What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
THE LION KING
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: October 4, 2011
Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. French and Spanish 5.1
Running Time: 88 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4
3D Separation: 3
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 1
The Lion King has been one of the biggest triumphs for the Walt
Disney Studios. Originally released in 1994, the film quickly became
a mega-powerhouse hit that garnered 2 Academy Awards for its music
(Elton John and Tim Rice) . It also holds the record as the most
successful animated film for 9 years, ultimately becoming the fifth
highest-grossing film of all time.
To show how timeless this classic really is, consider that the 17 year-old
film was re-released to theaters in 3D this past month and became the
weekend box-office winner, raking in nearly $30 million, which is nearly
double its initial estimates.
Sitting down with The Lion King after all these years, I am still utterly
impressed with its triumphant opening sequence, The Circle of Life,
performed by Carmen Twillie and Lebo M. It's a mighty composition
about birth, love, loss and death. It remains today as one of the
most powerful film moments in the studio's history.
In brief, the story centers around Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor
Thomas and Matthew Broderick), a lion cub who runs away from home
after his father, Mufasa the Lion King (voiced by James Earl Jones), is
murdered by his brother Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons). While in exile
within the jungle, Simba makes friends with Pumbaa (voiced by Ernie
Sabella) and Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane) who teach the young lion
about living a care-free life. With the aid of the mystic, Rafiki (voiced
by Robert Guillaume) and love interest Nala (voiced by Moria Kelly),
Simba is convinced to return to the Pridelands and regain the throne
Before I can begin to talk about the 3D transformation to this film,
I need to touch upon its digital conversion. This high definition
transfer is simply outstanding, revealing stunning attention which
is given to the smallest background details. Just as prominent is the
film's gorgeous well-saturated color pallet which leaps off the screen
even without the added 3D effect. The deep, inky black levels --
particularly found in Scar's long mane -- provide a nice amount of
So, let's talk about the film's 3D conversion. Up until today, I
have not particularly been a fan of studios taking 2D material and
attempting it to 3D. History has shown that these conversions
rarely yield satisfactory results.
Watching this new 3D transformation, I am quite impressed by
the results. It's apparent that Disney put a lot of care and thought
into the conversion which involved 60 artists who worked on the
how the Stereographer uses depth to enhance the storytelling of this
film. When one is working with a project that already benefits from
exceptional 2D rendering, it makes it rather easy to open it up to
3D. The results are very impressive, indeed! The viewer immediately
sees the benefit of depth from the very opening moments of the
film as the hornbill named Zazu flies into frame, soaring over the
widened African landscape. For a brief moment, it seems as if the
bird is hovering somewhere between the viewer and its intended
placement. The overall depth between foreground and background is
constant throughout the film, with a more subdued cardboard cut-out
effect than I have seen in 3D films that have not been unconverted.
When considering the film's many scenes filled with jungle foliage,
the stereographic animators had a lot of objects at their disposal to
enhance the limits of depth. Take for instance the abundance of
trees, bushes, grass, branches and flowers that were brought to
the forefront of the screen with the characters frolicking just behind it.
The effect certainly adds more realism to their scenes. Even animated
fog seems to take on a life of its own, as it hovers and then disperses
itself amidst the movements within it. As you would expect from
something that wasn't originally conceived for the format, objects
never leap out towards the viewer. However, there are plenty of
animal body parts like Zazu's banana beak or Punbaa's horns and
snout that seemingly poke themselves out just past the edges of
the viewer's screen.
Ghosting doesn't seem to be a major concern here, though there are
traces of it to be found in darker scenes, particularly in Rafiki's staff
and along facial features of the characters. Again, very minor.
All in all, I consider the upconversion to be a satisfying experience,
but not something that I would call revolutionary. Given a choice,
I would rather watch this 3D version over the 2D counterpart as the
depth does add a new sense of realism never-before-seen.
A 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is provided here which was downcoverted
to 5.1 on my system. As one would expect, the soundtrack fills the
room with enormous ambiance and dialogue clarity. Most noteworthy here
is Hans Zimmer's score with its rising chorus that fills the rears and
engrosses the viewer in a highly gratifying audible experience with a
terrific sense of spatiality. LFE activity is ever-present here, particularly
with the stomping of elephants or the stampede of wildebeest that make
an authoritative, boomy presence.
The Lion King Diamond Edition arrives in a 4-disc 3D Blu-ray, 2-D Blu-ray,
DVD digital copy combo package with lenticular casing. The 3D Feature
film includes a 3D trailer for Cars 2. The Blu-ray contains a wealth of
bonus content that includes 4 never-before-seen deleted scenes, bloopers,
an interactive Blu-ray gallery as well as featurettes pertaining to
the production of the film.
The Lion King in 3D Blu-ray comes across as a labor of
love from the animators that worked on is upconversion.
Home audiences benefit from an enhanced viewing experience
of the film that adds more than it subtracts from its 2D counterpart.
I was very pleased, even when wearing shutter-active 3D eyewear,
that nothing was lost in the appealing transfer.
If you are going to purchase The Lion King for the first time
on Blu-ray, I feel it would be beneficial upgrade to the 3D combo-pack.
Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player Denon 3311CI Receiver Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers SV Sound Subwoofer
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer