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post #1 of 28 Old 10-17-2019, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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The Lion King Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Lion King, from Disney Home Entertainment, a contemporary telling of the unforgettable story that features Academy Award-winning music, beloved characters and, of course, its inspirational the tale of Simba, the feisty lion cub who "just can't wait to be king," and his journey to claim his place in the "Circle Of Life.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92



Details:

Studio and Year: Disney - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 118 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC @
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English/Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, 1080p Blu-ray: DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring: Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Jeff Nathanson
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: October 22, 2019


"The Circle of Life Continues"


Synopsis:

“Experience The Lion King in this new, contemporary telling, with its unforgettable story, Academy Award-winning music, beloved characters and, of course, its inspirational the tale of Simba, the feisty lion cub who "just can't wait to be king," and his journey to claim his place in the "Circle Of Life.” – Disney Home Entertainment

My Take:

The original animated classic "The Lion King" is a favorite in our house. I didn’t venture out to the theater to see it and looked forward to experiencing what this reimaging was going to bring to the table. Like the original film, The Lion King is solid family entertainment that captures the spirit of adventure, heartwarming tone and in this case a superbly crafted CGI world that brings the characters and their surroundings to life like never before.

We all know the story of Simba, the feisty lion cub who “just can't wait to be king.” Unfortunately, his envious Uncle Scar has plans for his own ascent to the throne, and hatches a dastardly plot that forces Simba's exile from the kingdom. Alone, heartbroken and riddled with guilt, Simba soon joins the escapades and carefree lifestyle of a hilarious meerkat named Timon and his warmhearted warthog pal, Pumbaa, whose mantra is “Hakuna Matata,” (it means no worries). Simba turns his back on his responsibilities but, is shown that he must fulfill his destiny and returns to the Pride Lands to claim his place in the “Circle of Life.”

Let me start off by saying that “The Lion King” will forever have special meaning for me. It is the very first film I took my daughter to see in the theater. She was two years old and it was just the two of us. I watched as she sat quietly, mesmerized, not only by the experience but the film itself. We loved the music, the characters, the humor and the uplifting messages of courage, loyalty and hope. I know that Disney has seen fit to bring many of their animated classic films to life with live-action retellings however, I wasn’t so certain how this story would translate given that all of its characters are animals. I also worried that making creative changes, even subtle ones, to the story, could be damaging.

As I sat and watched The Lion King I was blown away by its spectacular digital world and its characters. The narrative, while not word for word with the original, is essentially the same, adding some minor extensions that push the runtime close to two hours. I don’t know, as much I was concerned that taking liberties with the story could be an issue, I felt that rehashing it, with CGI and new performances, added nothing concrete. In fact, I found myself missing the original cast and some of the charm that the hand drawn animation brought to it. Having said that, I want to add that I didn’t dislike The Lion King, and, enjoyed seeing it brought to “life” in this way. The original remains my favorite and would definitely be the version that I reach for when I feel like watching this wonderful story.



Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


UHD Presentation: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



Dolby Atmos Rating: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform:
  • Entertainment factor:



The Lion King comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Disney Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD The Lion King was derived from a 6.5K source and finished on a 2K Digital Intermediate. This is an excellent Ultra HD presentation that looks terrific on my large screen. What struck me from the onset is the lifelike reproduction of the imagery featured in the film’s various locations. Whether it be the finest minutia in physical features or the rough textures on the interior of a cave, the desert, or the vistas of the jungle/pride lands, the scenery is gorgeous. The benefits of high dynamic range and wide color gamut are on display as earth toned colors have an added dimension that enlivens shots where they would have been seen as a less provocative background element. Color reproduction across the spectrum of those used in conjunction with the film’s thematic elements look great.

Whites are emboldened, detailed and bright, especially during low level transitions viewed in a darkened environment. The rendering of natural light during the sun splashed daytime segments is among the presentation’s highlights. Contrast abounds, lending an authenticity that underscores the subject matter, bringing it to a visually rewarding level. The standoff in the finale looks fantastic with the fires and flashes of arcing light set against the dark gradations in the sky and background.

Shot digitally, this rendering reproduces its elements with aplomb. Looking at the 1080p version, which is solid as well, the difference is noticeable, but not what I would describe as night and day. That being said, there is no question that the Ultra HD presentation makes for the more gratifying and engaging viewing experience.


Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that started out slowly and built up momentum along with the story. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Early on there are occasional instances where the soundstage offers increased depth in the form of broadening the music score/classic musical numbers. During the last act there are noteworthy moments where the mix generates an improvement in dimension where overhead sounds take on a more pronounced role in conveying the spirit of the scene. The encounter in the finale is the best of these as it bristles with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects.

NOTE: I did find that a minor increase in volume, approximately 4db, was required to derive the most from it. Once there, it kicked nicely with no signs of dynamic compression or anemic bass.



For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:


Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


The Lion King comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a reference quality Blu-ray offering from Disney that looks terrific in high definition. The video is razor sharp with a pristine quality that is visually pleasing. Detail rendering is essentially flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are delineated, with warm tonality and pleasing depth, that make them pop nicely. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting, and dark backgrounds. The CGI softened some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity remained unaffected.

The 7.1 Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core – UHD version) and the DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio soundtrack (on the Blu-ray) makes effective use of the surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, and crystalline dialog reproduction. This is a well-balanced and fairly active soundtrack that augments the dynamic impact associated with the films action and music score. The surround channels are appropriately engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience. I never had any trouble discerning subtle vocal inflections or the presence of low-level sounds that were contained in the background. The mix facilitates natural integration of the front and rear channels which creates a stable and well-proportioned listening experience that is complimented by appropriate bass response.

NOTE: I did find that a minor increase in volume, approximately 4db, was required to derive the most from it. Once there, it kicked nicely with no signs of dynamic compression or anemic bass.


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: The Lion King Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Lion King Blu-ray
    • The Journey to “The Lion King” -
    o The Music - Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.
    o The Magic - Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.
    o The Timeless Tale - Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.
    • More to Be Scene - Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”
    o “Circle of Life” – Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film
    o “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” – See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie
    o “Hakuna Matata” – Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.
    • Music Videos
    o “Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John
    o “Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
    • Filmmaker Introduction
    • Audio Commentary – By Director Jon Favreau.
    • Song Selection
    o “Circle of Life”
    o “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”
    o “Be Prepared”
    o “Hakuna Matata”
    o “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
    o “Spirit”
    o “Never Too Late”
    • Protect the Pride –Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.
  • Digital Code



Final Thoughts:

The Lion King is a technically engaging retelling of Disney’s classic 1994 animated film. Its unadorned story doesn’t have the appeal of the original which relegates it to the fair but, unremarkable category. It comes to Blu-ray in the Ultra HD Combo Pack from Disney featuring excellent Ultra HD video, engaging lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive listening experience and a fair supplemental package. The Lion King is a film that is sure to please the kiddies but, leaves their parents hankering to watch the original Disney classic.










Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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Last edited by Ralph Potts; 10-18-2019 at 01:32 PM.
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post #2 of 28 Old 10-17-2019, 01:18 PM
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XXX comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from XXXX featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless XXX that has an average bitrate of XXX Mbps.
Hmm?
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post #3 of 28 Old 10-17-2019, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm?

Greetings,

Fixed.


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post #4 of 28 Old 10-18-2019, 04:40 AM
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HMMMMM, I note the aspect ratio is missing. Blu-ray.com reports it as 1.78:1, can you confirm? If it is, I might just pre-order this!
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post #5 of 28 Old 10-18-2019, 07:28 AM
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In before the disney atmouse comments

I'm defintely getting this, from another trailer i saw the digital imagery looks spectacular and with hdr and well made use of wide color gamut, this should be a terrific picture showcase on my oled. And yeah, this has a 1.78:1 AR.
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post #6 of 28 Old 10-18-2019, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Emaych View Post
HMMMMM, I note the aspect ratio is missing. Blu-ray.com reports it as 1.78:1, can you confirm? If it is, I might just pre-order this!

Greetings,

Whoops! Didn't complete that portion of my template. I took several calls while completing the review and missed filling in some of the template portions. Sorry! It's completed now.


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post #7 of 28 Old 10-18-2019, 02:07 PM
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Really looking forward to Disney's top notch CGI on this one !
With JVC's new DTM firmware update, it should be spectacular.
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post #8 of 28 Old 10-18-2019, 02:07 PM
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I can hardly wait for Disney's live action CARS movies to come out!

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I watched this in the theater with low expectations and those low expectations were met.

This was one of the more soulless unnecessary movies I have ever seen, just like the Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho. This is the movie version of X-24 (the aggressive Wolverine clone in Logan), a soulless clone of a superior original, more of a tech demo/mad experiment than an actual bona fide film, meant solely to wreak as much (box office) havoc as possible.

Disney really needs to stop with the live action remakes (which they won’t since people keep paying to see them) so I’m looking forward to the live action Toy Story remake in 2022 with the Woody and Buzz actors wearing Disney on Ice foam costumes.

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post #10 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 05:46 AM
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Gorgeous movie, horrible sound, and hard to watch
My wife's favorite movie is the Lion King Cartoon and knows most of the lines - she even hated this remake. It sure did look good though, wow that HDR.
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post #11 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 08:40 AM
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Like with Aladdin, and pretty much all the live action Disney Remakes, we'll skip the purchase and rent it from RedBox.

Heck, with Disney+ launching soon, we might just skip the rental and stream it when it inevitably makes it way there.

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post #12 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 09:26 AM
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Couldn't agree more Ralph. It shows that there's more to making a movie beyond the script. The first is a classic and this one has zero soul or heart. It does look great though
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post #13 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
Couldn't agree more Ralph. It shows that there's more to making a movie beyond the script. The first is a classic and this one has zero soul or heart. It does look great though
So the much more realistic animal animation nuances don't generate the same Disney animation cute emotions. Why are we not surprise? Its meant to be more realistic, some how revised adaptations always have purists complaining about the followup missing something.

It still was a big step up from The Jungle Book (2016) which still needs to come out in 4K. BTW I enjoyed both the reworked Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast as good conversions as well as being excellent 4K presentations. Dumbo should not have let it turn into such a dark tale.

I only seen snippets as I usually skip going to the theater, but the presentation, CGI artwork looks amazing. Guess we'll see how soulless it really is, or whether this is just too much love of only the original format which is part of my collection.

PS Thanks as always for your perspective/review Ralph.
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post #14 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 02:54 PM
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My 4k UHD Steelbook arrived early. Was a blind buy. Shoot. Was hoping it would be better than the terrible Aladdin remake. Will get around to watching it sometime. Lol.
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post #15 of 28 Old 10-19-2019, 08:22 PM
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My little girl wanted to watch this tonight. So we made a big bowl of popcorn and fired it up. At least the popcorn was good. Lol. This was better than the Aladdin remake. Was a bit disappointed in the audio. Seems Disney applied their proprietary Quiet as a Mouse™ audio codec. Yes the CGI and digital world they created is first rate. The hyper-realism is neat, but lacks the warmth of the original. I'm reminded of a quote by Lord Vader; Don't be too proud of this technological movie you've constructed. The ability to destroy a beloved classic is insignificant next to the power of the Force. The biggest kick in the Jimmy is the uninspired cast. Ralph hints at this as well. No charm no charisma. To sum it up, I didn't hate it, but I doubt I will rewatch it again. And that's the circle of life, baby.
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post #16 of 28 Old 10-21-2019, 12:35 PM
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All the live action releases have accomplished is to make me want to re-watch the animated originals.
I'm feeling the urge to dust off the old Lion King Blu-ray, in 3D no less.
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post #17 of 28 Old 10-22-2019, 06:17 PM
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I loved the original and was cautiously optimistic about the live action version. I remember where and when I saw the first one. I took my two young daughters to see the new version in hopes of reliving a bit of that magic with them. I was very disappointed. My daughters were entertained enough, but it didn’t truly keep their attention (or mine).

