REVIEW: “The Jungle Book” Collector’s Edition packs a spectacular Blu-ray 3D transfer with new features

in Disney, Movies, Reviews

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It’s hard to believe just how much creativity and next-gen film technology is packed into each frame of Jon Favreau’s visually stunning remake of “The Jungle Book,” but thanks to the new 3D Collector’s Edition available today Nov. 15, fans can now get even deeper into the action with an incredible 3D Blu-ray presentation and even more bonus content to enjoy.

The deluxe three-disc package has a handsome 3D lenticular cover and not only includes the special features from the initial August release of the global smash hit, but also packs in an even larger scope of how it all came together. There’s a comprehensive and well-deserved look at the revolutionary new techniques that were used to create the world around newcomer Neel Sethi, the film’s only human character, Mowgli, and it also hits the streets of New Orleans with star Bill Murray for a live rendition of the classic song “I Wan’na Be Like You” with Dr. John and Kermit Ruffins.

None of the new special features are particularly lengthy but are nonetheless worth the time to delve into. “Developing Kaa” is an impressively detailed demonstration using the original early animatics that helped construct the scene in which Kaa and Mowgli meet. It’s always fun to hear such a familiar tune such as “The Bare Necessities” in several languages with “The Jungle Book Around The World,” which seamlessly allows the viewer to hear how everyone else heard the movie. (The French Canadian voice guy can really sing!)

“The Return of a Legend” features Disney songwriter extraordinaire Richard Sherman back in the studio to record a new demo for “I Wan’na Be Like You” with additional lyrics. Favreau wisely brought back the Disney legend to work on the new version and it’s a treat to see him doing what he does best as he rolls up his sleeve and gets to work. Try not to smile when Favreau remarks that Sherman “nailed it” when recording the vocal guide track or when he listens back to his singing as the animatronic plays in front of him. “The Jungle Effect” is another great new feature that consists of a montage of many memorable clips from the film as they were shot and then the final look gradually layered in. All of the content is also available for streaming on Disney Movies Anywhere and Digital HD thanks to the handy codes inside.

The true star of the collection is of course the 3D disc and you’re either going to want to spring for a 3D TV or designate this film as one of those “demonstration discs” to show off if you do own one because “The Jungle Book” almost begs to be seen this way, especially if you saw it in the theaters in 3D.

The entire list of bonus features for “The Jungle Book” 3D Collector’s Edition:

  • The Bare Necessities: From the Jungle to the Bayou – Travel to the heart of New Orleans to swing with composer John Debney, Bill Murray and jazz greats Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins and the rest of their lively band, as they perform another version of “The Bare Necessities.”
  • The Return of a Legend – Award-winning songwriter and Disney Legend Richard Sherman co-wrote the music from “Mary Poppins,” “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and Walt Disney’s animated classic “The Jungle Book.” Watch as director Jon Favreau and Sherman collaborate to create additional lyrics and record a demo for the new version of the classic song, “I Wan’na Be Like You.”
  • The Jungle Effect – Experience more visual effects magic in this sequence that shows the evolution of key moments from “The Jungle Book.”
    Developing Kaa – See an early animatic that played a part in the development of the scene where Mowgli meets Kaa and learns more about the tale of the “red flower.”
  • “The Jungle Book” Around the World – Join the global celebration as Mowgli and Baloo sing “The Bare Necessities.”
  • Classic Bonus Features
    “The Jungle Book” Reimagined – Favreau sits down with producer Brigham Taylor and visual effects supervisor Robert Legato to discuss “The Jungle Book” and reflect on the years they devoted to the reimagining of this timeless tale. Discover how Rudyard Kipling’s original stories and the classic animated film influenced their unique approach, witness the technical wizardry that enabled the team to create a believable and thrilling movie-going experience, and learn how they borrowed a page from Walt Disney’s innovation playbook to make it all happen. Lastly, meet the all-star voice cast who help bring the film’s colorful characters to life, as well as the musicians who accent the adventure with a majestic music score.
    I Am Mowgli – Follow the extraordinary journey of 12-year-old Neel Sethi, who was selected from thousands of hopefuls worldwide to play Mowgli “alongside” some of today’s biggest movie stars. Get a glimpse of Neel’s life before Hollywood came calling, check out his audition that sealed the deal, and see how a close-working relationship with Favreau brought out his best. Plus, Neel shares how filming “The Jungle Book” was one wild ride, from working alongside imaginary animals to performing some super-fun stunts.
    King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer – So, exactly how do you create a musical number featuring one man-cub, a massive, legendary ape and an army of wild and wily monkeys in the Seeonee jungle? Viewers are granted rare and unique access to the development of the “I Wan’na Be Like You” sequence in which King Louie attempts to coerce Mowgli into giving up Man’s deadly “red flower” (fire). A fast-moving musical progression reel showcases storyboards, animatics, Christopher Walken’s recording session and visual effects layers, which ultimately merge to form one of the film’s most memorable scenes.
    Audio Commentary – Favreau delivers his scene-by-scene perspective on the live-action adventure “The Jungle Book” with all the candor and humor you’d expect from this multi-talented actor-writer-director-producer.

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“The Jungle Book” 3D Collector’s Edition is now on sale starting Nov. 15 and is also available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere.

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