In “The Lion King,” pioneering filmmaking techniques bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother — and former heir to the throne — has plans of his own.
The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon
Thanks to Disney Studios we received an advanced copy to review the bonus features.
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS:
The Journey to “The Lion King” featurette showcases the making of the score for the film. The Music- We are treated to footage of Elton John and Han Simmer’s creating the iconic songs for the animated film. This time around Disney brought back Han Simmer to do things in a slightly different way. We see the genius that is Pharrell Williams giving direction to the singers so they could bring the characters to life in their respective songs.
The Magic – We then get taken behind the curtains to see how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic. Jon Favreou had the actors engage with echo other when going through their scripted scenes in order to get their performances to use in the characters they portray. This helped create a more realistic way of blocking the scenes. The production also takes us through the various steps of that go from digital drawing to animation and VR and blending everything together.
The Timeless Tale – The animated version of The Lion King became a huge part of many people histories as it marked a turning point for Disney animated films. We get to see the filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward and makes a name for itself while honoring the original. We are also treated to footage from the first sneak peek at Disney Expo and the premiere.
More to Be Scene – This is a must see featurette where we get to see the process of the recording studio with layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”
“Circle of Life” – The producers peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film. Showing the evolution fork sketch to final product of the opening scene alongside the orchestra recording the song.
“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” – we then get to see all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this new, vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”
“Hakuna Matata” – We jump it o the recording studio with Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) as they make this memorable scene their own.
Music Videos – the bonus features also include the music videos for new song written Sir Elton John, “Never Too Late” (lyric video) and
“Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Filmmaker Introduction– Director John Favreou gives a brief introduction to this new version of the beloved classic as well as revealing a surprising Easter egg.
Audio Commentary – No home video can be compete without audio commentary form it’s director. Here viewers get a play by play of the making of key scenes and anecdotes from the making of The Lion King by Director Jon Favreau.
Song Selection– using this feature viewers can skip directly to that once special song/scene they want to see including:
“Circle of Life”
“I Just Can’t Wait to be King”
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
“Never Too Late”
Protect the Pride –Director Jon Favreau and the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home
Overall, the over 2 hours of bonus footage is a feast for the eyes for those fans who love to know how live action films are made. From inception to creation, seeing ideas come to life from sketches to visuals so vivid they take the viewer from their homes and into the pride land is truly a feat while showing just where the future of film making can go with the use of virtual technology in animation.
The Lion King is now available on digital, Blu-day, 4K Ultra HD and DVD and includes a fun sing along version for lovers of all the iconic songs.