February 12, 2014

The Jungle Book (1967)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

78 mins. G
16x9 1.78:1

Format
Blu-Ray

Audio
English - DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio
French - DD 5.1
Spanish - DD 5.1

Subtitles
English, French, Spanish

Extras
Alternate Ending, Featurettes, Sing-Along, DVD version, Digital Copy

Starring
Bruce Reitherman, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders, Phil Harris

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(1967)

Disney's 1967 animated feature "The Jungle Book" is probably one of the most beloved classics the studio produced during its golden era and after a succession of DVD releases, the film is finally available in high definition for the very first time. Clearly, it was candidate we had to check out.

Based on Rudyard Kipling's novel, the movie tells the story of a baby boy abandoned in the Indian Jungle. Just before the baby starves to death, he is adopted by a family of wolves who raise him as one of their own, calling him Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman). But as Mowgli grows up under the watchful eyes of the panther Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot), eventually he gets to the point where the "man cub" outgrows the life in the jungle and Bagheera decides that Mowgli should be returned to the world of humans before the man-eating tiger Shere Khan (George Sanders) will find and devour him.

With a heavy heart, Bagheera leads Mowgli towards a human village where he hopes the boy will find a new family, but their path is strewn with complications. From boa constrictors to the ape King Louis and the dancing bear Baloo (Phil Harris), not everyone wants Mowgli to leave the jungle and mingle with humans.

The story of Mowgli is as timeless as the film itself, filled with great classic animation and cool songs. In this high definition transfer, the artistry of the film truly shines, as every line is reproduced flawlessly. Whether it's a soft pencil outline that shows the actual paper grain or the beautifully hand painted backgrounds, everything in the Blu-Ray version of "The Jungle Book" shines. With its incredible level of detail and the powerful color reproduction, the movie has never looked more alive and does not have a dated feel at all.

The release contains a 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio track that has been completely remixed and remastered, making sure that the track sounds as contemporary as the imagery on the screen. Even though surround usage is limited, what effects are there, work fine and create an active sound stage. The remastering of the track ensures a good bass extension that makes sure the track doesn't sound harsh, dated or tinny. PArticularly during the musical numbers this is evident, but also during general dialogue where voices never seem clipped.

The release contains a number of bonus features, including an recently discovered alternate ending to the film. Because it has never been produced, one of the Disney decided to story board the ending and presents it as clip with narration.

Other bonus materials include Sing-Alongs, as well as behind-the-scenes featurettes, covering various aspects such as the music, the characters, animation and more. Also included on the release is an introduction by the late Diane Disney Miller and song writer Richard R. Sherman.

This Diamond Edition also contains the DVD version of the movie as well as a Digital HD Digital Copy. Also included in the packaging is a small color booklet with Jungle Book-themed games for kids.

"The Jungle Book" is one of the Disney Classics fans have been waiting for to get their hands on in high definition, and this Diamond Edition Blu-Ray release certainly doesn't disappoint. With a spectacular feature presentation and a nice assortment of family oriented bonus features, this is the release you have been waiting for. Just make sure you grab a copy before it disappears in the Disney vault again, because like all disney Animation classics, "The Jungle Book" will be available for a limited time only.


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