The Lion King: Walt Disney Signature Collection is now available on Blu-ray/DVD/digital. I have not yet received the Blu-ray to be able to discuss that, but I was sent the digital version to review.
We were in the audience at the Disney D23 Expo for a fantastic panel that included the announcement of the release of The Lion King as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection. I have that full video below as well with the review, which includes producer Don Hahn; the voice of Timon, Ernie Sabella; and even Whoopi Goldberg made a surprise appearance. Hahn announced the release at the end of the panel.
I won’t review the film itself, as everyone has seen it. And I still plan to watch the commentary, that should be a treat in itself to learn more about the movie. There are many hours of extras that include new bonus features as well as a lot of classic ones. I have seen most of those now, and while they are not all on the Blu-ray (which didn’t matter since I don’t have it yet), they are terrific when they are able to be accessed. I was not able to access them all through Disney Movies Anywhere, we finally figured out how to get them on Vudu and apparently iTunes is good too. The only feature that didn’t work for me on Vudu was the bloopers.
Before listing the features, I will mention that much of the “classic” is from 2011 and they still feel very current. Here is what you can find between the Blu-ray and digital versions. And actually, a lot of what I watched and enjoyed isn’t even listed here. The Lion King: A Stage Journey, The Lion King: A Film Journey, The Lion King: A Memoir – there are numerous excellent classic features if you haven’t seen them. The Lion King was never meant to be a massive success like it became – at least it wasn’t expected. Pocohantas was the darling of the studio and that was where a lot of the first talent went. But The Lion King became the huge hit, even without a princess and with darker elements to it. The bonus features often intertwine with each other, but it is wonderful to hear producer Don Hahn, director Rob Minkoff, animators like Andreas Deja and so many others talk about the film throughout the features. I added a few videos below too.
Even with the digital issues I had, the film is wonderful to own in the current form. Here are the bonus features:
- Brand New Sing-Along Version
- Audio Commentary – View the film with commentary by producer Don Hahn and co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.
- Visualizing a Villain – Against a backdrop of live dancers and the animated “Be Prepared” sequence, artist David Garibaldi paints a masterpiece of evil.
- The Recording Sessions – Watch rare footage of the actors recording their roles, matched with the final animation. Intro by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.
- Nathan and Matthew: The Extended Lion King Conversation – Nathan Lane (Timon) and Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba) offer candid and hilarious insights into their Lion King experiences. – This is a terrific bonus feature. Lane and Broderick didn’t know each other at the time they were cast, and didn’t record together. Of course, all that has changed since, and they are really a lot of fun together.
- Inside the Story Room – Co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff present archival footage of five original story pitches.
- Circle of Life – See how color creates emotion and meaning in the film’s iconic opening.
- Simba & Nala – See how elements proposed in story meetings evolve into what appears onscreen.
- Simba Takes Nala Out to Play – …And, sometimes what seems funny in story meetings never makes it into the film!
- Hakuna Matata – Co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff sing, act and dance their hearts out as they pitch the “Hakuna Matata” sequence.
- Rafiki and Reflecting Pool – Co-directors Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff pitch a sequence that became the emotional heart of The Lion King to Producer Don Hahn.
Here is our video of The Lion King panel from the D23 Expo. It is wonderful to watch!
Music & More – Sing along to your favorite songs from the movie!
- “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”
- “Be Prepared”
- “Hakuna Matata”
- “Can You Feel the Love Tonight
- “Circle of Life”
- Classic Bonus Features (Digital Only)
- Visual Development – Explore a gallery of striking artwork that inspired the movie’s look and feel.7 pm
- Character Design – Trace the development of the film’s unforgettable characters through early concept art drawings.
- Storyboards – Examine storyboards created in the development of “The Lion King.”
- Layouts – Feast your eyes on layouts created in the development of “The Lion King.”
- Backgrounds & Layouts – Journey through a gallery of landscape paintings that shaped the world of “The Lion King.”
- These offerings from prior home entertainment releases include hours of bonus material, such as bloopers, audio commentary, deleted and alternate scenes, and in-depth journeys into the music, film, story, animals and stage show.