Ever since I laid eyes on the trailer for The Lion King during my teenage years in the 90’s, I just knew it I was going to love it and that it would become an instant classic. I’m so glad I was right and that it continues to be a milestone for films both animated and otherwise. Six years after releasing the film in 3D for both theaters and home viewing, Disney re-releases this stunning film again for new and older generations to enjoy with The Lion King: The Circle of Life Edition Blu-ray. With perfect visuals, animation, a soundtrack that’s still a classic, and of course an awesome cast, this king still holds the crown of Disney’s animated films.
Seeing that most people have either heard of this movie or seen it, I won’t bother going into the details here, though you can check out the link in the previous paragraph for some plot details. With that, I’ll just jump right into my thoughts on this release, and as you can tell from earlier, I still love the film very much. It’s one of those movies that no matter how many times I see it, it always feels like I’m watching it for the first time. It’s as close to a perfect family movie as it gets, and it never gets old after multiple viewings thanks to it hitting all the right things for a good time such as a stellar cast, soundtrack, and amazing visuals.
Speaking of which, the visuals and audio are spot on in high definition, as they’re still just as good if not slightly improved from the previous Blu-ray release. Whatever the case, this film looks beautiful and the animation is perfect. The audio is one of the biggest features of this film, as the cast and amazing music by Elton John and Hans Zimmer roar through your sound system with crystal clarity. There’s also a ton of special features to sort through, especially since they’ve included ones from the previous release as well as some new ones. From the old release, there’s audio commentary by co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff with producer Don Hahn, and some deleted and alternate scenes with introductions to boot.
But let’s dive into the new ones, starting with “Visualizing A Villain” that features a group of young people dancing and creating art and graffiti of Scar while he sings his infamous song “Be Prepared”, “The Recording Sessions” is one of my favorites that has the directors discussing the voice actors and how their performances and expressions were used to influences their characters. “Inside the Story Room” goes behind the scenes into how the filmmakers and animators captured the look and feel of Africa and the animals with storyboards, and “Nathan and Matthew: The Extended Lion King Conversation” is a really nice treat featuring producer Tom Schumacher with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick discussing the film and their time working on it. It was awesome seeing Lane and Broderick together again since doing “The Producers” on broadway, and you can tell they still have fond memories of working on the movie.
The Lion King: The Circle of Life Edition continues to breathe life into the movie world and anyone who watches it. Like any solid classic, it stills holds up and even tops some of the best film releases in the past two decades. Families most likely already have this and previous releases of it in their collection, but if you’re new or haven’t picked it up yet, you’ll do well to hunt down a copy. You won’t regret spending some time in this worry free jungle of fun.