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DVD Review: Jungle Book - 2-Disc Platinum Edition


Disney's at it again, releasing another one of their classic gems on DVD as a 2-Disc Platinum Edition. This time, it's the 1967 film Jungle Book. They really must have done some kind of re-mastering or something, as the picture looks extremely crisp and bright. Normally you wouldn't see picture quality this good in such an old film. And actually, looking at the back of the DVD case, I see it says "All-New Digital Restoration With Enhanced Picture and Sound". I doubt anyone cares about that normally, I know I sure don't, but on this one, you can really tell.

The story, as if you didn't know, is about a boy named Mowgli who was raised by wolves ever since he was just a wee baby. Life is good for Mowgli and all his animal buddies, until one day the fierce tiger Shere Khan returns to their part of the jungle. Shere Khan hates man with a vengeance, and so it's decided that Mowgli must be returned to the human village before Shere Khan gets to sink his razor sharp teeth into the boy. The lucky animal chosen to oversee Mowgli's return is the one who originally found Mowglis, Panther Bagheera.

Of course, we all know how stubborn young boys can be, and Mowgli is no different. So when he learns he's gonna have to leave the only family he's ever known, he refuses. And thus the adventure begins. Mowgli's escape attempts from Bagheer lead him to meet many new jungle creatures, such as Kaa the python, Colonel Hathi the elephant, lovable Baloo the bear, King Louie the orangutan, and more. Some of them become good friends, while others... not so much. But they all come together to create a wonderfully sweet adventure.

Anyone who knows me is aware that, on average, I'm not too fond of musicals. As with most Disney cartoons, this has a selection of songs that popup throughout the film. In this movie, all of these musical sections flow extremely naturally. The work with the movie to give it the right emotional feel at the right times. Unlike some other films, the song sections here never feel forced or out-of-place. And all the songs are actually enjoyable! You know how sometimes you've just gotta chapter skip with a certain song starts? Well, not here you don't. This is really a good classic that works for both kids and adults.

Here is the official press release, which does a good job of highlighting this new release:

On October 2nd, Walt Disney Home Entertainment will celebrate The Jungle Book’s 40th anniversary with the 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD. In addition to enhanced picture and sound, this jumpin’ jungle Disney classic was the last animated film Walt personally touched. The Jungle Book 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD is overflowing with not only memorable characters like the wise panther Bagheera, happy-go-lucky bear Baloo, and the menacing tiger Shere Khan, but amazing special features that both new adventurers and seasoned explorers are sure to enjoy.

The all-new bonus features include a new member of The Jungle Book family, the long lost character created for the original film and discovered for the first time - Rocky, a near-sighted and short tempered, but hilarious rhinoceros. “The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book” featurette takes a look at Walt Disney’s contributions to his animated swan song and also examines how director Woolie Reitherman filled the legend’s shoes when putting the final touches on the production. “Disney’s Kipling” examines Walt’s interpretation of the Rudyard Kipling’s “Mowgli Stories,” and a film commentary from original animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and director Woolie Reitherman is presented alongside commentary from current top animated filmmakers including Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”), Glen Keane (Disney’s “The Little Mermaid), and Andreas Deja (Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast,” and “The Lion King”).

In “Mowgli’s Return to the Jungle”, Bruce Reitherman, the voice of Mowgli and the son of Woolie, shares his memories of making the film and how the experiences influenced his current job as a wildlife filmmaker. The swinging jungle fun continues with an all-new suite of games: “Baloo’s Virtual Swingin’ Jungle Cruise,” and much, much more!

Embark on a thrilling, adventure-filled journey with the boy, Mowgli as he makes his way to the man-village with Bagheera, the wise panther. Along the way he meets jazzy King Louie, the hypnotic snake Kaa and the lovable, happy-go-lucky bear Baloo, who teaches Mowgli “The Bare Necessities” of life and the true meaning of friendship. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s “Mowgli Stories,” The Jungle Book is the final film Walt Disney produced (his 19th) and will become Disney’s 10th title to be honored with Platinum status. The original cast includes a pair of “Winnie the Pooh” stars: voice of Pooh himself, Sterling Holloway as python Kaa, and Sebastian Cabot speaking for Bagheera the panther. Oscar winner George Sanders (All About Eve) voiced tiger Shere Khan. Bruce Reitherman, son of director Woolie, played Mowgli, with Phil Harris as Baloo the bear.

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