I always say this, but it’s interesting delving into cinematic worlds as a parent that I haven’t entered since being a child myself. Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK is one of those worlds, a film released countless times over, yet somehow escaping my purchase (unlike certain films that I’ve owned multiple times on whatever the latest format). Oddly enough, THE JUNGLE BOOK is one film that always should’ve been in my collection, if only for it’s musical pedigree. In fact, it’s the swingin’ soundtrack that really propels the film, with several songs by the Sherman Brothers (MARY POPPINS, WINNIE THE POOH), and the iconic, Louis Prima-sung “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” becoming an oft-covered standard (I love the BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY version). That aside, there’s a classic Rudyard Kipling story at it’s heart, and experiencing THE JUNGLE BOOK again for the first time in probably 25-30 years – but this time with my girls – was a treat.
Mowgli the “mancub” and his interaction between the different animals is an interesting social commentary that still holds weight today – good creatures and bad creatures, some motivated by predisposed prejudices that don’t apply to the target of their ire. Raised by animals, yet having animals as an enemy – it’s clear that Mowgli needs to enter into a life with humans in “the Man-village,” and it’s a young girl that finally convinces him that it’s the right thing to do. Friendship and trust (BTW – never trust a snake that sounds like Winnie the Pooh) are important elements that make great talking points for the little ones.
Released for the first time on Blu-ray, THE JUNGLE BOOK looks fantastic – better than I expected it to, and without overkill on the polishing. The audio is crisp and vibrant, and the songs sounded fantastic blaring from the soundbar. An added bonus is the intermission feature, which opens up what are essentially “lyric videos” for the songs on the soundtrack simply by pressing the pause button. I had to take a phone call mid-film, and the girls were still entertained by music and movement…. some provided by that group of vultures that looked suspiciously like THE BEATLES:
Additionally, this “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray packs in a bunch of bonus features steeped in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios, and includes all of the bonus materials from the previously-released 2007 DVD.
The Rock Father Rating:
Film: 5/5 Stars
Blu-ray: 5/5 Stars
Order THE JUNGLE BOOK and other great films from (my affiliate) Amazon: