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Lion King DVD Gift Set (now with disc 1 opinions)


Angry the Clown
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My gift set arrived in the post this morning (wow, I got something that wasn't stolen in the mail!) and it is gorgeous. A very nice box holds the standard 2 disc package, but alongside that is a really attractive hardback book, and alongside that, a black folder holding reprints of numerous character sketches and a certificate.

 

I shall go through the DVD itself and report back later today.

 

Daniel

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I had time to watch the film at lunch. I clicked to view the 'Special Edition?, which represents the IMAX release, which included the extra song. The mastering job, to my eyes, seems very good, and better than Beauty and the Beast. This is perhaps due to the fact they've used seamless branching this time instead of overloading the single disc with entirely different versions (I picked up on the branching not due to error on screen, but my DVD player makes a little noise whenever it does a layer or branching change of a significant kind).

 

The restored song is 'Morning Report' sung by Zazu, and taken from the stage version of the Lion King. I didn't care for the song then, and I certainly don't now. A lifeless and pointless song, coming right in the middle of Simba's pouncing session with Zazu. Rowan Atkinson was not called in to make the integration of the song smoother, though James Earl Jones either re-recorded his dialogue for this scene or they used another recording session from back in the day. So Zazu now sings away in the background whilst Mufassa teaches Simba how to pounce, instead of Rowan Atkinson going on and on about the latest news, which I always found amusing in the original.

 

I shall stick to always watching the original cut in future.

 

The menus are nice. 5.1 with a CGI Zazu on hand to guide you through (again, it's not Atkinson voicing him). I've yet to play with disc 2. I did a check and the commentary is from the old (lovely) Laserdisc box set, and is only viewable on the original cut of the film, so what in the hell Peter Bracke is on about at DVD File when he claims they discuss things like the IMAX version in the commentary, is beyond me.

 

The most interesting thing about disc one is Disney's Enhanced Home Theatre Mix, which I am thinking we've not seen the last of as they've taken to even creating a very loud intro for before the film. I had worries about this track, fearing it would be overblown in the surrounds with directional and discrete effects overly exploited... It turned out far better than I feared. Up front, it's excellent. With terrific separation and LFE. In the surrounds, there is perhaps a little too much here and there, but on the whole it's very pleasing. You can have this 'enhanced' mix on either version of the film.

 

Daniel

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Iain, the original 5.1 from 1994 is on the DVD yes. I always liked the pro-logic mix more than the old 5.1 mix I have to admit. Despite some issues with the new mix, it will likely be my audio choice on future viewings.

 

There goes another one of my expensive laserdisc box sets put to rest...

 

If you still have it, keep it! a) No one would dare get rid of those lovely lithographs and B) some extras from the LD set never made it to the DVD.

 

Daniel

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Well, I had a good play with disc 2 (very stupid and confusing navigation system, although they got Jeremy Irons to do a voice intro on the menu!), and the documentary presented by Robert Guillaume didn't make the DVD, nor did a lot of the storyboards and original concept featurettes it would seem. Indeed, the Digital Bits review seems to confirm this too.

 

Daniel

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I've been reading some of the reviews for this one at the big DVD websites (DVD File, The Digital Bits, etc.) and I'm extremely happy to hear that the movie itself turned out good. This is definitely a movie that calls for one to turn down the lights, crank up the sound, and really appreciate the experience a good home theater system can create.

 

Oh, and I'm a HUGE Elton John fan, so this one's a no-brainer for me anyway. I can't wait!

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J.Fo,

 

Absolutely, the presentation is very pleasing. Having finally made my way through it's piss poor menu layout and navigation, I've found Disc 2 to be a major letdown, and I think The Digital Bits is spot on with their review frankly. The Lion King sure has it where it counts though, in image and sound. Hopefully Aladdin will be just as good this time next year.

 

Daniel

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