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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2014

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"The Jungle Book" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-february-2014-the-jungle-book

Synopsis

Mowgli, only a baby, is found orphaned in a boat by the panther Bagheera. Unable to raise the child himself, he passes him off to a mother wolf that has just had cubs. She takes the child in and helps to raise him up. When the wolf pack hears news that the tiger Shere Kahn has returned, they decide they need to return Mowgli to the man village. As Shere Kahn has an appetite for humans, he is no longer safe outside the village walls.

As Bagheera works to return him to the village, they encounter the fun loving bear Baloo. Baloo explains to him the joys of living care free in the jungle; Mowgli no longer wants to return to the village. As they encounter a snake, monkeys, and finally Shere Kahn on the way back, Mowgli discovers that living the wild might no longer be safe for him.

Specifications

  • Disney
  • 1967, Color, G, 1 Hr 18 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.75:1
  • 1080p
  • English DTS-HD MA 7.1
  • Starring: Bruce Reitherman, Sebastian Cabot, Phil Harris (voices)
  • Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Implied
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

The Jungle Book is the last Disney film that Walt Disney himself presided over. Despite the overriding theme of a tiger trying to eat a small child, neither of my kids found the film to be scary. Instead they are constantly entertained by the story and the animals that tell it. Even when the film is paused you get interludes teaching you the words to the songs instead of a boring screen.

Technical

The film itself has a slight windowboxing to the image. According to the IMDB the original negative is set at 1.37:1 while the intended format is 1.75:1. That is just slightly narrower than the 1.78:1 ratio of Blu-ray which accounts for this. The image itself is very clean and free of blemishes. There isn’t any dust or scratches that I noticed in my viewings. This might be due to some noise removal, as the film itself feels a bit soft. The colors are clean but not extra vibrant as you expect in modern animation. Instead it has a more muted palette but one that looks fantastic.

The mono soundtrack has been remixed into a full 7.1 channel mix that sounds very good. There aren’t the sound effects you would get from a brand new film but the songs of the Jungle Book have never sounded better than they do here.

Extras

As with most Disney animated films, a large number of supplements are included. There are multiple featurettes presented in HD and far more in SD that are ported over from the DVD release. There are previews of upcoming Disney films and when you pause the movie it plays the songs in a loop. Also included are DVD and Digital Copies of the film.