After a little thought, I can summarize my issue like this. The new version lacked heart and emotion. The original had characters with very expressive facial expressions and body movement that exuded emotion. The new one had expressionless animals moving there mouth. I felt like all of the animal characters got an overdose of Botox before jumping in front of the camera. The animals had the same non-expressive face and body language regardless of being happy, sad, mad, or neutral. I think making the animals so lifelike robbed all emotion from the film. It’s too bad, some of the other Disney remakes are quite good.
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post #18 of 28 Old 10-22-2019, 08:23 PM
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Watched it tonight.

The observation that making the animals realistic robbed them of facial expression was spot on. The voice acting couldn't make up for it. And what happened to the Disney tradition of villains? The villain should have an English accent, and sound both sinister and slightly effeminate. (Ejiofor was still a much better villain than the actor miscast as Jafar in the live-action Aladdin.)

It was still beautiful. The detail and fluidity of motion of the animals was impressive. CGI has come a long way in the past 25 years.

The Atmos track was insipid. What does Disney think the market is, people who use their TV's built-in sound?

I don't regret the buy, but I'll probably re-watch the animated version more often. I thought that the audio in that was better, too.

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post #19 of 28 Old 10-22-2019, 08:40 PM
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There's so many issues with this remake that I want to tear into but the absolute most fatal flaw they made was the artistic assumption that photorealism automatically means it's better. And sometimes that just doesn't work with the concept of the story.

I stumbled upon this video and from 2:39 - all the way to the end of the video I was just agreeing emphatically with everything the presenter laid out. For those who don't want to watch, it boils down to trying to squeeze emotion out of a character that visually can't emote to match the voice performance due to the conscious decision to be as photo real as possible.


Gotta go to the original for me, which as it turns out was THE movie that got me into the home theater hobby back in 1994. (Saw it in a bad theater vs a good one, and from that point on I "got it.")
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post #20 of 28 Old 10-23-2019, 01:00 PM
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^^^^ Excellent uTube video. Thanks for posting it. But I have to say, it was ironic listening to the presenter sound like an emotionless automatron narrating.

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post #21 of 28 Old 10-23-2019, 07:25 PM
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I too was struck with the almost complete lack of any facial expression in the animals. Most of the really good live action animated films do not suffer from this issue because they use actor's faces to mold the expressions. It really just looks like cheap animation in comparison to some others. What were they thinking?
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post #22 of 28 Old 10-23-2019, 11:04 PM
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OH BOY... !
I'll try and keep an open mind when I watch it this Friday...

Last edited by JeffR1; 10-24-2019 at 07:46 PM.
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post #23 of 28 Old 10-24-2019, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waboman View Post
My little girl wanted to watch this tonight. So we made a big bowl of popcorn and fired it up. At least the popcorn was good. Lol. This was better than the Aladdin remake. Was a bit disappointed in the audio. Seems Disney applied their proprietary Quiet as a Mouse™ audio codec. Yes the CGI and digital world they created is first rate. The hyper-realism is neat, but lacks the warmth of the original. I'm reminded of a quote by Lord Vader; Don't be too proud of this technological movie you've constructed. The ability to destroy a beloved classic is insignificant next to the power of the Force. The biggest kick in the Jimmy is the uninspired cast. Ralph hints at this as well. No charm no charisma. To sum it up, I didn't hate it, but I doubt I will rewatch it again. And that's the circle of life, baby.
See that's the problem with remakes. People get attached to the original and no matter how good it's made ,people will hate on it. How old were you when the original Lion King came out? To you this new version is soulless because to you it can't possibly live up to the original. But to your child it might be great. If you look at the history of hollywood they have always remade movies for a new generation and that's the case here. And the reviewers of the time said the same things.
I learned along time ago reviewers are full of s%^T ,it's a job and there paid well ,it's better then working in a factory.
My point is if you like the film ,great ,that's all that counts.
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post #24 of 28 Old 10-26-2019, 09:47 AM
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This was Friday night's movie and it did not disappoint, spectacular CGI and cinematography, great eye candy, I literally felt like I could have climbed into the screen !

