The Lion King
The DVD actually features two versions of the Academy-Award–winning film, the original theatrical release and the re-mastered Special Edition that was released in theatres last year and contains an all new song—"The Morning Report" (a song that fits seamlessly into the story). Both films come across beautifully here, the images are pristine and the sound, even from a standard TV set, fills the room with perfectly mixed layers. One only has to watch the opening number (the best opening of any of Disney's animated films) to get the full effect and appreciation of this DVD transfer. In fact it's worth picking the DVD up for the opening alone.
The remaining information runs the gauntlet from interesting (deleted scenes) to too slim (the entire section on the transfer of the story to the stage feels lacking). The one constant across all of the features is a slickness that permeates the extras. While I'm all for things being done well, some of the pieces here run the risk of being over-produced; there's a look and attitudes that make some of the features feel less like behind the scenes secrets and more like glossy commercials. While the overall results are some highly polished, tightly told making-of stories, the detraction is that these features lack a certain amount of emotion. Where you can feel the passion and emotional undercurrent of Simba's story in each frame of The Lion King, the extras to support this story leave you feeling more "okay" than anything else.
What's Bad: It's too bad that the producers of these DVDs believe all of the hype. It would have been nice if there were at least one outside voice or skeptical eye among the group to help keep things on a more earthly plane.
DVD Extras: This two-disc set didn't meet a DVD extra that it didn't like. Included are some really sharp animated menus; games that play well but are a little hard to figure out; deleted scenes; audio commentary; music videos; a sing along option; behind the scenes features; features on the successful stage musical adaptation; a look at the musical influences of the movie and a host of other making-of features.