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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Rob LaDuca and Darrell Rooney
Cast:
Matthew Broderick, Moira Kelly, Neve Campbell, Liz Callaway, Michelle Horn, Ashley Edner, Charity Sanoy, Suzanne Pleshette, Andy Dick
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Cuba, Flip Kobler, Cindy Marcus, Mark McCorkle, Bill Motz, Gregory Poirier, Bob Roth, Robert Schooley, Linda Voorhees, Jenny Wingfield

Tagline:
The Circle of Life Continues ...

Synopsis:
All the power and majesty of The Lion King return in this final volume of The Lion King trilogy! This Special Edition Blu-Ray features an all-new vibrant picture presentation from the digital master.

Meet Kiara, Simba's headstrong daughter and heir to the Pride Lands. While on the prowl for adventure, she encounters the mischievous Kovu, a young member of the banished Outland Pride chosen to walk in Scar's paw prints. As they seek their proper places in the "Circle Of Life," Kiara and Kovu find that they may be the only hope for healing the rift between their prides!

The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride includes original cast members, stunning Disney animation, and six spectacular songs. Complete your family's Lion King collection with this enchanting film!

MPAA:
Rated G

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 81 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/6/2012

Bonus:
• “One By One” Short
• “Find Out Why” Shorts
• “Proud of Simba’s Pride” Featurette
• “Love Will Find a Way” Music Video
• “Timon and Pumbaa’s Insectapedia”
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 16, 2012)

Although I'm a big fan of Disney's animated films, I never tried one of their "direct-to-video" (DTV) efforts before I originally got the DVD of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride in 1999. Perhaps this was video snobbery in action, since I assumed that the efforts would likely be substandard. Disney's release practices apparently demonstrated that with the theatrical appearance of Toy Story 2; that picture originally was slated as an DTV title but the execs changed their minds when they saw how high quality it turned out to be.

That fact indirectly damns the other sequels that do go straight to video, since it makes it clear that Disney'd be more than happy to shove the films out to theaters if they were worth the effort. The fact I'd never heard much positive about Disney's DTV movies didn't help, either, but I thought I'd try to be open-minded and give Pride a shot.

While I'd like to say that my fears were unfounded, I cannot, but I can't say that Pride is a complete loss either. It's a pleasant, fairly professional and watchable little effort that provides almost none of the pleasures I normally associate with Disney films. The movie seems competent but nothing more than that.

Pride really offers a remake of the original film. The first half of Pride rather closely duplicates the corresponding section of Lion King, and the rest ain't that different either, except the sequel becomes Romeo and Juliet while the original went for Hamlet. This obvious attempt to recapture the magic of Lion King backfires, however, because it only serves to remind us how inferior the sequel is; the original offered better music, better animation, a better script, and better acting.

That latter issue is almost surprising because so many of the original actors return for Pride. Of the principals, only Rowan Atkinson (Zazu) fails to appear. Among the new talents, a few name actors enter the mix; Neve Campbell, Suzanne Pleshette, and Andy Dick all turn up for the film. Actually, the only no-name with a major part is Jason Marsden as Kovu. (Campbell's Party of Five costar Lacey Chabert also provides some work, but only in a small capacity, I guess; she doesn't receive much of a billing.)

Despite this talent, the rehashed plot and weak script doom the film to mediocrity. The actors don't do a poor job, but they definitely don't sound as inspired as they did during the original. And can you blame them? Everything about this project screams "second rate."

The music especially falters. No Elton John and Tim Rice this time; we get a weak score from Nick Glennie-Smith. The actual songs in the movie come from a variety of sources, unlike the consistent John/Rice team in the first one. All participants try desperately to duplicate the sound of the first film's tunes; all participants fail to make music that sounds like anything other than pathetic attempts to capture magic.

Lion King II: Simba's Pride is exactly the kind of film Disney's critics have long accused them of making. It's flat, uninspired and by-the-numbers. While it's perfectly competent and professional, it almost completely lacks any spark and fails to entertain even a big Lion King fan like myself.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus D+

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride appears in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio on this Blu-ray Disc. Other Disney “direct-to-video” projects have been a bit iffy due to cheap animation, but this one looked quite lush and attractive.

