For the first time ever, Disney’s The Lion King has now hit Blu-ray in glorious HD!

Sadly, I didn’t get in on the 3D version when it hit theaters (or at the D23 Expo in August) so for those of you with 3D abilities, I’m envious.  I did get to see the opening sequence in 3D while at the expo, as Samsung had a demo booth for one of their newer 3D blu-ray units and it looked amazing!

So, on to the review…

This movie has always been one of my favorites.
The opening sequence alone (in my opinion) is one of the most amazing pieces of animation (Disney or any other studio’s) anywhere!

For those who may not know the tale, it’s pretty easy to sum up.

Lion cub (and future king of Pride Rock) Simba just can’t wait to be king (there’s even a song to prove it!).  His jealous uncle scar has other plans though and kills Mufasa (Simba’s father) blaming the murder on none other than Simba himself.  Simba (per his Uncle’s advice) runs away from his home and is found by the unlikely duo of Timon (a meerkat) and Pumba (a warthog).  The two teach him the ways of “hakuna matata” and from then on, it’s a happy, carefree life in the jungle for all three.

Scar’s alliance with the hyenas has ravaged the pridelands, making food scarce and turning what was a once prosperous kingdom into a desolate wasteland.  On a search for food Simba’s childhood best friend, Nala, encounters Pumba (whom she was about to eat) and later Timon and Simba in the jungle.  She tries to convince Simba to return to the pridelands and take his place as rightful ruler of Pride Rock and make right all the wrong that Scar has done.  With some help from Rafiki (a wise old mandrill) Simba is eventually convinced to return, battles Scar (and wins) and the pridelands are eventually restored to their former glory.

Such is the Circle of Life.

Picture and sound (as always) look outstanding, although I’m hard-pressed to remember it looking less than stellar when it premiered on DVD (Platinum Edition) back in the fall of 2003.

Many of the cast returned to lend their voices in the hilarious “outtakes” extra (a must watch).
I was a bit disappointed by the “virtual vault” feature, as this was material previously on the 2003 DVD release, although it’s possible that many out there who never picked up the DVD then will still see it ass informative and new.  It’s good material and definitely worth watching.  I just didn’t consider it a bonus in my case since I had already seen it.

Bonus features include:
4 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes;
Deleted Song;
The Morning Report: Extended scene;
Never-Before-Seen Bloopers;
Disney Second Screen*;
Pride of The Lion KingThe Lion King: A Memoir- Don Hahn; Disney Sing Along Mode; Interactive Gallery; Audio Commentary; Disney’s Virtual Vault: Classic DVD Features Powered by BD-Live*