WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Lion King, The

Reviewed In Issue 16 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
The Voices Talents Of Rowan Atkinson, Matthew Broderick, Niketa Calame, Jim Cummings, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Guillaume, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Zoe Leader, Cheech Marin, Ernie Sabella, Madge Sinclair & Jonathan Taylor Thomas

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 5
Sound Rating: 5
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Critics' Composite Score:
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Billed as a Walt Disney Masterpiece title, The Lion King presentation is majestic in its scope of supplemental material housed in an attractive golden box jacket. The two platter CAV discs, in which the feature is spread over four sides and 27 chapter stops, is in a colorful gatefold jacket depicting various animation cells seen in the movie, while the separate two platter CAV supplementary section, comes in a gatefold jacket matched to the box jacket. Additionally, there is a portfolio containing six lithographs suitable for framing, depicting some of the film’s conceptual artwork. The supplemental section starts with The Making Of The Lion King documentary hosted by Robert Guillaume which presents an entertaining look at the creative process involved in the development of an animated feature, the characters and their voices and the scoring of the music, all forming the history and development of the original story. This is followed by a sequence breakdown and storyboard introductions of several scenes, including the various character designs, presented in detail by several of the film’s creators. The second disc of supplements covers the early character concepts and preliminary designs including art direction, early animation work, layouts and backgrounds. A ‘work in progress’ section presents several sequences depicting the level of animation changes from one cut to the next leading up to the nearly completed footage. Each step is thoroughly explained and discussed. Additionally, there is alternate audio track commentary during this section by the artistic coordinator, Randy Fullner. A dialogue (and music) and effects only segment is also presented on the other alternate track. Concluding the film design section is a detailed look at the extent to which computer animation was used, particularly where a single animated wildebeest was turned into a stampede of 800. The disc wraps with a presentation on the movie’s publicity campaign and features two musical numbers from the movie in a variety of dubbed languages. During the film itself, directors Roger Allers and Bob Minkoff, and the producer, Don Hahn, provide commentary on the one mono analog track.

DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Walt Disney Home Video
(Catalog Number): 4613 CS
(MPAA Rating): G
(Retail Price): $$124.99
(Running Time In Minutes): 88
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1994
(LD Release Date): 9/1/95
(THX® Digitally Mastered): Yes

Credits Information
(Director): Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff
(Screenplay/Written By): Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts & Linda Woolverton
(Story): Barry Johnson, Andy Gaskill, Kevin Harkey, Tom Sito, Rick Maki, Burny Mattinson, Lorna Cook, Gary Trousdale, Jorgen Klubien, Larry Leker, Ed Gombert, Mark Kausler, Thom Enriquez, Jim Capobianco, Chris Sanders, Joe Ranft & Francis Glebas
(Music): Hans Zimmer
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Chris Sanders
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): Tom Finan & John Carnochan
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Thomas Shumacher & Sarah McArthur
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Don Hahn

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Digital
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Digital
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
The project began as a cartoon entitled King Of The Jungle out of which the story developed into a theatrical animation feature. Set amid the majestic beauty of Africa’s Serengeti plain, Disney’s epic coming-of-age saga tells of the love between a proud lion ruler, Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and his son Simba, a naive and curious cub who is the heir to the throne. In the shadows prowls Simba’s envious Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) and his hyena followers. Their scheming for the throne leads to tragedy...and Simba’s self exile from the kingdom he should rightfully rule. Befriended by the warmhearted warthog Pumbaa and his manic meerkat companion, Timon, Simba forgets his regal responsibility and adopts the carefree lifestyle of “Hakuna Matata.” Simba comes to learn that he can reclaim his true destiny in the “circle of life” with the help of Rafiki, a wise mystic baboon.

LaserDisc Picture:
The visual quality is stunning with exemplary color fidelity. Every hue is rendered rich and vibrant, and blacks are pure, deep, and solid, with not a trace of video noise. Contrast is excellent and images are sharp and detailed. The picture is matted at the 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The transfer and duplication was supervised under the THX® LaserDisc Program, and the quality is a tribute to their assurance of the highest standard.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The discrete Dolby AC-3® and matrix Dolby Surround soundtracks are different mixes, but both are terrific. AC-3 has clearer dialogue, greater dynamic contrast between soft and loud, and better localization, while the matrix has a more spacious image.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz):
(Aggressive System Surround):
(Intense 25Hz Bass):
(Deep Bass Challenging):
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield):
(Aggressive Split Surround):
(Center Back Surround Imaging):
(Directionalized Dialogue):
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: