DVD review: “The Lion Guard: Life in the Pride Lands”

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Back in the day, Disney would often spin-off their mega successful films into an animated series such as Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. The Lion Guard is the studio’s latest animated television series, which premiered nearly a year ago, featuring the adventures of Kion, the son of Simba (the protagonist of The Lion King) and his friends as they aim to protect their homeland.

However, this would be Disney’s second attempt to expand the world of the 1994 animated classic. A year after The Lion King was released, Disney commissioned an animated television spinoff starring the hilarious duo of Timon and Pumbaa. In the end, Timon and Pumbaa’s Wild Adventures ended after five seasons and racked up a couple of Daytime Emmys including Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for Nathan Lane as Timon.

The latest DVD compilation of the animated series, The Lion Guard: Life in the Pride Lands features five episodes which includes the series premiere The Rise of Makuu and the season finale Never Roar Again. In the show, The Lion King characters are not the primary focus of The Lion Guard as each episode is built around a problem in the Pride Lands, a musical number, the resolution to the problem and a recap of what was the lesson of the episode. It is quite a simplistic formula that would provide enough entertainment for children who like The Lion King or any particular Disney animated programming. The voice cast is impressive Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union as Kion’s parents, Simba and Nala; Ernie Sabella reprising his role from The Lion King as Pumbaa and guest voices that includes Blair Underwood, Christian Slater, Ron Funches and Ana Gasteyer.

The bonus features include two music videos and a series of short films entitled It’s Unbungalievable where The Lion Guard characters Bunga and Ono share some real animals with kids with footage courtesy of Disneynature. The DVD sets also comes with five different colored wristbands that represents each member of the Lion Guard.

The Lion Guard: Life in the Pride Lands is an amusing take on The Lion King as children will be entertained by the antics of the array of characters that populate the animated series and educated by each lesson learned by the Kion and his pals.

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