Directed by: Bradley Raymond
Starring: Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Matthew Broderick, Julie Kavner, Jerry Stiller
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: G
Release date: March 6, 2012
Running time: 77 minutes
Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars
“The Lion King 1½” is the sequel that was meant to follow “The Lion King” not “Simba’s Pride”. It is fun and really showcases the series’ best attributes…Timon & Pumbaa. The duo use a remote control to skip around the events before, during and after “The Lion King” in a MST3K-style. The Blu-ray presentation looks fantastic and the colors just look so sharp and clear. The sound is not Disney’s usual 7.1 track, instead has an DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It is decent overall still. Of course this film stands in a place separate from the original film’s quality but if you are looking for some sharp humor and an overall good time then this film is definitely worth checking out.
This film is very unique in it’s approach, especially amongst most Disney’s direct-to-video attempts. It is not only a sequel but also a midquel and a prequel. That’s right, this film stands out and takes us through the story we did not see in “The Lion King”. It starts before the events of “The Lion King” and gives some back story for Timon (Nathan Lane). We find out how Timon met Pumbaa, his search for Hakuna Matata, his meetings with Simba and the events thereafter. Basically it is just the in-between stories told from Timon & Pumbaa perspectives and it really is enjoyable.
Unlike the great Blu-ray transfer, the special features do not fall into the same category. Besides the short “Timon & Pumbaa’s Vacation Safari”, everything else is an SD port of the last DVD release. There are seven early deleted scenes that are just story-boarded. The scenes include: “Opening Concept #1,” “Opening Concept #2,” “Old Fearless Buzz,” “Timon Talks to Dad,” “Timon, Dad & Mom,” “Intro to Scurry, Flinch, Sniff” and “Timon & Pumbaa Look for Oasis.” “Timon: Behind the Legend” features Peter Graves in this faux bio about Timon. “Before the Beginning” is a behind the scenes looks at the production with director Bradley Raymond and producer George A. Mendoza. There is also the music video for “Grazin’ in the Grass,” performed by Raven-Symone. Lastly there is a feature with Timon & Pumbaa called “Discover Blu-ray 3D”. I wish that these features were in high def and not standard, just doesn’t feel right to release SD on Blu-ray.