Review: Disney bestows Signature status on 'The Lion King'

Posted August 29,2017 - 04:49 PM

You have to give it to Disney, they sure know how to create an industry of making money on the same film over and over again. Whether it is their infamous vault that seemingly gobbles up its films for years at a time to drive demand as supply drives up or their ability to pull new content from their seemingly bottomless reservoir of bonus features, one thing is certain.

Each version they release is the best yet and we will certainly buy it.

This time, it's the classic film The Lion King and it's one that holds a special spot in my heart. There's just something about that film that resonates with me despite the fact that its release year with my high school graduation year. Becoming just the fifth film to join the exclusive Signature Series, The Lion King earns its place in this hallowed ground with the definitive version that has ever been released.

There is actually some solid reasoning behind Disney's vault system of releasing their animated classics. They know that every seven years or so, a new crop of children will be born and these new parents will want to share the films they grew up on with their own kids. It worked on me.

As the father of a five and four-year-old, I am making my way through the vault releases and you better believe that I was going to get this version of The Lion King. My kids had seen The Lion King before, but for some reason, the only version of the film that I had owned previously was the DVD and despite sounding like a snob, there is a massive difference between the older DVD and this new Blu-ray version.

My kids have also been watching the new The Lion Guard series that continues the adventures from the film for a new generation, so they were more than willing to watch the film that started it all one more time. One thing that I find interesting is how the experience of watching the same film changes as your children get older.

For instance, my daughter is going through a massive karaoke phase and she can't get enough of singing along to her favorite songs. We all know the songs from The Lion King by heart, but the ability to sing along with the Blu-ray in a brand new sing-along version was a fun way to experience the classic film in a new way.

Also, since my son is now four, he was far more animated during the film and seemed to get some of the nuances that definitely flew over his head in previous viewings. While he's not quite old enough to sing along to the words on the screen, he's big into dancing currently so we were treated to a nice interpretative dance to go along with the film.

All in all, the film offers a plethora of new bonus features and a beautiful transfer that looks glorious on today's 4K TVs. Speaking of 4K, about the only negative thing that I can say about this release is the lack of a 4K UHD Blu-ray version. Disney has recently entered the market for this new format and it's only a matter of time before they start releasing their animated films in 4K UHD.

The Lion King Signature Series is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Again though, the DVD is sorely lacking in bonus features, so I would definitely buy the Blu-ray version to get the most bang for your buck.