I found the animals emotions portrayed very well, it wasn't like the animated version, but that would be like comparing apples to oranges.
Their expressions were no where near as strong as what the cartoon, but it was there, it was just more subtle, and personally I think if they were to have done a "Paddington", it would have spoiled the movie, it would have turned into something that it wasn't meant to be.

With that, I can't really compare the two, it's been so long, that I pretty much forgotten the animated version, I just remembered bit and pieces.
The new version on its own is great, I will revisit it again soon.
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post #25 of 28 Old 10-26-2019, 06:56 PM
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Just watched the UHD. Surprised no Dolby Vision. The Movie was pure eye candy and visually captivating. This will be a first for me. Don’t believe I have ever said this before. The Digital version on MA and VUDU has better PQ! The UHD is plain HDR and the Streaming Version is in Dolby Vision! And the Streaming DV version presentation is far superior to the actual Disc. The color palette and lighting differences are remarkable.

If you have a DV set up. Watch the Streaming version. It has superior PQ and still delivers Dolby Atmos.
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post #26 of 28 Old 10-28-2019, 09:08 AM
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Yea - watched it Saturday evening, and there was lack of emotion connection as many here stated
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Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
Watched it tonight.

The observation that making the animals realistic robbed them of facial expression was spot on. The voice acting couldn't make up for it. And what happened to the Disney tradition of villains? The villain should have an English accent, and sound both sinister and slightly effeminate. (Ejiofor was still a much better villain than the actor miscast as Jafar in the live-action Aladdin.)

It was still beautiful. The detail and fluidity of motion of the animals was impressive. CGI has come a long way in the past 25 years.

The Atmos track was insipid. What does Disney think the market is, people who use their TV's built-in sound?

I don't regret the buy, but I'll probably re-watch the animated version more often. I thought that the audio in that was better, too.

But as we all learned in Kindergarten .... Boys have a Peni$ and Girls a VaG!Na..... So not photorealism , rather Disney interpalism
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There's so many issues with this remake that I want to tear into but the absolute most fatal flaw they made was the artistic assumption that photorealism automatically means it's better. And sometimes that just doesn't work with the concept of the story.

I stumbled upon this video and from 2:39 - all the way to the end of the video I was just agreeing emphatically with everything the presenter laid out. For those who don't want to watch, it boils down to trying to squeeze emotion out of a character that visually can't emote to match the voice performance due to the conscious decision to be as photo real as possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCZOZsY11-Y

Gotta go to the original for me, which as it turns out was THE movie that got me into the home theater hobby back in 1994. (Saw it in a bad theater vs a good one, and from that point on I "got it.")
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post #27 of 28 Old 11-11-2019, 09:56 AM
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This does not deserve the criticism it is getting.

It's a different look and feel than the animated version for sure, but it not "soulless" or "lifeless." That's just an inaccurate description.

I've not watched the disc version, but I saw it at the theater with my grown kids. They liked it, too, even though it was different than what they watched as small kids.

I'm disappointed at Ralph's audio grade for the disc. I was hoping this would be better. I'm still going to buy it.
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post #28 of 28 Old 11-17-2019, 03:32 AM
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We watched this film today it was fantastic. Wow!. Im glad I bought this. I agree with the Audio Ralph I had to increase too 4db as well but it was worth it regardless.
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