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The Jungle Book 2
Special Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: 

Running Time: 72 Minutes

Starring the voices of: Haley Joel Osment, John Goodman, John Rhys-Davies, Jim Cummings, Mae Whitman, Connor Funk, Bob Joles, Tony Jay, Phil Collins

Screenplay by: Karl Gerus

Directed by: Steve Trenbirth

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Deleted Scenes, Song Selection, Sing With The Movie, Music Videos, Mowgli's Story Time Adventure, Mowgli's Jungle Ruins Maze, Synopsis Of The Original Movie, The Legacy Of The Jungle Book

Specs: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (16 Scenes)

Released: June 17th, 2008

 

 

"The Jungle Book 2" is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty dazziling transfer. Other than some slight noise and slight edge halos, everything else really hits the spot: the lush array of colors are remarkably vibrant and really pop out, detail is exquisite and it's all clean: no dirt, nicks or blemishes of any kind. The smooth animation also flows well on this transfer. No disappoints here. 
 

This special edition of "The Jungle Book 2" features English soundtracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. I compared the tracks during a few key scenes, and as usual, the DTS wins out: it's a mix that I felt was tighter, and had a bit more depths in the surrounds. But with either track you choose, you won't be disappointed: subwoofer use is quite good (watch out for several jungle rumbles), fidelity is high and dynamic range is quite strong. Dialogue is very easy to hear and is clear, the music is creatively mixed through the channels and the surrounds are discrete - be it the hums of the night, the roars of Shere Khan and the finale in the ruins. These tracks do the job, and do it well.

Also included are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish, English closed captions, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
 



This is certainly an improvement over the original release. First up are two Deleted Scenes, with introductions by executive vice president Sharon Morrill and senior vice president of music Matt Walker explaining the cuts (in short: animated films and their characters and stories tend to evolve during production). These scenes, which are actually deleted musical sequences, don't add up to much nor run too long, but are a decent inclusion nonetheless.

In the Music & More section, you can jump right to a song in the movie with the Song Selection option, plus sing with the movie by switching on the glorified subtitle button Sing With The Movie (are these really features?). More substantial, but not by much, are three Music Videos: "W-I-L-D," "Jungle Rhythm" and "I Wanna Be Like You," performed by Smash Mouth. (Where have they been lately?)

Two set-top games are also included, sure to enthrall the kiddies: Mowgli's Story Time Adventure (an interactive story book - not too shabby) and Mowgli's Jungle Ruins Maze (more of your typical, standard game). There's also a Synopsis Of The Original Movie - which is about 3 minutes, and uses clips from the original (talk about a recap).

Finally, there's The Legacy Of The Jungle Book. This is a nice featurette (which is 15 minutes in length) even if the title is somewhat misleading. Interviewed are Roy Disney, and many of the talents who worked on the sequel: producer Mary Thorne, John Rhys-Davies, John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Mae Whitman, Jim Cummings plus plenty of other artists and producers. Some of the original is discussed and its importance, and how the first movie was influential on this effort, but mainly its a look at the making of the movie: how animation technologies and techniques have changed since 1967, the music, plus the new voice actors. Definitely worth a watch - it's the best extra on the disc.


Of course, "The Jungle Book 2" isn't much when compared to the original - but we all know how Disney loved to crank out these sorts of sequels. Regardless of what you may think of the movie, this is a pretty solid DVD: an excellent transfer, strong 5.1 mixes and an array of supplements that'll keep the younger viewers entertained. A good value for what you get.