Blu-ray Review: The Jungle Book (Diamond Edition)
Before he tragically passed away in 1966, Walt Disney produced his last film, Wolfgand Reitherman’s The Jungle Book. Hailed as one of the greatest animated Disney films, The Jungle book follows Mowgli, a young indian boy who after being separated from his family is raised in the jungle by a pack of wolves. When the wolves find out that man-eating tiger Shere Khan has returned to the jungle, they entrust a black panther Bagheera, to bring the boy back to human civilization. On his long journey home, Mowgli meets a few new friends, a couple enemies, and enjoys some great musical numbers.
Sure the story is a little simple, but that really isn’t what most people care about when watching what is considered to be a “family movie”. Momentarily ignoring the animation, the film’s greatest aspect is the catchy music written by the Sherman brothers. Viewers are sure to be humming “The Bear Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You” long after the film ends.
In the new “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray release, The Jungle Book looks and sounds greater than ever before. While the disc does contain the original monaural soundtrack, viewers will certainly want to take advantage of the new 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which sounds fantastic. The image on the Blu-ray is also quite strong. It is clean from any dirt or scratches, but only so much can be done with a hand drawn animated film.
The Blu-ray contains the special features available on the previous DVD release as well as all new supplements exclusive to the “Diamond Edition”. The new supplements include:
Music, Memories and Mowgli: A Conversation with Richard M. Sherman, Diane Disney Miller and Floyd Norman. This is definitely the best featurette on the disc, the problem is it only runs just over nine minutes. Music, Memories and Mowgli looks back on the making of the film with songwriter Richard M. Sherman, Walt Disney’s daughter Diane, and animator Floyd Norman. In classic Disney fashion, much of the feature is spent reminiscing about Walt, and what an amazing man he was.
Alternate Ending – Mowgli and the Hunter. Don’t get too excited, this isn’t a true alternate ending to the film. Presented are a series of storyboards for an ending that was pitched but scrapped, narrated with a little too much enthusiasm by a young Disney animator. Though this ending isn’t exactly family friendly, it actually may have made for a better conclusion than the simple one attached to the film.
I Wan’na Be Like You: Hanging Out at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. This excruciating twenty-minute feature is essentially a drawn out commercial for Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando Florida. Avoid at all costs.
Bear-e-oke. Sure the pun is clever, but this “karaoke” version is pretty useless. You can try to sing along, but the words show up on the screen AFTER they are sung in the song.