The Lion King Blu-ray review

Nov 01, 2019- Permalink

The 2019 remake of The Lion King was perhaps the most contentious of Disney’s “live-action” remakes. I put live-action in quotes because unlike, say, Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast, the stars of The Lion King remake are photo-realistic computer-generated creations. Besides that one technical point, for many fans the animated version is a Disney classic and for them it’s almost sacrilege to redo it. For others, the technical merits of the work by director Jon Favreau and his team are worth taking a look at this edition. You can decide which side of the fence you’re on as Disney has released it for your home library. I had the opportunity to review the Blu-ray edition. A 4K version is also available.

The AVC encoded 1080p transfer is in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It’s a pretty breathtaking visual presentation. The clarity is great and the photo-realistic animals exhibit an amazing amount of detail down to their fur and whiskers. That detail also includes the African landscape and its environmental surfaces. The colour palette reflects the earthy tones of the flora and fauna. The black levels are good and there’s only the occasional amount of digital noise and encoding artifacts.

On the audio side, you’re given the choice of an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack, a 2.0 Descriptive Audio track, and French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French and Spanish. Those in search of a Dolby Atmos track will need to get the 4K disc. Like many recent Disney releases, this presentation needs to be increased a bit over reference volume levels to get the full range. The soundscape is great, placing you in the movie’s environment via the surround speakers. As a musical, it’s important to have a dynamic and clear presentation and the songs here sound great. Low end frequencies could use a little more oomph, especially in the stampede scene. Dialogue is clear and centered.

Moving onto the extras, the package comes with a DVD copy and a Movies Anywhere digital code. We get an intro from Jon Favreau as well as his commentary on the film. The movie can also be played in a sing-along mode with on-screen lyrics. There are looks at the music, technical wizardry and legacy of the film. Other featurettes include a look at scene construction, the music videos, and a PSA on helping to protect African lions.

With an excellent video presentation, a solid audio package, and a good selection of extras, those wanting a complete Disney library and those who want to marvel at the photo-realistic effects will want to add The Lion King to their library.