The Lion King 1 1/2: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Children’s Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 22, 2012 by Dennis Amith
If you thought the original “The Lion King” looked amazing on Blu-ray, the second direct-to-video film “The Lion King 1 1/2” looks vibrant and gorgeous in HD! While it is not essential to watch this film, it’s still a fun family film focusing on Timon & Pumbaa and life before and after they met Simba.
Image courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Lion King 1 1/2: Special Edition
FILM YEAR OF RELEASE: 2004
DURATION: 76 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:66:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RATED: G (for General Audiences)
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Directed by Bradley Raymond
Screenplay by Tom Rogers, Roger Allers, Irene Mecchi, Raymond Singer, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Produced by George A. Mendoza, Jason VanBorssum
Associate Producer: Michael Paxton
Music by Don Harper
Edited by Joyce Arrastia
Production Design by Dennis Greco
Art Direction by James Gallego
Featuring the following voice talent:
Nathan LAne as Timon
Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
Julie Kavner as Mom
Jerry Stiller as Uncle Max
Matthew Broderick as Adult Simba
Robert Guillaume as Rafiki
Moira Kelly as Nala
Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi
Cheech Marin as Banzai
Jim Cummings as Ed
Edward Hibbert as Zazu
JAson Rudofsky as Flinchy
Matt Weinberg as Young Simba
Hilarity reigns in the motion picture comedy-adventure that takes you waaay back to the beginning before Simba’s tale began…now more fabulous than ever for the first time in a 2-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack!
From their uniquely hysterical perspective, Timon and his windy pal Pumbaa—the greatest unsung heroes of the savanna—reveal where they came from, how they helped Simba save the Serengeti and what really happened behind the scenes of The Lion King’s biggest events.
Disney has had many successes since Walt Disney created the popular animation studio back in 1923.
With the success of their live action films and their PIXAR 3D animated films, still to this day, “The Lion King”, the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics remains as the most successful animated film for the legendary company earning over $862 million in the box office (created with a budget of $45 million) and in terms of overall animation, it’s the fifth highest grossing animated film of all time and the #1 highest grossing film when it comes to hand-drawn animation.
The film earned two Academy awards plus a Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” and is the #4 animated film on the American Film Institute’s “10 Top 10” list.
“The Lion King” made its debut on Blu-ray (2-disc) courtesy of a Diamond Edition on Oct. 4, 2011, as well as a 3D Blu-ray (4-Disc) and also an 8-disc “The Lion King” trilogy box set which included both direct-to-video films “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride” and “The Lion King 1 1/2”.
And now in March 2012, both films will be released on Blu-ray separately.
“Lion King 1 1/2” is the third film of “The Lion King” series, made in 2004 and focuses primarily on Timon and Pumbaa. Because this is a direct-to-video film and previous voice talent have gotten older since the making of the original “The Lion King”, a few changes were made for casting such as Matt Weinberg as young Simba instead of Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Rowan Atkinson as Zazu.
Created in a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” style, both Timon and Pumbaa are watching a film of “The Lion King 1 1/2” as it features their back story before and after they met Simba.
The film begins with Timon wanting more responsibility as a meerkat but because he tends to get into trouble, he nearly gets his meerkat group killed when he fails to alert them that hyenas have arrived to their village. While his mother is quite supportive of him and his Uncle Max tends to be quite critical of him, Timon becomes an outcast to the other meerkats.
Timon meets a mandrill named Rafiki who tells him that he must find his place in the world via Hakuma Matata and next thing you know, Timon goes to Pride Rock where he meets Pumbaa for the very first time.
Both Timon and Pumbaa have no family and thus, they become best friends to each other.
As the two are able to find a new home and live life via Hakuna Matata, the storyline then shifts to when both Timon and Pumbaa meet Simba for the very first time and begin to raise him.
The film shows a connection to the original “The Lion King” film but also shows how Timon is not so appreciative of Nala coming in and taking away Simba from them. As Simba heads back to the Pride Lands to confront his uncle Scar, will his good friends Timon and Pumbaa be there with him?
