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Jungle Book: blu ray (not movie) review: despite of problematic video, this timeless classic is still highly recommended!
on February 18, 2014
Jungle Book arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.75:1 encode. Instead of meticulously touch-up for high definition release, Disney simply scrubbed away all the natural grain, that makes the final product having too much glossy sheen. Maybe Disney is simply presenting a classic movie for a generation of youngsters who are used to artificially clean animation. At least the noise reduction is not as disastrous at that in The Sword in the Stone (my review elsewhere). Here, the sketch lines are still fairly distinct. Colours are nicely saturated, primaries are quite lovely, black levels are deep, and contrast is dialed in beautifully. This being a Diamond Edition, I am slightly disappointed with Disney’s efforts. (3.5/5)
Disney has upgraded the audio to DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio lossless track. The music and lyrics are crystal clear. Dialogue is crisp and natural. George Burns score and the Sherman Brothers' songs sound better than they ever have, as does the entire experience. The song Bare Necessities, written by Terry Gilkyson and performed by Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman, was nominated for Best Original Song in 1967, but lost to Talk to The Animals from Doctor Dolittle. (4.5/5)
Did you know that the Vultures were originally going to be voiced by The Beatles? The band's manager, Brian Epstein, approached the Disney studios about having The Beatles appear in the film, and Disney had his animators create the Vultures specifically to be voiced by the band. But when Epstein took the idea to the Beatles, John Lennon vetoed the idea, and told Epstein to tell Disney he should hire Elvis Presley instead. The look of The Vultures, with their mop-top haircuts and Liverpool voices, are a homage to The Beatles; one bird's voice and features are clearly based on Ringo Starr. When the Beatles departed the project, the song was rewritten as a barbershop quartet, to make it timeless.
Jungle Book is one of the true Disney classics, but one that is curiously overlooked when people start remembering the best Disney movies. It's so playful, so wonderfully inventive with its animation and songs that it'll no doubt be loved by future generations of kids. The video may be problematic at times, but for the most part it turns out fine. The audio mix is very well-rounded, providing ample oomph to the Sherman soundtrack. This is still a fun and memorable movie and is still highly recommended.