THE LION KING is an undeniable classic and now that it’s available on the Walt Disney Signature Collection, there’s no better way to have the completist’s version of the film.

While we’re still just about a full year away from seeing the live-action reboot, we’re still riding high after the D23 Expo in which they showed us a snippet of the iconic epic opening of the “Circle of Life” sequence. The film looks beautiful and helped rekindle a love that never went away but sorta was on simmer for a while. So being invited to review an advanced copy of the animated feature on this newest release was pretty perfect timing.

One of the cooler elements of this release was the inclusion of an unexpected premium in the form of a limited edition film frame showing the iconic moment of Rafiki lifting Simba up for all of the Pridelands to see. Obviously not original but still a fun little extra.

This Walt Disney Signature Collection edition provides the lion’s share of extras thanks largely in part to the expected access to the “Classic Bonus Features.” This includes more than three hours of previously released material including bloopers, audio commentary, deleted and alternate scenes, and in-depth journeys into the music, film, story, animals and stage show.

So what else is new?


New Bonus Features

Perhaps the best new feature is Nathan and Matthew: The Extended Lion King Conversation featuring Nathan Lane (Timon) and Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba) in a great way way way too short piece talking about their involvement and history with Disney being a part of the great Lion King legacy.

With a film that’s been released so many time’s it can become increasingly difficult to figure out how to beef up the offerings and that’s where we find the Inside the Story Room extra with co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff presenting archival footage of five original story pitches for various scenes. The fact that this material still exists is pretty awesome. Also, HAIRCUTS. So good!

The pair also present the The Recording Sessions feature which includes awesome footage of the voice actors at work matched with final animations.

A goodie that perhaps nobody really wanted but is certainly nice to have is the Music & More section offering sing-along versions of the songs with lyrics on screen. Belt your heart out to “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, “Be Prepared”, “Hakuna Matata”, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Maybe you can finally perfect singing the opening lines of the film with the actual words.

Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala! 

Visualizing a Villain is an amalgamation art, music and dance and all merging together with the live painting of Scar by artist David Garibaldi. It’s a little random but as you can see below still pretty awesome.

For mega fans there’s also some really fantastic Image Galleries (if Google Images isn’t giving you the in depth experience you want) offering a vast look into amazing imagery from initial visual developmet and character design to backgrounds, layouts, and storyboards. For blooming artists this is a great feature that I remember loving to pour over in intricate detail as a kid.

There’s also the quickly vanishing bonus on DVD releases of a new Audio Commentary track with Don Hahn and co-directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. Pretty great to still get these kinds of insights on projects even if the format is somewhat dated.

Yes, you already own the Lion King… several times over… you know deep down you need this newest version. Disney did pull a great assortment of goodies this time around and it’s certainly worth adding the film to your digital library. Hakuna Matata, right?

THE LION KING on Walt Disney Signature Collection is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital.