Comparison between the Blu-ray (first edition "Diamond Edition" 2011, also included as a supplement in the German 2018 4K set) and the 4K Blu-ray (for the scene in question identical to the "Signature Collection" released in the US in 2017 and also identical to earlier DVD/VHS editions)
- One different scene
- No time difference
The different film versions of THE LION KING
The Lion King, created in 1994, was a huge success for Disney, and the story should be known to young and old viewers alike. So let's get straight to our point of view: In 2003, the first DVD release appeared and with it two new versions came into play. The "theatrical version" on this release was digitally reworked in some places and probably only corresponds to the version that could be seen shortly before in December 2002 in some IMAX cinemas at re-release screenings. Beside the "SFX" cloud, which was altered because of the wrong "SEX" reading, there are e.g. deviating animations of the crocodiles during the song "Can't wait to be king".
Since then, this revised IMAX theatrical version has been released on DVD several times and also formed the basis for the "Diamond Edition" Blu-ray, which was first released in 2011, as well as for the 4K Blu-ray, which is available since December 13, 2018. On DVD, there was also a "Special Edition" of the film, which featured an additional song at one point. The Blu-ray and 4K-Blu-ray only include this song individually in the bonus material. Beyond that, there is another special detail only on the HD master that was released for the first time in 2011. We're going to deal with this in this comparison.
First of all, it should be mentioned that the error documented here has already been corrected, at least in the US, for the Signature Collection Blu-ray, which was released in 2017. In Germany, on the other hand, only the faulty 2011 Blu-ray has been reissued over the years. Annoyingly, even with the new 4K set only the old Blu-ray is included again, in addition to the UHD disc - despite the somewhat misleading disc imprint "2018". The Signature Collection version has not been released in Germany so far.
Faulty animation on Blu-ray & corrected 4K Blu-ray of THE LION KING
This is one of the most important scenes of the film, because Simba draws new strength from his father Mufasa, who appears to him as a cloud in a dream sequence, and decides to regain his rightful place as Lion King. After a short conversation, the cloud moves away and Simba runs after it. The scene is shown for the same length, but for whatever reason the HD master of the 2011 Blu-ray lost the animation part with that cloud in the final part. Before, Mufasa was also seen as a cloud, but the emotional ending of the scene loses some of its impact. As a 4K-interested viewer you can now breathe a sigh of relief, because this mistake has been corrected again on the new UHD disc and you get to see the cloud that was known from VHS and DVD before.
Apart from that, the qualitative gain of the 4K-Blu-ray in comparison to the Blu-ray is admittedly rather manageable, since only a 2K digital intermediate was the basis of the film and the previous Blu-ray could already show reference quality. However, the HDR gimmicks, which are especially visible in colors and contrast values, are definitely an added value, more about this in the Blu-ray.com review.
The same length, but the introductory Disney reference is different.
67:28-67:30 / 67:28-67:30
The beginning of the animation is identical. When Simba can only be seen from the side, the cloud of Mufasa can be seen in the background on the left. This animation layer was missing from the Blu-ray master, probably by accident.
No time difference
Remark: Due to the HDR->SDR-conversion, the picture of the 4K disc is not
reproduced in the original colors here or even looks more colorful in here. For comparison: here are two screenshots of the scene from the last broadcast on German TV tation Sat.1 on November 10, 2018, where the correct original version with the cloud was shown in HD.
And here is another photo
taken directly from the 4K-Blu-ray, directly taken from the TV with a mobile phone camera (correspondingly of course also falsified!).
One more small deviation at the end of the credits. The Blu-ray had an additional info at the end, furthermore the Disney company name below differs.