I’ve been a fan of The Jungle Book for as long as I can remember, as the original animated Disney classic always brings back fond memories. A lot of live-action adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s book have come and gone with most of them being misses rather than hits. So while I was a little bit leery of Jon Favreau’s take on it, I can say without a doubt that The Jungle Book on Blu-ray takes the fun of the animated film and mixes in just the right amount of realistic peril to bring us one of the best movies of the year.
Since we have not one but two reviews on the movie, I’ll just chime in with my two cents and talk about the special features of the Blu-ray. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved the story of The Jungle Book, and Jon Favreau does an amazing job capturing the fun (and even a few of the songs) of the classic 1967 film while adding in some of the more realistic threats from Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece. The casting is perfect and each actor brings their character to life flawlessly, from newcomer Neel Sethi doing a great job as Mowgli, to Bill Murray doing what he does best as Baloo, to Lupita Nyong’o bringing the feels with her motherly love of Mowgli, to Idris Elba playing Shere Khan to a tee, you couldn’t ask for a better cast.
If you’ve seen the film in theaters or thinking about the Blu-ray. I can tell you it looks absolutely fantastic in high definition. The visuals and audio are a treat for the eyes and ears, as the well done special effects blend in smoothly in the film while the catchy songs and adventurous sounds will have to dancing one moment and ducking from danger the next. The special features are also just as exciting, as director Jon Favreau gives some very interesting and emotional feature length audio commentary. Here he shares what went into filming the shots, what’s real and what was computer animated, and his love of Garry Shandling and his work on and off the film. I found it very touching and awesome to learn about how Jon was unsure of the film only to have Garry rally him on and to bring his trademark humor to the movie as well. In “The Jungle Book Reimagined”, we have Jon Favreau, Producer Brigham Taylor, and Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Legato having a roundtable discussion on the making of the movie and how it came to be. “I Am Mowgli” is a short but fun look about Neel Sethi and his experience as a first-time actor, doing his own stunts, and more. Lastly there “King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer” that goes into how this very large incarnation of King Louie was made and brought to life, from the CG work to the always awesome Christopher Walken voicing and singing for the character.
The Jungle Book Blu-ray is just as fun and exciting as the previews and trailers make it out to be. While I was a bit skeptical at first as I’m sure most people were, I’m so glad to say there’s nothing to fear, except missing out on one of the best films of the year that you and your family will want to run through the jungle for.