Hamlet, one of the best-known Shakespearian tragedies, contains many elements that have been borrowed by modern-day filmmakers. But perhaps one of the most famous renditions of the brutal yet awe-inspiring play that doesn’t even seem like Shakespeare, let alone the dark and gruesome Hamlet, has lions for its main characters and boasts to have one of the most memorable duos in Disney history — Timon and Pumba.
The Lion King, which follows the story of Simba, a lion cub who is heir to the throne and is blamed for his father’s death by his evil uncle, is a timeless story that teaches people to remember who they are and where they come from.
Through Simba’s growth from a seemingly jovial youth that sees the good in becoming king to a lazy grub-eater who takes pride in “hakuna matata,” the experience of being an outcast is felt. Once Simba returns to his home and ousts his vile ruling uncle, peace is restored.
Oct. 7 marks the debut release of The Lion King on DVD, and with it comes a horde of special features and extras. The Lion King has undergone a musical restoration with the inclusion of two separate Dolby 5.1 soundtracks.
King also welcomes a new song, “Morning Report,” which lets Zazu show how nosey hornbills get down; Simba also has a small part in the song.
Aside from the sound upgrades and the new 90-second “Report,” King is in tact and is still as good as it was in ’94.
Even without the second disc to the platinum set, King is well worth its $20 price tag.
But, its addition should make the movie a must-have for any movie fan or person under 11 years old. The bonus disc offers a wide array of information about many aspects of The Lion King.
At any time, a viewer can summon lessons about the origins of the characters, find out where the African music in the film comes from or how the Broadway show fares in comparison to the original motion picture.
The disc also showcases a virtual safari, which is complete with computer-generated crocodiles and rhinos that get close enough to almost feel while still being in the comfort of a living room.
Although the bonus disc is highly informative, the overabundance of information and the repetitive nature of the different extras fail to hold attention, resulting in the urge to skip through certain journeys. It’s hard to sit through the hours of commentary from directors, the making of a music video for a rendition of “Circle of Life” and deleted scenes that fail to stimulate. Frankly, watching someone do stick drawings is more amusing.
The Lion King, a blend of a Hamlet-like adaptation that trades swords for claws with the vivid animation that Disney composers are known for, is even more majestic on DVD.
The sound reinvents the experience of watching Simba sing songs like “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” and the extras are satisfying but sometimes lengthy.
Despite flaws in the bonus disc, this animated jewel is the pride of Disney and the reigning king of animated films.