Each time I have watched a Disney animated classic on Blu-ray, suffice to say, there are no disappointments. Each release has been spectacular when it comes to picture quality and with the Blu-ray release of “The Lion King 1 1/2”, once again viewers are receiving a quality product as this film looks fantastic on Blu!
Forget the fact that this is a direct-to-video film, the detail of this animated film is impressive, vibrant and beautiful!
Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1), the first thing you will noticed about “The Lion King 1 1/2” is how vibrant the film is. The colors are spectacular, the black levels are nice and deep and the colorful visuals are just breathtaking. There were times where I was expecting to see some banding, especially the gradient pink to purples in the background but for the most part, the film looked awesome with no problems whatsoever.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Lion King 1 1/2” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and also includes a French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. If you thought the video was awesome for “The Lion King 1 1/2”, the lossless soundtrack was good. I’ve noticed a good use of the LFE and also the surround channels, but compared to “The Lion King”, it’s not as active and pronounced. A big difference is that there was good use of ambiance of the Pride Lands in the original film, for “The Lion King 1 1/2”, most of the audio comes to play during the action and music sequences. But for the most part, the audio for “Lion King 1 1/2” was OK but not super active compared to the first film but is expected as this is a direct-to-video release.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“The Lion King 1 1/2: Special Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Timon & Pumbaa’s Vacation Safari – (4:57) Featuring Timon and Pumbaa showcasing video of animals that live in the wild.
- Deleted Scenes – (11:44) Director Bradley Raymond and Producer George Mendoza explain the segments that did not make the final cut. Note: The seven deleted scenes are presented as sketches or artwork.
- Timon: Behind the Legend – (4:04) Peter Graves does a mockumentary of Timon’s childhood and features interview with Timon, his mother, Uncle Max and Pumbaa.
- Before the Beginning: The Making of Lion King 1 1/2 – (15:02) Director Bradley Raymond and Producer George Mendoza give viewers a chance to see the making of “The Lion King 1 1/2” with interviews with the crew who were responsible in making the film.
- “Grazin’ in the Grass” Music Video – (3:12) A Music video of “Grazin’ in the Grass” sung by Raven Symone.
“The Lion King 1 1/2: Special Edition” comes with a slipcover case and a DVD version of the feature film. The DVD is presented in widescreen 1:66:1 aspect ratio, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.
For those who grew up watching “The Lion King” and enjoyed the film and are now adults with their own children, “The Lion King 1 1/2” is a fun family film as it focuses on the two crazy characters of the original film, Timon and Pumbaa!
The film goes into the past of how these two characters met, but how Timon’s life was prior to meeting Pumbaa and Simba, but also showing the audience of what took place during the time Simba lived with both of them.
While it is a direct-to-video film and is not essential to watch, if you are a fan of “The Lion King”, it’s a wonderful addition to the series and also giving fans more storylines involving the characters from the first “The Lion King” film.
While both “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride” and “The Lion King 1 1/2” were released as part of a Blu-ray set last year, I’m actually happy that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has decided to release these two direct-to-video films on Blu-ray individually. And I am quite pleased of how gorgeous the film looks on Blu-ray. Typically one doesn’t put too much stock into direct-to-video animated films but in the case of “The Lion King 1 1/2”, the film looks absolutely vibrant and beautiful look at. Granted, the losless audio is not as active and pronounced as the original film but it’s still very good.
Overall, “The Lion King 1 1/2″ is a great family film and for parents looking for an animated film on Blu-ray for their children to watch. Also,”The Lion King 1 1/2” Blu-ray release also comes with the DVD version of the film.
And for those who were fans of the original film who never saw the direct-to-video films and were in awe of the Blu-ray release of the original film, what best now to watch the two than on Blu-ray!
“The Lion King 1 1/2: Special Edition” is recommended for children and families!
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