The Disney team have done a fine job of polishing up this 40 year old classic. The picture looks great but the improvement serves to highlight that this is a long way from the highpoints of artwork that was achieved in earlier animation such as "snow white & the seven dwarfs' or 'bambi'. The backgrounds are basic & the characters drawn without much detail. So too the story is extremely basic & ends quite abruptly. So how come this is seen as such a classic? Well for one the characterization is spot on but most of all the songwriting is for my money the best Disney have ever produced & the actors turned each song into a classic. Obviously Phil Harris singing 'Bear neccessities' is memorable but so too are Sterling Holloway,(also the voice of Pooh for Disney), as Kaa the snake slithering his way through 'trust in me', far funnier than you remember & superbly timed. Best of all though are the peerless Louis Prima's impromptu scat on 'King of the swingers' as king Loius which is superb right up to the point when Phil Harris joins in the pair take it to even greater heights with their competing vocals. Quite frankly the DVD is worth the entrance price for this alone.
The sound is an even greater improvement than the picture & the 5.1 mix is vibrant with great use given to the rear surrounds.
The extras are fine, especially the unusually candid commentary & doc.
This deserved a decent release & so this DVD is a pleasure to own.
on 5 May 2007
It cant get any better than this. Disney beloved animated classic "The Jungle Book" finally gets the long overdue special edition treatment. This new 40th Anniversary release will include an all-new digital restoration of the film and for the very first time ever, this release will feature the movie in 1.75:1 widescreen aspect ratio (Please be aware that "Jungle Book" was filmed in 1.37:1 aspect ratio and was cropped for its theatrical screenings. The movie loses a little from top and bottom here in this restored version so think twice before selling off your old copies which featured the movie in its original fullscreen ratio). Along with a 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix soundtrack, this edition includes a restored original theatrical soundtrack too. French and Spanish language tracks will also appear on the disc. According to dvdtimes, extras on this platinum edition will include:
Audio Commentary - Combines comments from current animators with audio from the original creative team who made the film
The Lost Character: Rocky The Rhino - For the first time ever, the near-sighted, short-tempered rhinoceros named Rocky is brought to the screen using original storyboards and original voice recordings by Frank Fontaine.
The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book - A comprehensive look at the last animated film that Walt Disney produced using existing archival footage in addition to new interviews with Richard Sherman, Brad Bird, Glen Keane, Eric Goldberg, James Baxter, Will Fi'nn, Andreas Deja, Burny Mattinson Ted Thomas, Bruce Reitherman, John Culhane, John Canemaker and Neal Gabler--plus a never-before-seen collection of artwork and treatments from the film
Disney's Kipling: Walt's Magic Touch on A Literary Classic - A discarded film treatment from 1963 includes scenes from Kipling's "Mowgli Stories" and more are used to illustrate Walt's interpretation of the literary masterpiece
The Lure of The Jungle Book - Many of today's biggest names in animation were inspired to pursue their careers after seeing The Jungle Book; this feature examines this phenomenon and features new interviews with Brad Bird, Andreas Deja, Sergio Pablo, Will Finn and Eric Goldberg.
Mowgli's Return to the Jungle - Learn about nature filmmaking and the experience of making The Jungle Book firsthand from Bruce Reitherman, the voice of Mowgli.
Baloo's Virtual Swingin' Jungle Cruise - Join everyone's favourite bear in this set-top and DVD-ROM game on an adventure through the jungle: enjoy fun activities and musical challenges, but keep an eye out because there's no telling what's on the other side of the river bend!
English Learning Feature
Still Frame Art Gallery
This 40th Anniversary edition of Jongle Book will be available for a limited time only. So bring home Mowgli, Baghira, Baloo and Shere khan and all the lovable characters we've all grown up with, before they go back to Disney vault again!
on 13 March 2000
The feature-length cartoons Disney continues to produce are fine films, but nowhere near as good as classics like The Jungle Book. Unburdened by the modern-day Disney habit of giving every film a heavy family-friendly moral message, the Jungle Book is just 100% pure fun, with a cool hero (Mowgli), entertaining friends (especially the bear Baloo) and some great villainous characters (most memorably Shere Khan the tiger). This movie was made years before Phil Collins or Elton John were drafted in as cartoon soundtrack composers, and the songs are just awesome - "The Bare Necessities", "I Wanna Be Like You" and Kaa the snake's hissed encouragement to "Trust in Me". Get this video before the distributors withdraw it again!
on 4 November 2007
Walt Disney has given us so much over the last hundred years (well, not quite...but getting there!), some of it wonderful and some - particularly of late - distinctly mediocre (though Ratatouille is a triumph).
