Disney’s classic animated feature “The Jungle Book” was one of the last to have some input from Walt Disney himself. He died in the middle of its production.
Even without Disney’s death the film had a troubled production. The original director Bill Peet quit over the direction Walt wanted to take the film. The end result produced a movie that was almost nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award (years before Beauty & The Beast took that honor) and holds a special place in the hearts of Disney fans everywhere.
The studio painstakingly polished up the film for this blu-ray release. It remastered it into ABC 1.75:1 with a 1080p encode. The artist’s scratchy line drawings really come through in the new transfer. The painted backgrounds shine throughout and are really art works of their own. Even the sound got an upgrade to include some surround sound. All-in-all it’s the best this movie has looked in over 45 years.
The new release keeps many of the original DVD extras. There’s a 5-part Making of series, four featurettes, a discussion of a deleted storyline that would have included a new character (Rocky the Rhino), delete songs, and some sing-along lyrics with a music video.
New DVD extras include: a brief intro by composer Richard Sherman, an 18-minute promo featurette for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an alternate ending presented via storyboards, and a 41-minute documentary that looks at Disney’s legendary Nine Old Men (the studio’s inner circle of animators) through the eyes of their families. The blu-ray release is worth it for the above alone.
Some production footage in this “King of the Swingers” bonus clip:
Our verdict — The Jungle Book is one of Disney’s best-loved animated classics, this re-mastering gives it the reissue it deserves. You must add this to your collection.
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