Movies, Books & Disney+

Review: “The Jungle Book” Diamond Edition Swings Onto Blu-ray; Offers an Abundance of Bonus Features

Hi everyone!

The Jungle Book Diamond Edition is releasing on February 11th, 2014 – for the first time ever on Blu-ray and Digital HD!  The animation really looks fantastic on Blu-ray, and there are over 2 hours of special features to enjoy.

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I won’t be reviewing the film itself, since I think nearly everyone has seen it at some point through the years! Some of Disney’s biggest songs come from The Jungle Book, including “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You”. This classic film runs 78 minutes long, and is a must for any Disney fan – as is the Blu-ray itself! We found the special features as enjoyable as the film.

The Swingin’ Bonus (Special Features) include:

Music, Memories and Mowgli – Diane Disney Miller passed last year, so it makes it especially poignant to see her here. Miller talks with composer Richard Sherman and animator/story artist Floyd Norman about the making of The Jungle Book. I had learned from my interview with Floyd Norman that the original storyboards for The Jungle Book had been scrapped after a year: Walt found the direction it was taking by Bill Peet too dark. This is discussed here, along with other interesting morsels about the film. The most moving part of the discussion centers around Walt Disney, and how he would visit from the hospital across the street from the Studio. In one of his final visits, he told Richard and Robert Sherman to “Keep up the good work, boys”. This may have been the first (and the last) time that the Shermans ever heard this type of compliment from Walt Disney. Sherman calls Walt Disney “The greatest storyteller in the world”. The interview took place at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Intro by Diane Disney Miller or Richard Sherman – Diane Disney Miller introduces the film from the Walt Disney Family Museum, talking about her father and the movie. Richard Sherman introduces The Jungle Book from the Walt Disney Studios.

@DisneyAnimation: Sparking Creativity – This segment is about a program that Disney uses to harness and recognize the creativity of animators in the current day.

I Wan’na Be Like You – Blake and G from Disney Channel’s Dog with a Blog take viewers on a tour of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Honestly, I thought G was a little too overenthusiastic during much of this segment, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park shines just fine on it’s own (without celebrity hosts). But I really enjoyed seeing Disney’s Animal Kingdom behind-the-scenes, and I’m sure that the young hosts will attract a teen audience to this feature.

Recently Discovered Alternate Ending: Mowgli and the Hunter – I won’t spoil the alternate ending here, but it is definitely a departure from the original. This section is told in storyboards, don’t expect a finished film.

Bear-E-Oke – Sing along with the songs of The Jungle Book.

There are also classic bonus features, including:

The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book – this great bonus features composer Richard Sherman, animator Glen Keane,  story artist Floyd Norman and other animators, writers and filmmakers talking about the making of the film. This bonus feature delves much more deeply into how Walt Disney wanted to change the original direction of the film.

Disney’s Kipling: Walt’s Magic Touch on a Literary Classic – Walt Disney “simplified the narrative” of The Jungle Book, just as this segment simplifies the evolution from Rudyard Kipling to Bill Peet to Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book. It is fascinating to see how Bill Peet’s rich storytelling created a bridge between the book and the finished, more lighthearted film that Walt Disney envisioned.

Frank & Ollie: Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston Discuss Character Animation – This is a fun segment that even includes Johnston hopping up and down and “wiggling his fanny” like Baloo! Thomas talks about the animation of Kaa the Python, and how having no shoulders or hands made the animating a little more tricky.

…and there are more!

Join Baloo, Mowgli, King Louie and all of your friends from The Jungle Book in this classic film, but make sure to delve into the fantastic bonus features that will make your viewing a richer experience.