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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jon Favreau
Cast:
Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley
Writing Credits:
Justin Marks

Synopsis:
After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther Bagheera and free-spirited bear Baloo.

Box Office:
Budget
$175 million.
Opening Weekend
$103,261,464 on 4028 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$364,001,123.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $12.99
Release Date: 8/30/2016

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Jon Favreau
• “The Jungle Book Reimagined” Featurette
• “I Am Mowgli” Featurette
• “King Louie’s Temple” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Jungle Book [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 14, 2018)

For my whole life, when someone referred to the “Disney version” of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, it meant the 1967 animated film. In 2016, Disney made the discussion more complicated, as they released a live-action take, still called The Jungle Book.

After his family dies, wolves raise human child Mowgli (Neel Sethi). This situation changes when the tiger Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba) perceives the maturing boy as a threat and targets the pack.

To protect his clan, Mowgli volunteers to leave, and panther Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) attempts to shepherd the child toward a nearby human village. Aspects of this journey go awry as Mowgli experiences a series of adventures.

Because I described the 2016 Book as live-action, the use of the term “voiced by” may cause confusion. In reality, the film offers a hybrid, one that probably leans more toward animation than live action, truth be told.

I went with “live action” as the descriptor because a) the main character is an actual person, and b) the rest of the movie attempts “photo real” characters and sets. Of course, if Book featured zero human actors in front of the camera, I’d call it animated no matter how “photo real” it might be, but I still lean toward live action here even with the hybrid nature.

Whatever one calls it, Book offers a perfectly okay film. I can't say it really entertains me, but I think it’s watchable enough and not something that becomes a bore.

Strangely, it really does seem to be a remake of the 1967 movie and not a fresh adaptation of Kipling. I say that never having read the source, but given how much deviation I've heard the prior Disney film offers and given how much this one resembles the 1967 movie, I must assume it's not particularly true to Kipling.

Which makes it somewhat pointless to me. Why remake the animated version - just because they could?

Granted, the 2016 film doesn’t slavishly duplicate the 1967 edition. For instance, it comes with a wholly different ending.

Still, it’s clear the 2016 edition more fully reflects the Disney cartoon than Kipling’s text, and that means some musical numbers. I think the inclusion of songs feels weird because they use just two.

Either go full-blown musical or leave out the tunes entirely. This makes it feel like they used the songs because they thought they had to rather than because they figured they’d add to the experience.

I don't think the songs fit the film well. I understand they're memorable parts of the animated flick, but this version seems to want to be more reality-based. Yeah, I get that there's only so "reality based" a movie with talking animals can be, but at least stick with internal consistency.

In the end, I honestly feel perplexed at all the praise the film received. Again, I think it's decent but it never becomes better than that, so it fails to create a particularly vivid adventure.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

The Jungle Book appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the image seemed positive.

At virtually all times, the movie gave us a good sense of definition. The elements came across with nice clarity and accuracy. I saw no moiré effects or jagged edges, and I also detected no print flaws.

Book opted for somewhat desaturated hues that varied based on setting. These mixed blues and tans for the most part – with more vivid orange/red when fire appeared - to create a limited but satisfactory presentation of colors.

Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows offered appropriate thickness. This turned into a solid image.

Just as pleasing, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack soared. This mix used the channels in an active and engulfing manner, particularly during the many action sequences.

With all the jungle elements, the mix used the speakers to provide nice movement and localization. Animals and natural components featured in appropriate spots and blended together well, with vibrant, engulfing use of the surround channels.

Audio quality also satisfied. Shere Khan’s lines could sound a little metallic, but speech otherwise remained natural and concise.

Music showed warm, lively tones, while effects came across as vibrant and dynamic, with excellent low-end response. The audio added a lot of zest to the film.

The package includes a mix of extras, and these start with an audio commentary from director Jon Favreau. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and comparisons with prior versions of the tale, cast and performances, animation and effects, music, editing, cinematography and related areas.

Overall, Favreau brings us a nice look at his film. On occasion, he tends to narrate the movie a bit, but those moments don’t dominate. Much of the track focuses on production insights, and those make it worthwhile.

Three featurettes follow, and The Jungle Book Reimagined runs 35 minutes, two seconds. It offers notes from Favreau, producer Brigham Taylor, visual effects supervisor Robert Legato, production designer Christopher Glass, virtual camera layout operator John Brennan, virtual camera layout TD Girish Balakrishan, property master James L. Kroning, composer John Debney, songwriter Richard Sherman, and actors Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Giancarlo Esposito, Scarlett Johansson, and Christopher Walken.

“Reimagined” discusses sources and adaptation, story/characters, visual and set design, visual effects and the depiction of animals, cinematography and working on soundstages, animation, cast and performances, and music.

Inevitably some material repeats from Favreau’s commentary, but “Reimagined” still develops into a good overview. It gives us a broad look at the production, and the ample use of behind the scenes footage helps turn this into an informative program.

Next comes the eight-minute, 18-second I Am Mowgli. It involves remarks from Favreau, Sethi, Murray and costume designer Laura Jean Shannon as it covers Sethi’s casting and aspects of his performance. Once again, the shots from the set become the major attraction here, as they let us see the challenges involved in this CG-heavy production.

Lastly, King Louie’s Temple: Layer By Layer lasts three minutes, 14 seconds and shows us aspects of that scene’s creation. It mixes live performances, storyboards/pre-vis, and recording studios. This turns into an enjoyable way to see the elements needed to bring together the sequence.

The disc opens with ads for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Beauty and the Beast (2017). No trailer for Book appears here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Book. It provides the “Temple” featurette but it lacks all the other extras.

Essentially a remake of the 1967 animated version, 2016’s The Jungle Book delivers a moderately entertaining experience. However, it doesn’t make its own name for itself, as it copies the prior Disney flick too much. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture and audio along with some useful supplements. I find this to be a decent movie but not one that enchants.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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