The Lion King (Disney Special Platinum Edition) (DVD) ~ Matthew ... Cover Art

The Lion King (Two-Disc Platinum Edition) (DVD)

Matthew Broderick


Current Price: $42.95

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Review

Anybody who struts around with Simba's hard-won authority deserves this royal DVD read-along from Disney. Kids can recoil at Uncle Scar's dastardly deeds en espaƱol and discover that "hakuna matata" sounds pretty much the same in Spanish, French, Italian, or German. And should the dynamic storytelling fail to thrill your 4- to 12-year-old fan, a flurry of other interactive options await. Toggle to "Songs" for sing-along renditions of movie hits, including "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," and on to "Music Videos," where Elton John roars soundtrack favorites "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and Jimmy Cliff and Lebo M groove to "Hakuna Matata." The "Vocabulary" feature allows for see-and-say mastery of a list of wildlife, while the "Game" section allows players to match paw and hoof prints to the proper beast and reassemble the scattered skeletal remains of an elephant. Original cast voices are featured, and grownups will be pleased by the package's reading component. --Tammy La Gorce

Release Note

Not an ideal choice for younger kids, this hip and violent animated feature from Disney was nevertheless a huge smash in theaters and on video, and it continues to enjoy life in an acclaimed Broadway production. The story finds a lion cub, son of a king, sent into exile after his father is sabotaged by a rivalrous uncle. The little hero finds his way into the "circle of life" with some new friends and eventually comes back to reclaim his proper place. Characters are very strong, vocal performances by the likes of Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, and Whoopi Goldberg are terrific, the jokes are aimed as much (if not more) at adults than kids, the animation is sometimes breathtaking, and the music is more palatable than in many Disney features. But be cautious: this is too intense for the Rugrat crowd. --Tom Keogh

How good-looking is the DVD restoration of Disney's popular animated film? Take a look at the serviceable but dull film clips incorporated in the plethora of extras and compare them to the vivid gorgeousness of the film presentation. This "special edition" also adds a 90-second song ("Morning Report") that originated in the lavish stage musical. To Disney's credit, the original theatrical version is also included, both restored and featuring two 5.1 soundtracks: Dolby Digital and a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, which does sound brighter. As with the Disney Platinum line, everything is thrown into the discs, except an outsider's voice (the rah-rahs of Disney grow tiresome at times). The excellent commentary from the directors and producer, originally on the laser disc, is hidden under the audio set-up menu.

The second disc is organized by 20-minute-ish "journeys" tackling the elements of story, music, et cetera, including good background on the awkward Shakespearean origins at Disney where it was referred as "Bamlet." The most interesting journey follows the landmark stage production, and the kids should be transfixed by shots of the real African wildlife in the animal journey. Three deleted segments are real curios, including an opening lyric for "Hakuna Matata." Most set-top DVD games are usually pretty thin (DVD-ROM is where it's at), but the Safari game is an exception--the kids should love the roaring animals (in 5.1 Surround, no less). One serious demerit goes to the needless and complicated second navigation system that is listed by continent, but just shows the same features reordered. --Doug Thomas

Disney's THE LION KING SPECIAL EDITION features an all-new song, "Morning Report," and never-before-seen animation, giving you even more of this award-winning masterpiece -- the greatest animated adventure of all time. An unforgettable story, breathtaking animation, beloved characters, and Academy Award(R)-winning music (Best Original Score, 1994; Best Song, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight") set the stage for the adventures of Simba, the feisty lion cub who "just can't wait to be king." But his envious Uncle Scar has plans for his own ascent to the throne, and he forces Simba's exile from the kingdom. Alone and adrift, Simba soon joins the escapades of a hilarious meerkat named Timon and his warmhearted warthog pal, Pumbaa. Adopting their carefree lifestyle of "Hakuna Matata," Simba ignores his real responsibilities until he realizes his destiny and returns to the Pride Lands to claim his place in the "Circle of Life." Now extensively restored and remastered -- experience THE LION KING like never before, from its magnificent musical opening over breathtaking African vistas to its emotional climax. The all-star vocal talents -- including Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, and Ernie Sabella -- rip-roaring comedy, and uplifting messages of courage, loyalty, and hope make this timeless tale entertainment for all ages.


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