Sharpness appeared consistently fine and crisp. Virtually no instances of softness crept into this tight and concise presentation. Jagged edges and shimmering were absent, as was edge enhancement. Print quality appeared terrific, with no flaws of any kind to be found.

Colors looked fantastic throughout the film. They seemed consistently bright and bold with no evidence of smearing or other problems. The film used a palette oriented toward natural earthy tones, and the disc reproduced them nicely. Black levels appeared nearly ideal, with good depth and darkness, while shadow detail looked appropriate and nicely translucent. I found Lion King II to provide a very satisfying visual experience.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio generated a strong soundfield, with a forward emphasis but also with a nice surround effect. Sound from the front channels was well-defined and nicely placed but avoided seeming too localized, and audio panned cleanly across the speakers. A nice complement of effects and music came from the rears, and this audio helped round out the image to provide an effective mix.

Audio quality seemed very good. Dialogue always came across as smooth and concise, with no edginess or issues connected to intelligibility. Effects sounded bold and dynamic, with nice support from the lower end. Music also was full-bodied and rich and they present no distortion. This was a satisfying auditory production.

How does the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 SE release? Audio was a bit warmer and fuller, and visuals showed the usual improvements, with greater accuracy and tightness. Colors also appeared livelier. The old DVD looked/sounded just fine, but the Blu-ray created a more dynamic experience.

Oddly, the Blu-ray drops a lot of the extras from the 2004 DVD, though it does provide one new element: Timon and Pumbaa’s Insectapedia. This five-minute, 30-second reel offers info about bugs from Pumbaa (voiced by original actor Ernie Sabella) and Timon (acted by some replacement). The short is moderately entertaining and may be informative for kids.

Everything else repeats from the 2004 DVD. We get a music video for “Love Will Find a Way” by Kenny Lattimore and Heather Headley. It’s little more than the usual lip-synch/movie snippet blandness, though it emphasizes the singers’ emoting more than the shots from the flick.

Find Out Why presents five short featurettes to explain the facts behind certain concepts. Each one goes for 90 seconds – with a total running time of 7:35 - as they cover topics like how airplanes fly and why pandas don’t live in the desert. Timon and Pumbaa explain things. These are fun and informative pieces for kids. (Note that Nathan Lane appears here instead of the Timon faker heard elsewhere.)

More facts show up in Lots About Lions. This two-minute and 52-second piece brings back Timon (played by the Timon imposter) and Pumbaa to offer basic facts about lions. It’s not as much fun as “Find Out Why”, but it provides decent basics for kids.

“Backstage” ends with a featurette called Proud of Simba’s Pride. It runs six minutes, 49 seconds as we get notes from director Darrell Rooney, executive in charge of production Sharon Morrill, producer Jeannine Roussel, and actors Sabella, Lane, Neve Campbell, Matthew Broderick, Suzanne Pleshette, and Jason Marsden. It goes through basic production notes like the story, challenges of following the original, themes, and the visual look. It’s a very basic piece without depth, so while it seems mildly entertaining, it doesn’t tell us much.

The extras end with an original short called One By One. This five-minute and 42-second cartoon is about African children who make homemade kites. The piece is visually attractive but not very interesting.

The disc opens with ads for DisneyNature: Chimpanzee and Cinderella. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Finding Nemo, the Lion King stage production, Disney Parks, Secret of the Wings and Treasure Buddies.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Pride. This includes one extra – the “Insectapedia” – and that’s it. I guess it’s nice if you want a portable copy of the film, but it’s too bad that Disney didn’t simply toss in the old SE DVD so we’d get all of its bonus materials.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride offers a rather blah semi-remake of the original and should provide little of interest in the long run. Of the three Lion King films to date, it’s easily the least compelling, as I much preferred the original flick as well as the wacky Lion King 1 ½. As for the Blu-ray, picture and sound seemed excellent, but the supplements were lackluster at best. Though this gives us a good reproduction of the film, I don’t think you get a lot of value for something with a list price of nearly $40.

To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE LION KING 2: SIMBA'S PRIDE

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