Lion King Special Edition DVD

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  • Chris D
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Dec 2000
    • 16877

    Lion King Special Edition DVD

    Just got this one in the mail today from Buy.com. (I think it's released tomorrow) A review:

    Let's cut to the chase: Overall rating, :5: This is one of the better loved Disney movies with a solid, engaging plot and a wonderful soundtrack. This DVD does the movie justice and is a great addition to any collection. THX certified for the discriminating buyer. Details? Read on:

    Picture: :4: for picture quality, :45: for the digital transfer. Remember, this movie was made just before the digital age in 1994. The picture lacks some of the crisp, sharp, objects and vivid colors of some of the latest reference children's animated or CGI movies, such as A Bug's Life or the Toy Stories. But given what the movie was released with, Disney has made a very nice restoration and digital transfer to DVD. Some of the colors do stand out, and overall the picture is clean. Very good. Strangely enough, the DVD is listed as presenting the original movie aspect ratio of 1.66/1, enhanced for 16:9 televisions, but on my 16:9 screen, there were thin black bars on the SIDES of the picture. The bars were much thinner than those for a 4:3 image, suggesting that the movie is actually an aspect ratio somewhere inbetween 16:9 and 4:3, which doesn't really exist. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else sees this also.

    Sound: :4: for the movie sound, and again :45: for the digital transfer. My comments are very similar to the picture, in that the movie does lack some of the crystal clear creation of the same movies of A Bugs Life and the Toy Stories. But sound effects and background music are well placed and appropriate for the visuals. Interestingly enough, Disney is debuting a "new" sound mixing process in creating an available soundtrack, called "5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix". This is available in ADDITION to a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. The new soundtrack is supposed to be optimized in levels and mix for home theater use, as opposed to movie theater release. Flipping back and forth using my DVD audio button between the two 5.1 tracks, I found the new "Disney Enhanced" soundtrack to be much fuller and enveloping, and the standard 5.1 seemed thin in comparison. However, you can fix a 5.1 soundtrack any way you want, so I wonder if Disney specifically created the "standard" 5.1 sountrack to be a little weak, thin, and at a slightly lower output level to make their "enhanced" soundtrack appear better by comparison.

    Story: :5: Very compelling and engaging story. It draws from the guaranteed-to-appeal topics of family ties, the death of a parent, and of course, the tried-and-true idea of laughable sidekick characters. But the movie doesn't attack any of the plot ideas in a trite or cliche manner, (yes, this is BEFORE the Pocahontas blunder) and the resulting plot line is very good and emotionally appealing.

    Music: :5: , :5: , :5: ...what else could be said. This is one of the Disney music greats. The odd collaboration of Sir Elton John, a musical genius and flamboyant entertainer, with lyricist Tim Rice, set over the undercurrent African chanting themes of Lebo M (sp) and the wonderful soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer for some reason works, and works FABULOUSLY. Who would have thought? This team won 3 Grammys for the songs from this movie, producing not only a very good movie soundtrack album, but a second album of very solid songs "inspired" by the movie. The opening scene jumps right into song with Zulu warrior singer/chanters laying down a smooth African-sounding background as the sun rises over the African pridelands, then adds (not transitions) the Elton John and Tim Rice song of "Circle of Life" right on top, fitting perfectly. Disney spent their time remastering this opening sequence, and it shows. The visuals are beautiful, and the multichannel sound mix of the song and sound effects is the perfect opening for the movie. Other spots in the movie also had obvious attention paid to them with good sound mixing, but the opening scene takes the cake.

    DVD Features and Extras: :3: Okay, this one is very subjective. Disney is widely touting that the DVD release includes "an all-new song", called "Morning Report". It comes in as the first song of the movie after the opening title, as Mufasa (Ooooooh, say it again...) shows Simba his future kingdom he will rule. I found the song to be fairly weak, throwing off the feel and excitement of the movie, especially right at the beginning. Disney was right to cut this one out, along with the other "added" scenes to the movie. Thankfully, you can choose to watch either the original theatrical release, or the new "special edition". I recommend the former. The DVD extras, while nice, didn't seem to add all that much to the disc. There are several games for kids, if they like that sort of thing, which weren't of any appeal to me personally. And the 2nd disc has a strange grouping of special features by geographical region that I couldn't quite understand. The additional features I found most appealing were the discussions about the music creation. To be fair, I didn't watch each and every feature, (yet) just watching the first few items of each category.