Everyone has their favourite Disney film - his own was apparently Bambi - but I'm sure a great many of us would pick this one. It was the first film I was ever taken to see at a cinema, so for me there's no contest.
Its influence extends to this day - just the other month I bought a Louis Prima CD set, memories of his towering performance as the voice of Orang-Utang King Louie burned forever into my memory. And as for The Bear Necessities, they play it in clubs nowadays...and it fills the dancefloor!
Indeed, despite Disney often being accused of cheapening or Americanising children's classics (and none of us who live in London will ever quite forgive Dick Van Dyke's accent in Mary Poppins), this film stands up a whole lot better than the book which inspired it, Kipling having been neither even a tad politically correct nor an instinctive children's writer. In some ways, however, the film echoes the sixties in which it was made: the vultures are clearly based on The Beatles and a couple have reasonable Scouse accents. One sounds like Stanley Holloway in My Fair Lady, but there you go - at least it's not Dick Van Dyke!
And now those Vultures will be joined by a new character - a rhino Uncle Walt didn't like at the audition. It may be a gimmick but I'm a little bit intrigued. Aren't you?
A marvellous film for kids and adults alike - and what a Christmas present!
on 12 September 2014
I've always loved Jungle Book. It's possibly one of my favourites growing up. The music, the characters, the story line....I just love it. It's about a boy who's left in the Jungle and raised by....why am I explaining this? You now the rest.
I've found it difficult to get some children to sit down and watch this as they're into their computer animated movies nowadays and this has a different feel that some children don't particularly like. It's all about the fast action from the get go. Disney has definitely changed. But its a good one to watch with the family and to them dancing along. (I still dance along to Baloo and King Louie's dance moves in that famous scene - albeit 20 years later).
This edition has little extras such as going around Animal Kingdom and looking at the real life animals that are shown in the movie. A great educational extra for little ones (and myself). It's a must-buy in my opinion
Disney's very American version of Rudyard Kipling's stories ends pretty much where Zoltan Korda's impressive and undervalued 1942 live-action film began, with Mowgli's return to the Man Village, but is in its own way much more enjoyable.
Due to their huge expense animated features are shorter than modern-day live-action, but as a result they have the virtue of the snappy pacing of Hollywood's Golden Age when the 70-minute running time ruled supreme. It's good clear storytelling filled with memorable characters who make their mark and keep it moving along. There's no real complexity, just great star turns.
Phil Harris' hip John Wayneish bear Baloo pretty much dominates the film and has all the best lines (and songs), but not for want of competition. Sterling Holloway's Kaa is one of Disney's best comical villains creations, so much so that he reappeared (more-or-less) as Sir Hiss in Robin Hood, as did a barely disguised Baloo as Little John. Sebastian Cabot is a perfect mixture of gravity and exasperation as Bagheera while George Sanders' Shere Khan, a perfect portrait of urbane menace, is truly inspired casting. Only the Vultures, modelled very unconvincingly on The Beatles, fail to hit the heights.
The slight limitations of the Xerox animation style are particularly noticeable, particularly after the studio moved back to the classic style in the 90s before moving to computer animation, but was an unfortunate consequence of Disney having massively reduced the size of the animation division in the Sixties. Similarly, the film is overly reliant on the musical numbers (The Bare Necessities notwithstanding, the highlight is definitely the I Wanna Be Like You number), but it remains infectious fun. More of a party than an adventure, it's a ball. Altogether now: Oo-be-do....
The Blu-ray release carries over most, but not all of the extras from the two disc DVD edition (the rejected songs have not been carried over), though these are neither enhanced for hi-definition nor anamorphic, meaning you watch most of them with black bars around all four edges. Pride of place goes to the 46-minute making of documetary that doesn't ignore the sporadically troubled production that saw production dragging on so long that the original Mowgli, David Alan Bailey, had to be replaced after his voice broke and, more seriously, Disney falling out with veteran storyman Bill Peet, who wanted a much darker tone more in line with the book and 1942 film (a rift that would never be resolved), or his dislike of Terry Gilkyson's original songs (so much so that the animators had to plead with him to at least keep The Bare Necessities in the film after he commissioned new songs by the Sherman Brothers). There's much appreciation for the film's remarkable character animation and a touching recounting of the effect Disney's death towards the end of production had on the animators. Also included are a deleted scene, alternate ending and a slew of new featurettes for the Blu-ray release, though not, curiously, any of the film's trailers. Purists might swant to note that only the region-free US release includes the film's original mono soundtrack - all other international releases only include a more recent stereo remix.
on 10 February 2004
This is one of those films that you simply can't go wrong with.
