on 6 September 2013
THE JUNGLE BOOK  [Limited Edition Steelbook] [Blu-ray] The Jungle is a JUMPIN! Swing Into a Safari of Laughs!
The jungle has never looked so lush and sounded so good! Now for the first time, this ultimate exclusive UK Release of the Disney Diamond Limited Edition SteelBook Blu-ray. Disney's song-filled celebration comes vibrantly to life, with a new stunning digital restoration and glorious high definition picture.
Meet the most unforgettable characters and embark on a thrilling adventure with Mowgli, as he journeys deep into the jungle and learns "The Bare Necessities" of life from happy-go-lucky Baloo the bear. Meet Bagheera, the wise old panther and crazy King Louie the orangutan. But watch out for cunning Shere Khan the tiger and Kaa, the ssssneakiest snake in the jungle!
Bursting with wild fun, toe-tapping music and beloved characters, this timeless masterpiece celebrates the true meaning of friendship. Experience all the excitement of Disney's jumpin' jungle classic, and share the wonder with someone you love. Narrated by Sebastian Cabot.
Voice Cast: Sebastian Cabot (Narrator), Phil Harris, Bruce Reitherman, George Sanders, Sterling Holloway, Louis Prima, J. Pat O'Malley, Verna Felton, Clint Howard, Chad Stuart, Lord Tim Hudson, John Abbott, Ben Wright, Darleen Carr, Ralph Wright, Candy Candido (Shere Khan's Roar voice) (uncredited), Leo De Lyon (uncredited), Hal Smith (uncredited), Digby Wolfe (uncredited), Bill Skiles (Monkey) (uncredited) and Pete Henderson (Monkey) (uncredited)
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Producer: Walt Disney
Screenplay: Larry Clemmons, Ralph Wright, Ken Anderson, Vance Gerry, Floyd Norman (uncredited), Bill Peet (uncredited) and Rudyard Kipling (inspired by the Mowgli stories)
Composer: George Bruns (Score), Terry Gilkyson, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (Songs)
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1:75.1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Hindi: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Portuguese and Latin Spanish
Running Time: 76 minutes
Region: Region B/2 and Region C/3
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Mowgli [Bruce Reitherman] the man-cub has been raised by wolves in the Indian jungle since his birth. However, when the wolves learn that the ferocious tiger Shere Kahn [George Sanders] is making his way through the jungle and is looking for food, they decide to send Mowgli to a local man tribe to be safe. On his way to the village he meets a host of interesting, funny, scary and friendly characters that all find Mowgli fascinating, one of these characters - Baloo the Bear [Phil Harris] becomes firm friends with Mowgli and helps him on his travels. But Shere Khan is never far away.
‘The Jungle Book’ was Walt Disney's 19th animated feature and was released too much acclaim in 1967. Loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling novel of the same name, the screenwriters removed some of the darker content so as not to scare the younger audience. This is one of the main reasons why it has such a wide appeal to any age group.
From the opening scenes where the Wolves have to move Mowgli, we were entranced into how he would develop as a human alongside the animals, but also would he be able to evade Shere Khan or become another one of his mighty conquests. Whilst quite a savage idea initially, the story really comes into its own when the cast of characters pop up along the way. The wise, old Panther Bagheera who dishes out some sound advice for the young boy, is a joy and he also becomes a guiding light for Mowgli in his travels.
One of our favourite parts of ‘The Jungle Book’ is the visit to the palace of crazy King Louie the orang-utan, and he is one of the most crazy characters Disney have ever produced! But we can't help but laugh at his ruling antics over his subjects and his singing.
The way the animators and voice cast put evilness into Shere Khan and Kaa the snake will never be forgotten no matter what age we are and they are two of the most dangerous and frightening characters ever seen on screen. However, the story is lightened up by the appearance of Baloo the Bear, a slow moving, no-troubles type character that is loved by all and hated by none. His love of Mowgli is a wonder to see, and it really shows towards the end of the film.
But we always want to hear him sing “The Bear Necessities,” a song that has lasted throughout the years and never gets old. There is something very fitting about the song, and Phil Harris [voice of Baloo] had such a wonderfully dulcet tone to his voice that it never moves throughout the whole range. We wish we had a Baloo to keep us company!
The animation is some of the best Walt Disney has ever produced. The animals are incredibly drawn with such precision it must have taken hours for each cell to be made. But what really stands out is the background artwork; having most of the film set in the jungle would have been tricky but the artists that worked on the background have done such a masterful job. It's difficult to ignore what is happening in the background, with just the leaves of a tree floating to the ground or the steady water running down stream.
‘The Jungle Book’ was also the first time that many of the primary vocal artists in an animated Disney animation film were stars in their own right. Disney animated features had always been well cast but only rarely with easily recognizable star voices. Here, apart from the voice of Mowgli, the voice talent on display was stellar, and the roles couldn’t be better or more ingratiatingly cast. Phil Harris walks away with the picture as the easy-going Baloo, Sterling Holloway hisses coyly as Raa, and Sebastian Cabot grounds the film rather regally as Bagheera. And no one can do haughty and intimidating like George Sanders.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The film is presented at a 1.75:1 aspect ratio and is delivered in 1080p resolution. For those who found the scrubbed look of previous releases like 'The Sword in the Stone' problematic, there won’t be any relief from worry with this release. Grain is once again a mere memory, and the DNR [Digital Noise Reduction] applied has a deleterious effect on fine-line animation like whiskers on the animals, which seem to fade in and out if one looks closely. Motion sometimes gets affected by the processing, too, blurring certain shots strangely. Sharpness ebbs and flows as well with all the processing especially in certain shots that aren’t close-ups. Colour is balanced and strong without any bleeding, and there is no banding to be seen. Please Note: Playback Region B/2 and C/3: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix doesn’t make full use of that wide soundstage, but it certainly is the best the film as ever sounded on home video. The musical numbers find themselves spread through the available channels and occasionally some of George Bruns background score is also expanded beyond the front soundstage, and there is one neat effect where a voice’s echoes bounce around the rears. But most of the dialogue has been placed in the centre channel.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Introductions [1080p] [2:00] Diane Disney-Miller and songwriter Richard Sherman give separate introductions to the film. They are brief, but nice all the same.
