Not an ideal choice for younger kids, this hip and violent animated feature from Disney was nevertheless a huge smash in theaters and on video, and it continues to enjoy life in an acclaimed Broadway production. The story finds a lion cub, son of a king, sent into exile after his father is sabotaged by a rivalrous uncle. The little hero finds his way into the “circle of life” with some new friends and eventually comes back to reclaim his proper place. Characters are very strong, vocal performances by the likes of Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, and Whoopi Goldberg are terrific, the jokes are aimed as much (if not more) at adults than kids, the animation is sometimes breathtaking, and the music is more palatable than in many Disney features. But be cautious: this is too intense for the Rugrat crowd.

Studio: Disney
Year: 1994
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Run time: 89 minutes
Rating: G

Audio: DTS HD MA lossless 7.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.78
Disc Spec: 1 BD / 1 DVD
Region: A

In the beginning of this movie, we see Simba being presented by Rafiki to the rest of the kingdom. After a while, he gets older and starts to play with Nala. They are very mischievous together. Mufasa tells Simba about the kingdom that will be Simba’s soon. In the middle, Scar tricks Simba into waiting in a gorge for Mufasa. Scar has a goal to take over the kingdom, he will do everything that he can to get Simba out of the way. Scar has a plan to have Simba wait in the gorge and his hyena assistants will scare the Wildebeest, causing them to stampede. Mufasa runs to Simba’s aid but is then thrown back into the stampede by Scar. Quickly, Scar goes to Simba and tells him to run away and never come back. While Simba runs, Scar tells the hyenas to kill him.

Simba outruns them but collapses from exhaustion. He is found by Timon and Pumbaa who nurse him back to health. He grows up with them while repressing the memory of his father and his past life. One day, Nala goes searching for help because Scar has declared himself king, depleted the food supply of the Pride Lands, caused the animals to leave and the land to become barren. Also, the lionesses are unhappy, hyenas are running around everywhere, and everyone is hungry. Nala tries do persuade Simba to come back with her but he refuses. He also still believes what Scar told him–he is responsible for the death of his father. They both storm off in anger. Rafiki finds Simba and shows him his father, who tells him “Remember who you are.” Mufasa reminds Simba of his responsibilities, and tells him to go back and take his place as the one true king. In the end, Simba takes his father’s advice and returns to the Pride Lands with Nala, Timon and Pumbaa. He immediately confronts Scar about what he has done to the kingdom. After a bit of fighting, Scar reveals that he killed Mufasa, not Simba. Scar gets thrown off of a cliff and then attacked by hyenas because he betrayed them. Simba becomes the one true king, with Nala as his queen. The beauty of the Pride Lands is restored and Rafiki presents Simba and Nala’s new born cub.

I think the theme of this movie is to remember who you are. After the mournful death of his father, Simba believes that it is his fault and represses the memory of what happened and who he is. He makes new friends, Timon and Pumbaa and begins to act much differently than he did before. While the Pride Lands were losing all that made them beautiful, he was out in the jungle with his friends, completely disregarding his responsibilities. His father appears in the clouds and reminds Simba of who he is and what his responsibilities as the one true king are. Repeatedly, his father tells him “remember who you are.” Simba remembers what his father wanted him to remember and because of this, he sprints to the Pride Lands. One must not forget who they are and what responsibilities they have.
Movie Quality: 9.5/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. ‘The Lion King’ is a perfect restoration to Blu-ray that really shines new light to this classic that is less than 20 years old. ‘The Lion King’ is one of the most colorful palette’s in recent animated history and it really shows here in high definition. The images sparkle with a crystal clear image almost too perfect. The rich color, deep dark blacks and detail in the images are truly astonishing. There are no issues with the print at all and a lot has been cleaned up. This is how good animated features should look on Blu-ray.
Print Quality: 10/10

The audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA l0ssless 7.1 mix. The sound is rather impressive in ‘The Lion King’ and this I wasn’t even expecting going in. It takes advantage of the soundfield with the rears getting excellent sound effects and the soundtrack peers into the soundfield. Dialogue is well placed through the center channel with voices being so ever clear. I felt like I was immersed the entire time throughout the film.
Print Quality: 10/10

Special Features

  • 4 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
  • Deleted Song
  • The Morning Report: Extended scene
  • Never-Before-Seen Bloopers
  • Disney Second Screen
  • Pride of The Lion King
  • The Lion King: A Memoir- Don Hahn; Disney Sing Along Mode
  • Interactive Gallery
  • Audio Commentary
  • Disney’s Virtual Vault: Classic DVD Features Powered by BD-Live

Special Features: 8/10

Final Thoughts

Anybody who loved this movie years ago when it was released, should definitely buy it on blu-ray. The colors are much more vibrant and the audio is much better. This is by far one of Disney’s best movies, and it’s even better in high definition.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10