The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 8, 2014 by Dennis Amith
Another magnificent Disney release on Blu-ray! For those who grew up with “The Jungle Book” or parents or grandparents who want to introduce it to their children/grandchildren, you can’t go wrong with “The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition”. Highly recommended!
TITLE: The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition
FILM RELEASE: 1967
DURATION: 78 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Original Theatrical Mix, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
RATED: G (General Audiences)
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Inspired by “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling
Written by Larry Clemmons, Ralph Wright, Ken Anderson, Vance Gerry
Music by George Bruns
Edited by Tom Acosta, Norman Carlisle
Featuring the voices of:
Phil Harris as “Baloo” the Bear
Sebastian Cabot as “Bagheera” the Panther
Bruce Reitherman as “Mowgli” the Man Cub
George Sanders as Shere Khan the Tiger
Sterling Holloway as “Kaa” the Snake
Louis Prima as King Louie of the Apes
J. Pat O’Malley as Col. Hathi the Elephant/Buzzie
Now for the first time ever on Blu-ray with glorious digital high definition, Disney’s Jumpin’ Jungle Classic has never looked so lush or sounded so good. Beloved characters, swinging music and new behind-the-scenes bonus features make this Diamond Edition Blu‐ray a must-have for every family’s classic collection.
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 the cunning tiger Shere Khan and Kaa, the ssssneakiest snake in the jungle.
Explore your family’s wild side as you venture into The Jungle Book for extraordinary adventures and a heartwarming tale that celebrates the true meaning of friendship.
Back in 1893-1895, English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling wrote a collection of stories that were published in various magazines and give moral lessons to young readers. The stories would go on to be known as “The Jungle Book”.
A beloved classic, Walt Disney and writer Bill Peet decided that the 19th animated feature would be “The Jungle Book” featuring a storyline inspired by Kipling’s stories (Disney did not want the darker storyline to be in the animated film, since the goal was to create a family film) but also incorporating music.
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman (“Robin Hood”, “101 Dalmatians”, “The AristoCats”), the film would be known as the last film for Walt Disney, who passed away during the film’s production.
The film would also feature famous musicians such as Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders and Louis Prima and feature music by the Sherman Brothers and Gilkyson. The film made for around $2 million would earn over $73 million in the box office for its first release and since then, has made over $202 million in theatrical re-releases.
The film would lead to a live-action film from Disney but also a sequel titled “The Jungle Book 2”.
And now the Disney animated classic, “The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition” will be released on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Digital Copy in February 2014.
“The Jungle Book” begins with a black panther finding a young orphan baby in a basket and bringing it to a mother wolf who raises the young boy along with her cubs.
Ten years later, as Mowgli has been raised in the jungle, he has learned life along with his wolf siblings.
But the wolf tribe receive word that Shere Khan (a Bengal tiger), has returned to the jungle and fear for Mowgli’s life. So, Bagheera, the black panther must take him back to the “man village” to ensure his safety.
But Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle, but he is unaware of the dangers especially the hypnotizing python named Kaa.
As Mowgli tries to find ways to stay in the jungle, such as trying to join the elephant patrol, tired of boy not listening to him, Bagheera leaves Mowgli alone and during his time alone, he meets a bear named Baloo.
Baloo is carefree, not so smart but he instantly befriends Mowgli and promises the raise the boy, so he doesn’t have to go back to the man village.
But when Mowgli is kidnapped by monkeys, can Baloo and Bagheera save him? And what happens when Shere Khan overhears their conversation? Will Mowgli be safe in the jungle?
“The Jungle Book” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:75:1 aspect ratio). The animation looks absolutely magnificent on Blu-ray! Colors are vibrant, no white specks, dust or any visual problems can be seen with this new digital restoration. Colors are much more vibrant, backgrounds tend to show much better clarity and I didn’t notice any banding issues. The animation has a sketched style in which the line art is well-done, no jagged edges.
