Can I go on record as saying that I never saw The Lion King? Yes, I know is sacrilege, but there you have it. What can I say I’m a snob, at the time The Lion King came out; I was really into Anime but never liked traditional style American Animation. At the time I found it to be childish.
So watching the 3D Blu-ray version of TLC was an amazing, eye-opening experience. The 3D quality in full 1080p is stunning! If you watch this on a proper 3D setup and you don’t want to run out and buy a 3D TV, you have no soul.
Video, Audio and Presentation
I generally loathe the 3D gimmick especially post-converted 3D but the folks at Disney put a lot of love and care into this effort. You can see it in every detail of this Blu-ray transfer. The picture is gorgeous and the 3D really adds a lot of depth without taking away anything or making the characters look weirdly out of proportion.
I own both a 42-inch Vizio Passive set and a 55-inch Panasonic Viera Active 3D set. The 3D quality is clearly superior on the Panasonic than the Vizio but not by much. It’s just different; the active shutter gives the picture a deeper depth of field, while the passive 3D is a bit more at the surface level.
The DTS-HD audio transfer is beautiful everything sounds flawless, my only complaint is I wish there was more base in the audio mix, it sounds like there’s a bit too much treble.
Disney typically junks up the on screen navigation with crappy overly produced flash animation that makes it hard to find anything. Disney is starting to learn, their recent releases have all featured pretty clean menus.
This set includes every modern way to watch the movie: 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Disney File copy. I wish there was a way to somehow combine all these formats onto less disks like combining the DVD and Disney File version onto one and why can’t both Blu-ray versions come one disc?
The highlight reel here is Disney is rolling out its second screen app on a bunch of titles this holiday season. The Second Screen App is an innovative approach that allows you to use your computer or iPad for picture in picture features. It syncs the app to the movie so you can view all the extras like additional artwork, video clips etc, directly on your iPad.
The extremely cool thing about the app is you can set it to automatically play and sync with the movie or navigate on your own. I do love the idea and the forward thinking nature of this. I’ve always said you may not like Disney movies, but they really get the Blu-ray format and Disney is to be commended for trying to continue to push the medium with this. Universal Home Video is currently doing something similar with their Blu-rays as well.
I love the idea of this and the execution but the drawback is your attention is split between holding and viewing the iPad in your hand (or computer) and watching the movie on your television screen. In many respects you would probably be better off simply watching a Picture in Picture mode.
The other drawback is the App is movie specific, which means multiple versions of the app – for example Disney first introduced this with Tron: Legacy and now they have apps for The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
In addition to the 2nd screen and the movie in every possible current playback format, the Blu-ray includes the standard making of featurettes, image galleries, sneak peaks and deleted scenes.
I can’t believe it took me this long to sit down and watch this movie, I never liked the music, but now that there’s context everything has an entirely new meaning. I have to eat my words; I adored this movie, it’s a surprisingly dark, deep and more complex than I thought it would be. There’s a reason why everyone loves it and judging by it’s recent run at the box office has withstood the test of time.
It goes without saying that this is a must own Blu-ray, but it is also a showcase for quality 3D. It’s one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2011.
Final Grade A+
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