The Lion King (2019) has arrived on home video in various formats including DVD, Blu-ray, 4K & Digital. The film is the 2019 retelling of the classic Disney Animated film from 1994. It faithfully follows the plot of the original and includes all your favorite characters, songs and scenes plus some new ones. This time around though using photo realistic animation shot using a virtual reality method. For a full review of the film here is Maggie’s review of the Lion King from the theatrical release.
This initial home video release includes a documentary on the creation of the film, a closer look at several scenes, music videos as well as options to play the film with commentary, sing-a-long mode or to jump straight to the songs. Plus a couple of music videos. For a full listing of the home video release specs and options here is the initial press release.
I was able to review the Blu-ray & Movies Anywhere version of the release. The centerpiece of the bonus materials is an over 50 minute documentary entitled: The Journey to the Lion King. It is shown in three parts – The Music, the Magic and The Timeless Tale. This documentary explores what it took to bring this film to the big screen. The Magic section spends about 20 minutes showing the innovative way this film was created. It is a fully computer generated film. All shots are 100% CG, except for one. This film was shot using virtual reality vs a fully computer camera system. What this means the cinematography has a feel to it of a live action film. To accomplish this they used the same tools you would for a traditional film, but loaded them up with sensors and shot within the virtual environment of the movie. If you are interested in learning more about the making of the film in a different medium you may want to check out the Art and Making of the Lion King Book, here is my review of the book.
More to Be Scene are a trio of features showcasing the Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Hakuna Matata. As the song plays they video moves between the final film, various stages of development including concept art, story boards, & virtual reality as well as recording sessions and more. I really enjoyed watching these and seeing the evolution and comparisons between research, concept and final film.
One aspect of the film’s creation that is not really explored in depth, it is mentioned and highlighted a little, is the research both to Africa as well as Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I would have liked to have seen a featurette or longer section of the documentary devoted to this topic.
This initial release of the Lion King on home video contains an informative and entertaining set of bonus features. If you enjoy making of documentaries you will find the bonus features on this offering worthwhile and a solid addition to your movie library.
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