Well, that was pretty quick. Just weeks after unleashing their 17th anniversary upgraded version into theaters, Disney opens the vault once again for the expanded Blu-ray release of The Lion King 3D: Diamond Edition. And the timing couldn’t have been better, as the 3D version once again reigned at the box-office, letting an entire generation who previously could only see one of Disney’s best and most exciting animated features at home experience it like never before. Yes, its a cash-grab, but a spectacular cash-grab filled with bright colors, incredible music by Elton John, and some of the most intense and mature storytelling the Mouse House has ever produced. The Blu-ray release is a visually stunning 3D treat that’s bound to captivate fans and a new generation of families alike.
I remember like it was only yesterday when it was 1994, and The Lion King was the first Disney movie I ever anticipated seeing at theaters. It brings back a lot of fond memories for both the film and the times back then. Now it’s back and better than ever on its first Blu-ray release, while also being presented in 3D. For those new to the classic, it follows the tale of Simba, a young lion cub that will one day be king of the pride lands. But his evil uncle Scar has other plans, as he wants the throne for himself. After taking out Simba’s father Mufasa and making it look like it was the young cub’s fault, Scar takes over as Simba runs away. Some time later, and with the help of some friends, Simba learns that he has a responsibility to be king and sets out to stop Scar.
Disney has done a spectacular job with the transfer of the film to Blu-ray, as it simply has never looked better than it does here. Colors are vibrant, the picture is crisp and detailed. This set things up perfectly for watching it in 3D, as the film really seems to jump out at you – if you’ve got the equipment to display it properly. From key scenes such as the infamous wildebeest stampede, to the dazzling musical numbers throughout the film, the effect is really well done for it to be added all this time later. The sound is as equally exciting, as the 7.1 DTS-HD audio allows every word, the amazing soundtrack, and sound effect to roar in loud and clear.
There’s plenty of HD special features to pounce on when you’re done with the film, such as the classic documentary “Pride of The Lion King” that features former Disney Chairman Jeff Katzenberg, film composer Hans Zimmer, producer Don Hahn, and co-directors Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff talking about their work on the movie while also going behind the scenes of it. “The Lion King: A Memoir” follows Don Hahn’s thoughts on the film’s development, production and it’s lasting impact, while five never before seen deleted scenes provide some more depth in the movie.
There’s also an all-new gag reel created just for this release, which seems to be new animation placed over some funny and some just plain weird outtake audio clips. Viewers can also access many more cool features such as an interactive art gallery that shows off concept art, and also go into the Disney Virtual Vault for even more features.
The Lion King 3D: Diamond Edition takes one of Disney’s greatest films to another level in this amazing Blu-ray release. With a beautiful story, an amazing soundtrack, and an incredible transfer to high-definition 3D, Disney has really given their masterpiece the love and attention it deserves. Besides the film itself, its really the spectacular collection of special features that grabs the lions share of excitement here, with hours of bonus content and high-definition extras that should give fans even more reasons to keep this set in regular rotation. Those who have been waiting since 2003 to grab The Lion King can finally have the ultimate edition of the film, while those new to the pride can finally see why this movie just couldn’t wait to be king.