Friday, November 29, 2013

The Lion King 1 1/2 Special Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) (2004)

The Lion King 1 1/2 Special EditionWe're all aware that not much can compare to the original Lion King film. The animation, songs, voices...everything just perfection. However, as an ardent fan of the film, and in particular Timon and Pumbaa, this was snapped up as soon it went on sale and boy, what a nice surprise! A direct to video release that's actually decent!

This film is much of an improvement on the first "sequel". Simba's Pride just didn't hold any of the magic of the original story and barely held my attention for one showing before being put onto the shelf to get dusty. I was immediately more interested in this film as I thought it's premise held much more entertainment quality. "Yeah, I'd like to see how everything was through Timon and Pumbaa's eyes" I thought, and I wasn't to be disappointed.

We're originally transported back to Timon's younger days to see why he came to team up with Pumbaa. It's dealt with very wittily, yet with enough warmth that you actually do care what happens to all involved. We're shown how Timon and Pumbaa meet, and how they embark on their quest for "Hakuna Matata". Much comedy ensues, with a revealing insight into the original film's events. Why do the animals bow at Simba's presentation at Pride Rock? Why does everyone fall over at the end of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King?" Watch to find out. Having eventually found their perfect home, their meeting with Simba is retold and we get to see some of Simba's teenage years missed out in the original film. (Timon has a wonderful line during a particularly restless night looking after a young Simba "we're gonna get old walking across this thing". As soon as you hear it you'll know exactly what it's getting at). Next to be dealt with is Simba's reunion with Nala and his trip home to Pride Rock to avenge his father's death. All seen in a new perspective it's all very watchable, even if you are seeing duplicated scenes that occurred in the original movie. The climax again adds more breadth to the original. With Scar and his minions vanquished and order restored in the Pridelands, Timon and Pumbaa settle into their new home with his original meerkat colony who are surprised and impressed with the new "all-action" Timon. This is very much Timon's film, we get to know a lot more about him than Pumbaa and it is Timon that saves the day right at the very end. That's no complaint I would add, after all we heard about some of Pumbaa's woes in the original film 10 years ago.

Disney have done a lot of things right with this film. The original cast (with the exception of Rowan Atkinson as Zazu which consistantly grates with me he's much missed on the interactive section of the original movie's special edition too) return, and Julie Kavner and Jerry Stiller lend their vocies as Timon's nearest and dearest. Two new, annoyingly catchy songs appear within the first 15 minutes and several songs from the original make welcome returns. This isn't a big long song-fest though, I'm pleased to say. Much as I like the songs Disney movies are famed for, it is nice to give the characters time to speak and flesh themselves out in-between. Lots of scenes from the original appear again, and are interworked with the new animation reasonably well. An interesting twist is that the film is presented as if being viewed by Timon and Pumbaa in a cinema. I have seen a few reviews saying how annoying this is, but I actually find it very funny. The fact that they take shots at scenes which otherwise would be excessively cheesy is very endearing, and of course completely in character.

There are, inevitably bad points. This isn't going straight to video for nothing after all. You certainly need to have watched the original movie and know it well and you also have to be willing to deconstruct it quite violently too. A lot of those scenes you held dear are made fun of mercilessly. They've generally interworked the timelines between the films very well, but there are a few moments when I thought "that doesn't go". The film is quite short 72 minutes with lengthy end credits, but it is so fast passed that it seems even shorter to me. It doesn't quite know what age range it is heading for either, there are lots of "kiddie jokes", but also quite witty points that younger children won't necessarily get (I always used to wonder why my Mum insisted on watching Dangermouse with me, it's only now at 24 that I watch it and realise now). Lots of film references too. This isn't too bad in a way, it keeps everyone occupied throughout for different reasons. I'd rent it first if your not sure, but if your a Lion King fan you'll probably end up buying it anyway (you perhaps already have!)

The DVD features I actually find quite disappointing. This is a 2 disc release, and if they'd not put over 10 minutes worth of trailers on the first disc, probably could have been condensed onto one. There are several games for the youngsters including a virtual Safari, Rafiki's Challenge and a "hidden Mickey" hunt throughout the film. There's a supposedly funny "mockumentary" about Timon which I watched in total silence and a 1 minutes "making of..." featurette which I had to turn off half way through out of sheer irritation (not very much info about the film at all but everyone involved is all certain how great it is). There are some storyboarded deleted scenes, with commentary from the directors as to why they were cut.

