Review: The Lion King (4K)

Journey to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother-and former heir to the throne-has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

Plot: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Director:  Jon Favreau

Aspect Ratio: 1.85.1

Runtime: 110 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: While it can take pride in its visual achievements,The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved–though for some fans that may just be enough.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 53% (Audience: 88%)
  2. IMDB 7.0
  3. Metacritic 55

“You can never touch the classic, but The Lion King in 2019 still impresses.”


This movie was shot with Arri Alexa 65 & IMAX cameras and ultimately finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate — that means you will get an upscaled image on this release, but you honestly can’t tell. If I told you this was native 4K you’d believe me because it looks that good! As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in HDR10. Beyond that, there’s also no grain visible, which means you will get an amazingly sharp image.

First thing to note is that this is a demo-worthy disc and a big leap over the standard Blu-ray. The most noticeable jump so in the sharpness department because the amount of quality and work put into the visuals blurs the line between real and fake — sometimes it’s hard to tell… it’s that good. Nearly every scene is a highlight down to individual blades of grass, mud, trees and rocks.

You will further notice tiny things shining on the UHD format like the firefly ambient-glow against Rafiki’s tree in Chapter 2, aerial shots of the watering hole in Chapter 4, the sun setting over the pride lands (contrast between day turning into night) in Chapter 6, textures and cracks on the desert floor in Chapter 10, and lastly, Simba standing in the water looking into the clouds as the sun starts to rise in Chapter 16.

HDR is another highlight on the UHD as well — you will literally see the entire color spectrum with more clarity and depth start to finish. All the brightest scenes shine and every natural tone of what the Earth can offer is in full display — all the little things impress. Furthermore, the great use of HDR allows the night scenes get darker with deeper contrast, like shown in Chapter 13.

Overall, this is best release yet from Disney and I can’t imagine what a native 4K disc would have looked like with all that 6.5K stock footage… I guess we will never know.

Disney understands how to make money and that means dipping into their library and remaking all their classics in live-action form. When I first heard that The Lion King was going to get this treatment I was excited, this is one of, if not, the best animated movie of all time. How could you go wrong? I may be in the minority on this, but I liked the fact that it was a shot for shot remake. Could you imagine if Jon Favreau switched up the storyline? People would’ve been really upset!

Is this movie just as good as the original? No, but it still captures the magic for all the children and adults out there looking to experience it. This movie made $1.65 billion at the box office which means there is no signs of stopping the live-action lineup. Up next we will get Mulan and The Little Mermaid in 2020 — and then, we’ll get the newly announced Pinnochio shortly after that. Which movie would I like to see if I had to pick? Hercules.

When it comes to my recommendation I would say that this is a must-own on the UHD format and a must own for all that enjoyed the original. I would even goes as far as to say it’s safe to blind buy because of how amazing it looks on the screen — this will be used as demo material to sell televisions this holiday season. Make sure you head out to your local retailer and pick up a copy, you won’t be disappointed!

If you are on the fence, Black Friday is less than a month away, so you could see a price drop on this, but it wouldn’t be too much — don’t wait. Are you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up in UHD? Let me know what you think in the comments below.



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