putting to watch (as some have claimed). If you’re a huge Disney fan, or you love The Lion King, I think this is a great title to have in your collection.
Blu-Ray Special Bonus Features:
- The Journey to The Lion King Documentary – Behind The Scenes Magic with the Filmmakers and Cast: This documentary is essentially divided into 3 different parts. It takes a look at different elements that went into creating the 2019 version of The Lion King, including footage of the voice actors physically acting out their lines with each other, musical recordings, as well as some of the digital work that went into the CGI animation. It is all interwoven with interview segments with cast and crew, as well as the film’s director, Jon Favreau. (53 minutes)
- More To Be Scene: This bonus feature is also divided into 3 individual selections for the musical numbers of “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” and “Hakuna Matata.” Each selection plays a spliced together music video of each song to show off the differences and similarities between the storyboard artwork, CGI renderings, and the final product. (Combined time is approximately 10 minutes)
- Music Videos: This includes Beyonce’s music video for “Spirit” and a lyric video for Elton John’s “Never Too Late”. (Combined time is 8 minutes)
- Song Selection: This feature allows you to watch sing-along versions of the different musical numbers from the movie. Just don’t expect bouncing Mickey ears to lead your singing along.
- Protect The Pride: It’s a short and simple video lead by Jon Favreau and others talking about Disney’s decision to team up with the Lion Recovery Fund to help protect lions in the wild. (This is 3 minutes long).
- Audio Commentary by Director Jon Favreau.
The DVD & Blu-ray editions of Disney’s 2019 The Lion King will be available for purchase on October 22, 2019 (more details here). Take note, it is currently available for streaming from online retailers.
Are you planning on buying The Lion King when it comes out? Let us know in the comments below!
Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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