Overall, very enjoyable which surprised me greatly and made it even more fun. Don't start comparing to the original as that is pointless. I also don't think this sort of production should be carried on to other Disney films, I don't think it would work. However, the way these particular characters cry out for attention every time they're on screen, it seems fitting to let us find out more about them.

I would have rated this 5 stars but for the DVD "extra's" as the film I cannot fault, both for the entertainment value and the way it tells an unexpectedly heartwarming story without being too cringeworthy

Our whole family actually really enjoyed this film. It should be noted that where the focus of Lion King 1 & 2 was primarily drama with comic relief, this film does not take itself seriously and is pure comedy. So, if comparing it to the other two films, you will likely come away disappointed. However, taken for what it is, pure and unadulterated nonsense, it is quite enjoyable. (I mean, come on, it's hosted by Timon and Pumbaa! What'd you expect?) :-)

If you were one who felt that the subject matter or drama of the original Lion King (or it's sequel) were a bit too intense for your young child, you'll be pleasantly surprised at this light-hearted fare featuring the Lion King ensemble. It's a great way to introduce children to the cast of characters they've become familiar with through theme parks, Disney marketing and television, in a harmless way.

If you're a big fan of the Lion King, you'll likely also enjoy this energetic and cheeky romp, with characters you've grown to love, containing references and in-jokes from the original film.

My wife and I experienced many laugh-out-loud moments through our viewing. And, our kids 6 and 8 were hysterical over it. It was great family entertainment, and great fun. Very much recommended. Enjoy!

Buy The Lion King 1 1/2 Special Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) (2004) Now

We got to see a sneak showing of this Disney treat, and laughed until we cried! This clever retelling of the epic Disney story has more jokes and humor than any I've seen in a long time. And there are plenty of laughs for adults as well as children. If you call yourself a Disney fan, then this is a MUST OWN! From beginning to end: inventive and ingenious. (Note: Movie fans may find that just as the Lion King mirrored the story of Hamlet, this version may remind you of an indie film that told the same "Hamlet" story through the eyes of two minor characters -who's paralle storyline zig-zagged across the same chain of events. Only with nowhere near the same humorous results!) Hint: Place the remote where all can see it or you'll think someone is playing with it!

Read Best Reviews of The Lion King 1 1/2 Special Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) (2004) Here

The untold story of everyone's favorite Meerkat "Timon" ( voiced by Nathan Lane) during the events of Simba's birth on how Timon with Pumbaa ( Ernie Sabella) and Simba met, how Timon was a outcast and getting to know Timon's mom ( Julie Kavner who played Marge Simpson) and Uncle Max ( Jerry Stiller).

A suprisingly good and hilarious prequel/sequel mix to " Lion King" and " Simba's Pride" that is a rare treat in the world of direct-to-video Disney animated sequels with a creative and original storyline with ideas. There is a MST3K-style opening with Timon and Pumbaa watching the original movie's beginning then tells us the story behind the original Lion King, the original cast is back such as Matthew Broderick, Robert Guiume, Whoopie Goldberg, and Cheech Marin return to reprise their roles with great theatrical quality animation.

The 2-Disc DVD is quite good on the flawless picture & Sound quality, the extras are quite good like the deleted scenes, fun games, Grazing in the Grass music video by Raven, Timon and Puma's virtual Safari 1/2, featurette on how the film was made and a Mockumentary on Timon done by Biography's Peter Graves.

If you want a hilarious and creative animated film that proves that not all direct-to-video animated stink these days, then i highly recommend this movie even to understand some of the original Lion King's plot holes.

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My boys (3.5yo and 21mos) love this movie. My 3.5yo has loved it for more than a year. He has also seen the original Lion King and was not interested in it in the least. I think this one is just a lot more fun and more approachable for the younger children. They love Timon and Pumba, and even I enjoy the interaction between these best friends. I also find it more appropriate for younger children since it is less serious and there aren't so many sad scenes. And this was a great movie to watch before our trip to WDW made them love the Lion King show!

My favorite scene is when they are doing karaoke for hakuna matata and Pumba tries to eat the beetle that is the pointer for the song lyrics.

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