This is the best I have ever seen of “The Jungle Book” and Disney fans should be very pleased with the overall picture quality!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French and SpanishDolby Digital 5.1, and English Original Theatrical Mix. Lossless audio is crystal clear through the center and front channels, while surround channels would feature various isolated instruments.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Music, Memories & Mowgli – (9:49) A conversation with Richard Sherman, Diane Disney Miller and Floyd Norman.
- Alternate Ending – Mowgli and the Hunter – (8:46) Raymond Percy, story artist creates an alternate ending found in Disney archives and recreating the ending via storyboards.
- I Wan’Na Be Like You: Hangin’ Out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – (18:25) Disney teen hosts hang out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Bear-e-Oke Sing Along – (12:47) Featuring five karaoke songs.
- Disney Animation: Sparking Creativity – (9:14) A featurette on today’s generation of Disney animators.
- The Bare Necessities: The Making of the Jungle Book – (46:27) The original “Making Of” featurette of “The Jungle Book”.
- Disney’s Kipling: Walt’s Magic Touch on a Literary Classic – (15:01) A featurette on Walt Disney’s approach to “The Jungle Book”.
- The Lure of the Jungle Book – (9:28) A featurette on the popularity of “The Jungle Book”.
- Mowgli’s Return to the Wild – (5:09) Bruce Reitherman, the voice of Mowgli talks about working on the film and his father who was an animator for the film.
- Frank & Ollie – (3:46) Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston discuss the character animation of the film.
- Deleted Scene – (6:36) A deleted scene featuring the lost character, Rocky the Rhino.
- Disneypedia: Junglemania – (14:21) A Disney encyclopedia.
- Disney Song Selection – (12:47) Featuring five songs from “The Jungle Book”.
- I Wan’na Be Like You Music Video – (2:51) “I Wan’na Be Like You” music video performed by the Jonas Brothers.
- Audio Commentary – Audio Commentary by Richard Sherman, animator Andreas Deja and the voice of Mowgli Bruce Reitherman plus guest archival appearances.
- Pause Menu – When the film is paused, music and animation is featured.
“The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition” comes with a slipcover and a 12-page activity book. Also, include is a DVD and digital HD copy code, so one can watch the movie anywhere in Digital HD.
When it comes to Disney animated classics that I grew up with, during my childhood, “The Jungle Book” was one of the few Disney titles that I would often see at the theater with my family.
Of course, now as a parent, animation from Disney and other studios have become more computer generated, but watching “The Jungle Book” after all these years, for those of us who grew up with this film, there was a lot to be captivated about this film as a child.
Watching a child raised by animals, it was also one of the first exposure for a new generation of Disney animated fans to see various animals singing and dancing but also being hooked by the various songs in the film that continue to be remembered to this day.
And now that I’m an adult, now realizing how certain jazz artists that I have come to appreciate in my life, were actually voice talent that sung songs on the film, have made it even more exciting for me nearly 30-years later after I watched the film at the theater as a child.
While the Disney story does differ from Rudyard Kipling’s original storyline, the choice by Walt Disney to make it to a family film probably help give “The Jungle Book” more exposure to Kipling’s work and while we are quickly approaching the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, the film holds up quite well even today.
With the release of “The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition”, picture quality is the best I have ever seen of this film. Colors are vibrant, details in the backgrounds are so beautiful and the lossless audio and the music is crystal clear. And there are also a good number of special features included in this Blu-ray release plus an activity booklet included for the children.
But the overall presentation of “The Jungle Book” on Blu-ray is once again, another magnificent release by Disney. There are no visual defects or signs of aging with the film, the music is lively through it’s 7.1 lossless soundtrack and the number of special features included, makes this release, the definitive version of “The Jungle Book” to own!
For those who grew up with “The Jungle Book” or parents or grandparents who want to introduce it to their children/grandchildren, you can’t go wrong with “The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition”.
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