Special Feature: Never Seen Before: Insuring a Future for Wildlife and Wild Places [4:00] Is a commercial promoting Disney's positive work with nature's creatures, from their extensive cinematic history to the Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida.
Special Feature: Alternate Ending: Mowgli and the Hunter [1080p] [9:00] There's a brand new "recently discovered" alternate ending for the movie which apparently they'd only had a script for, so a present day artist storyboarded the whole idea out and animated and narrated it and is animated, sketch-y storyboard form. To be honest, it's an absolutely terrible idea for an ending, and I can see why it got scrapped and lost. In this version, Mowgli goes to the village, while meeting a new hunter villain, and finds his original parents. After living with them for a short while, he goes back to the jungle. The hunter then believes there's treasure in the jungle and goes to the ape city to try to get it. There's also a showdown with Shere Khan that ends in his death. The version seen in the finished film is infinitely better.
Special Feature: Growing Up With Nine Old Men  [45:00] For those who don't know, Disney's Nine Old Men were the original group of core animators who worked for Walt Disney. The bonus short features Ted speaking with the other "kids" the grown-up sons and daughters of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men. I found this bonus feature very charming, and it was interesting to glimpse into the world of the Nine Old Men from a different point of view. Ted Thomas is an amiable and folksy interviewer, and clearly has a kinship with those who went through a similar childhood as he did.
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Richard Sherman (half of the song-writing team), Andreas Deja (current Disney animator and fan of the film), and Bruce Reitherman (voice of Mowgli and son of the director): Consider this audio track a master class in professional appreciation: each participant extols the virtues of the "Jungle Book," from the character animation quirks to the unforgettable soundtrack. While it lacks a coldly informational tone, it's nonetheless a treat to hear those connected to the production point out the idiosyncrasies of the animation film. For added historical oomph, archival audio recordings of Larry Clemmons (screenwriter), Ollie Johnston (animation legend), and Wolfgang Reitherman (director) are included in the discussion.
Special Feature: The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book  [480i] [46:27] This is a really marvellous encapsulation of how the film came to be and Walt Disney's lasting impressions. This documentary is one of the most interesting and revealing on any of the Disney classics, not shying away from some of the turmoil that occurred behind-the-scenes before ‘The Jungle Book’ made it to the screen.
Special Feature: Music and More: Deleted Songs [21:00] Presents the full work of composer Terry Gilkyson, who was replaced by the Sherman Brothers once Walt Disney decided to flip ‘The Jungle Book’ project sunny-side up. The songs collected here seem more suited to a Rankin/Bass special than a feature film, but it's an invaluable piece of history, allowing viewers a rare listen to the film's more ambitious origins. The audio quality is a little rough and possibly from a phonograph source, and contains the tracks: "Brothers All;" "The Song of the Seeonee;" "The Bare Necessities" (a demo version of the lone song that wasn't discarded); "Monkey See; Monkey Do;" "I Knew I Belonged To Her;" "In A Day's Work" and "The Mighty Hunters" and if you want to know why the heart of rock & roll has stopped beating, watch this train wreck of a cover song.
Special Feature: Sing Along With The Movie: Disney Song Selection [13:00] Offers up some karaoke, with the songs "Colonel Hathi's March;” "Bare Necessities;" "I Wan'na Be Like You" and "That's What Friends Are For." You can view the scenes with or without lyrics.
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes: The Lost Character [7:00] Rocky the Rhino is a short feature exploring the deleted character of Rocky, a dim-witted rhinoceros (voiced by Frank Fontaine) who factored into Mogwli's interaction with the Beatlesque vultures. Walt just wasn't feeling the continual aggression toward the Man-Cub was benefiting the animation film's pace, thus a removal of Rocky and a slight reinvention of the vultures was in order. Rocky's scene is presented here in a series of fully-voiced storyboards.
Special Feature: Disneypedia [480i] [14:00] Here we take a trip into the jungles of India to learn about the real life counterparts to your favourite animals that you see in the Disney animation film ‘The Jungle Book.’
Finally, ‘The Jungle Book’ is an exquisite family film that never becomes old, no matter how many times you see it. The animation film feels like it could live on forever and especially with this brand new UK exclusive Disney Diamond Limited Edition SteelBook Blu-ray, which is only available to us in the United Kingdom. The quality is breath taking and does the animation film justice with a great selection of added extras that will keep the family entertained for hours. The animation is beautifully crafted, the story is heart-warming and the songs just put a huge smile on your face, which you will automatically sing-a-long to. A classic in every sense of the term and that is why I am so proud to have this in my Walt Disney Blu-ray Collection. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom