The Jungle Book (Blu-Ray): Review

Film

The Jungle Book, that age-old story we have all encountered time and again over the years, has been reimagined and brought in to the twenty first century.

A threat from Shere Khan (Idris Elba – Zootropolis, Star Trek: Beyond) forces man-cub Mowgli to flee the jungle, seeking a man-village. Mowgli embarks in a journey with Bagheera (Ben Kingsley – The Walk, Self/less), a panther, and meeting the free-spirited Baloo (Bill Murray – Ghostbusters, The Monuments Men) along the way.

As the group travels, so they encounters various obstacles, with each new challenge yet another step on the journey of self-discovery for Mowgli, with interesting characters such as Kaa (Scarlett Johansson – Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o – Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 12 Years A Slave).

The Jungle Book is not simply a retelling of the story. It is a reimagining, and a redesign, utilising the latest techniques and technologies in filmmaking to bring the viewer an entertaining experience, enthralling them with the attention to detail of the setting in the jungle, adding a good dose of humour, and presenting the story in one of the best ways possible. This is really a fun, family film, for both young and old, a timeless tale of adventure, with some toe-tapping music on top of everything else.

The rendition of Bare Necessities is sure to bring a nostalgic smile to anyone who remembers the previous Disney incarnation of The Jungle Book, and this updated version certainly captures the essences of that song.

The Jungle Book, a story of overcoming, discovering, and belonging, that love is a powerful force, and that we all have our place in the world. This is certainly a disc to add to one’s collection, to watch again and again.

Disc

Overall this is a very high quality disc. From the main feature that is a delight, to the well thought out extra material that adds even more value to the disc. The high quality sound and image of the disc rounds of a great package.

The Jungle Book is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Colours are vibrant, with deep blacks that maintain their detail. There is no colour bleed either. The video is 1080p.

There are several fast paced scenes in the film, and these do not contain any motion blurring.

Audio

The primary audio track is presented in a DTS 7.1 mix. There is not Atmos mix, which would have been an added bonus on such an effect rich main feature, future proofing the disc for those who plan to update their home theatres when Atmos becomes more widely available.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, with a motion artwork background, and accompanying music. There are selections to play the main title, sub-menus for bonus features, scene selection, set up. There is a menu item to play the sneak peeks for Disneyland in Paris new attraction Ratatouille and Zootropolis. These have a 5.1 soundtrack.

Scene selection has both thumbnails and a chapter heading, to assist the viewer to jump to a specific part of the story.

Set up allows the viewer to choose from a number of audio languages and subtitles.

Transitions between the menus is seamless, with no break in the background or music.

Bonus Features

The bonus features on the disc are of the best quality. Not short additional clips for the sake of extra content, but lengthy videos, with meaty content for fans and filmmakers alike.

The Jungle Book Reimagined: A lengthy feature, about the journey taken brining The Jungle Book to screen, with director Jon Favreau, starting with the initial idea to release a reimagined story, while staying true to the literary version.

There is a vast amount of information on how the film was imagined and filmed, that is sure to delight the most fervent fan and provide any aspiring filmmaker with inside information to the process.

It is rather intriguing to see the metamorphosis of the idea, as it grew and evolved over time.

I Am Mowgli: The main character, talking to Neel Sethi (Mowgli), with insight from director Jon Favreau.

It’s a delight to see the effort from this young, talented actor, as we are taken behind the scenes to get a look at how his scenes were filmed. There is some humour stemming from the innocence of Neel, bringing a bit of brevity to all the technical information.

King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer: Yet another feature with a ton of insight and information about the filmmaking process. We get to see (and hear) how the music and audio was created for the temple scenes with King Louie (Christopher Walken, in an excellent character casting).

There are a few scenes in this feature showing the before and after of the shots.

Audio Commentary: Commentary bu director Jon Favreau, where he talks about the story, the process of creating this great film and all the behind the scenes effort that goes into such a project.

This isn’t just a director sitting down in front of the film, with their nostalgic musings recorded for us to sit though. This is a well thought out and insightful commentary, from a director who is keen to share his craft with the rest of the world.

Info a repeat of the disclaimer regarding comments, interviews and opinions on the disc, should you wish to reread these.

 

The Bare Necessities – song from The Jungle Book

Published by Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za And IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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