My one year old son calls for "Jungle" on a daily basis and routinely announces the appearance of all the animals... "jungle" (Bagheera the panther), "bear" (Baloo the bear), "phunt" (Elephants), "tiger" (Shere Khan), "neck" (Kaa The Snake), "monkey" (King Louis the orang utan).
As for me, in my thirty-somethings... I just enjoy the story of friendship, loyalty, and down-right wackyness. And I can't help but love the music from the days when Disney films just made toe-tappingly catchy music instead of going for grand-scale Oscar nomination material.
I defy anyone not to have "Bear Necessities", "I Wanna Be Like You" or "Trust In Me" buzzing round their head 24 hours after watching this classic film.
Disney have produced some remarkable films over the years but this must surely feature in anyone's top ten.
Jungle Book arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.75:1 encode. Instead of meticulously touch-up for high definition release, Disney simply scrubbed away all the natural grain, which makes the final product having too much glossy sheen. Maybe Disney is simply presenting a classic movie for a generation of youngsters who are used to artificially clean animation. At least the noise reduction is not as disastrous at that in The Sword in the Stone (my review elsewhere). Here, the sketch lines are still fairly distinct. Colours are nicely saturated, primaries are quite lovely, black levels are deep, and contrast is dialed in beautifully. This being a Diamond Edition, I am slightly disappointed with Disney’s efforts. (3.5/5)
Disney has upgraded the audio to DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio lossless track. The music and lyrics are crystal clear. Dialogue is crisp and natural. George Burns score and the Sherman Brothers' songs sound better than they ever have, as does the entire experience. The song Bare Necessities, written by Terry Gilkyson and performed by Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman, was nominated for Best Original Song in 1967, but lost to Talk to The Animals from Doctor Dolittle. (4.5/5)
Did you know that the Vultures were originally going to be voiced by The Beatles? The band's manager, Brian Epstein, approached the Disney studios about having The Beatles appear in the film, and Disney had his animators create the Vultures specifically to be voiced by the band. But when Epstein took the idea to the Beatles, John Lennon vetoed the idea, and told Epstein to tell Disney he should hire Elvis Presley instead. The look of The Vultures, with their mop-top haircuts and Liverpool voices, are a homage to The Beatles; one bird's voice and features are clearly based on Ringo Starr. When the Beatles departed the project, the song was rewritten as a barbershop quartet, to make it timeless.
Jungle Book is one of the true Disney classics, but one that is curiously overlooked when people start remembering the best Disney movies. It's so playful, so wonderfully inventive with its animation and songs that it'll no doubt be loved by future generations of kids. The video may be problematic at times, but for the most part it turns out fine. The audio mix is very well-rounded, providing ample oomph to the Sherman soundtrack. This is still a fun and memorable movie and is still highly recommended.
The Jungle Book was originally a series if stories written in1894 by Rudyard Kipling, who was born in India. They used anthropomorphised animals to teach morality to children and inspired the cub scout movement. Three of these stories are about Mowgli, the hero of the film.
In the film, Mowgli, an orphan, is found in a basket, deep in the jungle by Bagheera, a black panther. Bagheera takes him to a wolf who brings him up with her cubs. We see Mowgli ten years later, playing with his wolf cub brothers and sisters. He has become wise in the ways of the jungle.
Shere Khan, a man-eating tiger, has returned to the jungle. The wolves realise that Mowgli must be taken for safety to the "Man-Village" and Bagheera offers to take him back. However, Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle. He meets Kaa the python, quarrels with Bagheera and takes up with Baloo the bear. Baloo and Bagheera eventually deliver a reluctantly Mowgli to the man village, where the solution proves simple - he meets a beautiful girl and instantly decides to stay.
One of the chief joys of the film is the wonderful music, often jazz style, such as 'The Bare Necessities' and 'I Wanna Be Like You.'
Animation, casting and production are all great. Phil Harris as the voice of Baloo and Louie Prima as King Louie are particularly wonderful. The animation is gloriously imaginative and witty.
This was the final film produced by Walt Disney himself; he died in 1966. I can't recommend it enough, a wonderful classic film that deserves to be enjoyed by generations of children.
on 14 January 2006
I fell in love with it when I was a child and I still love it now I'm an adult. The songs are amazing and so are the voice actors, including the amazing Phil Harris who also did Thomas O'Malley from the Aristocats and Little John from Robin Hood. A brilliant movie for all the family and a must buy.