    Again, I highly recommend this disc. As they say, Hakuna Matata...




    CHRIS
    Luke: "Hey, I'm not such a bad pilot myself, you know"
    CHRIS

    Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
    - Pleasantville
  • David Meek
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 8938

    #2
    Good review Cap'n! :T I'm still on the fence with this one, but you pushed me a bit closer to the edge. . . .




    David - HTGuide flunky
    Our "Theater"
    Our DVDs on DVD Tracker

    .

    David - Trigger-happy HTGuide Admin

    Comment

    • Gordon Moore
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Feb 2002
      • 3188

      #3
      yes, this is BEFORE the Pocahontas blunder
      I don't get it???????

      The movie was a blunder, or something else?




      "A RONSTER!"
      Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.

      Comment

      • Andrew Pratt
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 16507

        #4
        I'm picking this up on my way home tonight and it'll be the feature of the evening. I've waited for this movie to come out since the day I first bought by DVD player as its by far my favorite Disney movie ;h




        Comment

        • Brandon B
          Super Senior Member
          • Jun 2001
          • 2193

          #5
          Originally posted by Chris Dotur
          Strangely enough, the DVD is listed as presenting the original movie aspect ratio of 1.66/1, enhanced for 16:9 televisions, but on my 16:9 screen, there were thin black bars on the SIDES of the picture. The bars were much thinner than those for a 4:3 image, suggesting that the movie is actually an aspect ratio somewhere inbetween 16:9 and 4:3, which doesn't really exist. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else sees this also.
          Many aspect ratios exist in this range. I see this on nearly all Disney's animated movies, which are mostly 1.66:1. The black bars are supposed to be there. 16:9 is ~1.78:1, so a 1.66:1 film will NOT fill your screen side to side, and will leave black bars. When you don't see them, it means your DVD deck or TV has zoomed the picture slightly to fill the screen.

          I did not see these black bars until I got my D1 DVI player, as my old pioneer deck or my projector was scaling the analog signal to fill the screen side to side. Doesn't happen now.

          Go back and check if other 1.66:1 titles are doing the same thing (Lilo&Stitch, Mulan, pretty much any of Disney's "A" list animated movies).

          BB

          Comment

          • Brandon B
            Super Senior Member
            • Jun 2001
            • 2193

            #6
            Originally posted by Chris Dotur
            Sound: . . .
            Disney is debuting a "new" sound mixing process in creating an available soundtrack, called "5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix". This is available in ADDITION to a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. The new soundtrack is supposed to be optimized in levels and mix for home theater use, as opposed to movie theater release. Flipping back and forth using my DVD audio button between the two 5.1 tracks, I found the new "Disney Enhanced" soundtrack to be much fuller and enveloping, and the standard 5.1 seemed thin in comparison. However, you can fix a 5.1 soundtrack any way you want, so I wonder if Disney specifically created the "standard" 5.1 sountrack to be a little weak, thin, and at a slightly lower output level to make their "enhanced" soundtrack appear better by comparison.
            Nope. My friend at the studio has talked to the guy doing some of these mixes. He (the mixing engineer) has a very nice high end HT setup at home himself, which he used to evaluate it in progress. The regular mix is just a standard mix, not degraded in any way. They are putting a lot of time and effort into these "enhanced" mixes to boost the "DisneyDVD" brand quality. Good to hear you actually appreciate the difference. I am picking my copy up today at lunch, and will be watching it tomorrow or Thursday night. I'll chime in with my impressions.

            BB

            Comment

            • Andrew Pratt
              Moderator Emeritus
              • Aug 2000
              • 16507

              #7
              Brandon what are the chances that you could get some of your Dinsy friends to answer some quesitons for us or at the very least provide us some information on what exactly they're doing to the sound mixes or video transfers etc. I'm sure a lot of us here would be very interested in learning more from the guys actually doing the work.




