The Jungle Book based on the adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's
classic novel comes alive in this exciting 40th Anniversary
Platinum Edition, brilliantly restored with enhanced picture
and sound. Experience the song-filled celebration of friendship,
fun and adventure that was the last animated film to receive
Walt Disney's personal touch.
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.
My webmaster should know that I’ve
probably watched this Disney classic umpteenth times. I’ve
watched it when I was a kid in primary school, I’ve
watched it on a disc rented from a video store, I’ve
watched it when it was broadcast on television, and I’ve
even watched it when I was working temporarily at a cable
network station. And why would I still be the one reviewing
it? Is it because of the new digital restoration that makes
Baloo the bear look clearer? Is it because of the catchy tunes
in the 1967 movie that he knows I may dance along to? Or is
it the tons of bonus materials included in this 40th anniversary
edition that proudly says for a “limited time only”?
I’d think it’s all the above
and more, considering how this ageless tale of a man-cub makes
his way back to the human village has enchanted audiences
worldwide with its appealing charm. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s
"Mowgli" story, the 79-minute animated feature sees
the boy facing adventures with monkeys, vultures and a very
fierce tiger while on his way back to where he belongs. There
is fun, there is friendship and there is adventure –
everything you’d expect from a Disney classic.
Being the last movie Walt Disney worked on
before he died, this is a joyously pleasing production which
will make you reminisce about the jolly good times you had
when you were younger. If you find the protagonist Mowgil
extremely likeable, you’d probably have one joyful childhood
Although the animation isn’t what you’d
call technologically wowing today, it is the simple pencil
sketches and the sincere storyline that will engage viewers
both young and old.
There are many characters in this movie that
will provide lots of entertainment. From the hypnotic python
and the militaristic elephants, to the cool British vultures
and the silly apes, their antics and amusing behaviors will
make you laugh in delight.
course, the show belongs to the two animals that act as guardians
to Mowgli: Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther. These
are the kind of big brothers you wish you had – the
kind that tell you about “The Bare Necessities of Life”.
This Special Edition Code 3 edition is loaded with
heaps of extras (two discs worth of them!), and if you are
a Disney fan, you’d definitely want to own it on your
DVD shelf. The classic movie has gotten the royal treatment
Commentary by Richard M. Sherman (composer),
Andrea Deja (animator) and Bruce Reitherman (Mowgli’s
voice) – In this very informative feature length
commentary, you’d hear how the animators created Kaa
the python’s special hypnotic voice, how Walt Disney
acted out Baloo’s dancing steps, and also interestingly
archived interviews of the original film’s animators
weaved into the track. There is also this meaningful bit where
they talk about how if the characters enjoy each other’s
company on screen, the audience will enjoy the moment too.
The Lost Character: Rocky the Rhino –
In this six-minute clip, you’d see a storyboard scene
of Rocky the Rhino, which is described as Mr. Magoo with horns.
If he had not been deleted from the final version of the movie,
he’d be singing a song with the vultures.
Music and More – There is Jonas Brothers’
version of “I Wanna Be Like You”, the 12-minute
“Disney Song Selection” of the four songs featured
in the movie, as well as 21 minutes worth of “Deleted
Songs” which interestingly features a love song entitled
“I Knew I Belonged to Her” sung by Mowgli.
Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund –
This brief three-minute clip features adorable animals from
several of Walk Disney’s animated features like “Bambi”,
“The Lion King” and “Tarzan”. Basically
it’s a feel-good video promoting the conservation fund
founded by Disney to ensure the survival of animals living
in the wild.
The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book
– A very insightful documentary that runs at 46 minutes
long which sees several film historians and animators talk
about how Kipling’s classic novel was given the Disney
treatment. Archival photographs and storyboards illustrate
how the tale came to life with Walt Disney’s master
storytelling skills. Did you know that the movie almost became
a dark and moody animated feature until Walt Disney insisted
for a fun and entertaining treatment?
Kipling: Walt’s Magic Touch on a Literary Classic
– The 15-minute featurette tells you how the original
version jumps forward and backward in time, and how Walt Disney
decided to go for a linear approach and simplified many dramatic
developments to achieve an accessible and entertaining movie.
Lure of The Jungle Book – Animators talk about
how they have been influenced by the Disney classic and talk
about how “a single line can carry so much weight”
(whatever that means), how they watched the movie as a kid
and refused to leave the outdoor theatre even when it started
drizzling. Watch out for Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille)
as he talks about how animated characters should be given
individuality like those in The Jungle Book.
Mowgli’s Return to the Wild –
In this brief five-minute clip, we see the voice of Mowgli,
Bruce Reitherman (son of The Jungle Book’s director,
Wolfgang Reitherman), has grown up to become a nature filmmaker,
while retaining his father’s characteristics of personality
and character in storytelling. It’s nice seeing the
picturesque nature scenes in this clip.
and Ollie – In this four-minute archived featurette,
animating director Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston talk about
how difficult it is to animate animals, citing Kaa the python
and Baloo the bear as examples.
Galleries – A generous platter of pictures
from visual development, character design, storyboard art,
layouts and backgrounds, production photos and publicity are
offered in this section.
Virtual Swingin Jungle Cruise – This one is
for the kids. Baloo brings you through the jungle and plays
interactive games with Kaa the python, Hathi and his army
of elephants and Louie and his monkey gang. I had fun going
through the cruise, even though I’m well above 25 years
Junglemania! – This educational 14-minute featurette
brings us into the deep Indian jungles to meet the real life
counterparts of Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther, Hathi
the elephant and other wild animals from the movie. A lively
narration will ensure that kids will have fun learning about
Jungle Book Fun with Language Games – This
section is for even younger kids, where they have to identify
animals with the help of pictures. This isn’t that fun
for someone who is well above 25 years old.
The disc’s visual transfer refreshes retains the wonderful
animation of the all-time classic, and there are Dolby Digital
5.1 English, Mandarin and Korean, as well as 2.0 Thai and
Cantonese audio tracks for viewers from this part of the world.
by John Li