              Comment

              • Gordon Moore
                Moderator Emeritus
                • Feb 2002
                • 3188

                #8
                Originally posted by Chris Dotur
                so I wonder if Disney specifically created the "standard" 5.1 sountrack to be a little weak, thin, and at a slightly lower output level to make their "enhanced" soundtrack appear better by comparison
                Originally posted by Brandon fired back and
                The regular mix is just a standard mix, not degraded in any way.
                ....And another conspiracy theory dies a quick and painless death




                "A RONSTER!"
                Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.

                Comment

                • Danbry39
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Sep 2002
                  • 1584

                  #9
                  Great review. Wife is gonna pick it up today. Ebert and Roper raved about the total package and said it was among the finest. It'll sit on the shelf for awhile while I catch up on my life, but will give me something to look forward to.




                  Keith
                  Keith

                  Comment

                  • SpOoNmAn
                    Senior Member
                    • Sep 2003
                    • 518

                    #10
                    Picked up mine this afternoon. And to think it's been 9 years since it debuted! It feels like yesterday that I was going to the theatre to see this, but at the same time, the wait for the dvd feels like an eternity!

                    By far my favorite Disney movie, I feel as if my theatre is in someway more complete, now that this masterpiece has been added to my collection.

                    The Disney enhanced mix sounds unbelievable, it truly does. The picture on my Pioneer is unbelievable considering how old this movie is. They definitely did a lot of touch ups to get it to look this great.

                    And only $16.00 at Best Buy!? This is a no-brainer my friends. I think I'll go back and buy the special edition for $40.00 as well.

                    Go get it, you won't regret it!


                    -Aaron-




                    Life is short, Play it LOUD!

                    Theatre Photo Album (A work in Progress)
                    GameTracker -My List-
                    Life is short, Play it LOUD!

                    Comment

                    • Brandon B
                      Super Senior Member
                      • Jun 2001
                      • 2193

                      #11
                      Watchoo wanna know? I can certainly ask.

                      BB

                      Comment

                      • Andrew Pratt
                        Moderator Emeritus
                        • Aug 2000
                        • 16507

                        #12
                        I got to watch the first 10 minutes of the Lion King tonight when Kris Cofn dropped on by for a demo...its AWESOME. Run out and buy this ASAP if not sooner if you want to see a fantastic movie done right. The enhanced audio sound track really sound stunning and IMO Disney should be congratulated on this disc:T

                        Brandon I guess nearly everything about what goes into producing a DVD, what's so special about this enhanced mix, will this be now become standard for all Disney releases?




                        Comment

                        • Dr C
                          Member
                          • Feb 2003
                          • 86

                          #13
                          Just a note of caution regarding the aspect ratio where black bars are displayed at the side of 16:9 screens (like in this case) - owners of plasmas etc should try to zoom them out to avoid getting "burn-in". Some sets get over this problem by displaying the black areas as grey. Just my $0.02 ...

                          Dr C

                          Comment

                          • Chris D
                            Moderator Emeritus
                            • Dec 2000
                            • 16877

                            #14
                            Whoops, Brandon, you're absolutely right about the aspect ratio. I was doing my math wrong, dividing 16 by 9 and coming up with 1.66, not 1.77. You're right that 1.66 is just slightly less than 16:9.

                            I appreciate having you around on the forum to give some inside insight into Disney stuff!




                            CHRIS
                            Luke: "Hey, I'm not such a bad pilot myself, you know"
                            CHRIS

                            Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
                            - Pleasantville

                            Comment

                            • Dean McManis
                              Moderator Emeritus
                              • May 2003
                              • 762

                              #15
                              Great review Chris!

                              I used to always notice the side bars of the 1.66:1 format on Tarzan.
                              On most tube TVs and RPTVs there is a fair amount of overscan, so that sometimes the small sidebars are cropped off, but with a front projector you see them.

                              Mulan was actually released in 1.85:1 widescreen format, but unfortunately not 16:9 enhanced. ops: :cry:

                              I still have my laserdisc of Lion King, that I bought with Little Mermaid, and Lady and the Tramp back when it still looked like Disney was going to back DiVX and not DVD. It was only a few months after I bought those LDs that the DVD of Lady & the Tramp was released on DVD. ops:

                              But now it has been several years since then when the Lion King is finally coming out on DVD. I've only watched it a couple times on LD, but at $17 (and with this great quality review) I'll probably pick it up.

                              I'm still waiting for Aladdin on DVD (I have it on LD).

                              -Dean.

                              Comment

                              • Brandon B
                                Super Senior Member
                                • Jun 2001
                                • 2193

                                #16
                                Watched this last night. Pretty much concur with Chris. The transfer was great. A lot of Disney's recent releases have evidence of EE, this had NONE. Color was beautiful. I ahve not watched Sleeping Beauty yet, but barring that, this is the nicest Disney DVD I have seen to date.

                                The sound on the "enhanced" track was also top notch. Haven't passed on question to my firned yet, but given the wording on the menu screen, where it specifies you must have a 5.1 discrete setup to use that option, sounds like it forgoes compatibility with down mixing and such to enhance envelopement.

                                Dynamics on the soundtrack were great.

                                BB

                                Comment

                                • Trevor Schell
                                  Moderator Emeritus
                                  • Aug 2000
                                  • 10935

                                  #17
                                  Great review Chris!!! :T

                                  We picked up the Box Set and must say it is a beautiful package.
                                  Were saving this one for Thanksgiving to watch with the kids (tonight).
                                  Sounds like it has the same punch as the LD, if so this will sound incredible!! :yesnod:




                                  Trevor
                                  My HomeTheater S.E.
                                  Sonically Enhanced
                                  C5
                                  Trevor



                                  XBOX 360 CARD

                                  Comment

                                  • Andrew Pratt
                                    Moderator Emeritus
                                    • Aug 2000
                                    • 16507

                                    #18
                                    Trevor there was a review where the reviewer compared the LD to the Enhanced sound track and he said there was no comparison the DVD was significantly better:T




                                    Comment

                                    • Trevor Schell
                                      Moderator Emeritus
                                      • Aug 2000
                                      • 10935

                                      #19
                                      Sonic , Sonic and Sonic!! describes the sound track!!:yesnod:
                                      Superb DVD in everyway!!!
                                      :5:




                                      Trevor
                                      My HomeTheater S.E.
                                      Sonically Enhanced
                                      C5
                                      Trevor



                                      XBOX 360 CARD

                                      Comment

                                      • Brandon B
                                        Super Senior Member
                                        • Jun 2001
                                        • 2193

                                        #20
                                        My friend is asking the engineer.

                                        I am Tokyo for a couple of months, so the answers will be some weeks off.

                                        BB

                                        Comment

                                        • Adz
                                          Senior Member
                                          • Jan 2004
                                          • 549

                                          #21
                                          Dusted this one off the old DVD Library shelf thanks to my daughter this morning and watched the Disney Enhanced HT Mix 5.1 Soundtrack - first time in over a year. It's obvious we haven't come very far in two years since this reference mix came out and forgot just how good this surround soundtrack really is. Why can't Disney license its SQ technology to other studios? Put this one on the "Top 5 Surround" thread for sure.
                                          Adz

                                          Comment

                                          • aud19
                                            Twin Moderator Emeritus
                                            • Aug 2003
                                            • 16706

                                            #22
                                            The Lion King enhanced soundtrack is awesome!! :T ...but then Disney pooched it with the D.E. HT Mix for Aladin. One of the worst mixes I've heard!
                                            Jason

                                            Comment

                                            • Shane Martin
                                              Super Senior Member
                                              • Apr 2001
                                              • 2852

                                              #23
                                              but then Disney pooched it with the D.E. HT Mix for Aladin. One of the worst mixes I've heard!
                                              The Aladdin disc was pretty good I thought. The one for Mary Poppins was the one you should avoid. I went back to mono on that.

                                              Comment

                                              • Nick M
                                                Ultra Senior Member
                                                • Nov 2004
                                                • 5959

                                                #24
                                                I loved the mix for The Lion King and Aladdin... two of my favorite Disney films.
                                                ~Nick

                                                Comment

                                                • Brandon B
                                                  Super Senior Member
                                                  • Jun 2001
                                                  • 2193

                                                  #25
                                                  Originally posted by Adz
                                                  Why can't Disney license its SQ technology to other studios?
                                                  No extra technology that I am aware of, just dedication by a sound engineer to do a really good mix. He took it home to his own high end HT and listened to it repeatedly to tweak it.

                                                  BB

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