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Ghost Canyon

'The Jungle Book (Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Platin
(Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, et al / 2-Disc / NR / (1957) 2007 / Walt Disney Video)

Overview: Disney animation inspired by Rudyard Kiplings "Mowgli" story. Mowgli is a boy who has been raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. When the wolves hear that the fierce tiger, Shere Kahn, is nearby, they decide to send Mowgli to a local "man tribe". On his way to the village, Mowgli meets many animal characters in this musical tale. When Shere Kahn learns of Mowgli's presence, he tracks him down.

DVD Verdict: Oh boy, it just simply can't get any better than this! Disney beloved animated classic "The Jungle Book" finally gets the long overdue Platinum treatment. This new 40th Anniversary release includes an all-new digital restoration of the film and for the very first time ever. And, although it features the movie in 1.75:1 widescreen aspect ratio, please be aware that "Jungle Book" was originally filmed in 1.37:1 aspect ratio and was cropped for its theatrical screenings!

The movie loses a little from top and bottom here in this restored version so think twice before selling off your old copies which featured the movie in its original full screen ratio. Along with a 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix soundtrack, this edition includes a restored original theatrical soundtrack too. French and Spanish language tracks also appear on the disc.

Just 64 minutes long, this unpretentious adventure is full of imaginative characters, charming song and dance routines, interesting themes and innocent good humor. Unlike many Disney films, "The Jungle Book" doesn't strive to be high art and has no groundbreaking special effects, but it's still one of the company's best animated films. And now the film has now been "digitally enhanced," with a brighter contrast and cleaner colors. I've seen some clips from this new release, and they really look good.

Telling the tale of Mowgli, a human boy brought up in the jungles of India, the movie is a freewheeling adaptation of some Victorian-era short stories by British writer Rudyard Kipling. Rescued as an infant by a protective panther named Bagheera, the boy is raised by wolves and adopted by a carefree bachelor bear, Baloo. Disney punches up the stories with Western jokes and music (the pop soundtrack includes Baloo's and orangutan King Louie's infectious scat duet "I Wanna Be Like You" and Baloo's perky prickly pear primer, "The Bear Necessities"), but wisely eliminates Kipling's patronizing overtones.

"The Jungle Book" teaches children a number of good life lessons. It demonstrates that the world includes enemies as well as friends, and that enemies sometimes disguise themselves as friends. It argues that though its fun to pretend you're someone you're not, it's best to accept the person you are. Finally, the film teaches young viewers two lessons about love. First, as Baloo learns when he realizes he must finally return Mowgli to the "man village," that true love is unselfish. And second, as Mowgli learns in the final scene, that the ultimate male fulfillment is romantic love -- or, as some cynics view the segment, the pursuit of a cute, wide-eyed flirt.

Here is a more detailed rundown on the extras to be found on this brand new Platinum Edition 2-Disc collection: Audio Commentary - Combines comments from current animators with audio from the original creative team who made the film; The Lost Character: Rocky The Rhino - For the first time ever, the near-sighted, short-tempered rhinoceros named Rocky is brought to the screen using original storyboards and original voice recordings by Frank Fontaine; The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book - A comprehensive look at the last animated film that Walt Disney produced using existing archival footage in addition to new interviews with Richard Sherman, Brad Bird, Glen Keane, Eric Goldberg, James Baxter, Will Fi'nn, Andreas Deja, Burny Mattinson Ted Thomas, Bruce Reitherman, John Culhane, John Canemaker and Neal Gabler. Plus a never-before-seen collection of artwork and treatments from the film.

Disney's Kipling: Walt's Magic Touch on A Literary Classic - A discarded film treatment from 1963 includes scenes from Kipling's "Mowgli Stories" and more are used to illustrate Walt's interpretation of the literary masterpiece; The Lure of The Jungle Book - Many of today's biggest names in animation were inspired to pursue their careers after seeing The Jungle Book; this feature examines this phenomenon and features new interviews with Brad Bird, Andreas Deja, Sergio Pablo, Will Finn and Eric Goldberg; Mowgli's Return to the Jungle - Learn about nature filmmaking and the experience of making The Jungle Book firsthand from Bruce Reitherman, the voice of Mowgli.

Baloo's Virtual Swingin' Jungle Cruise - Join everyone's favourite bear in this set-top and DVD-ROM game on an adventure through the jungle: enjoy fun activities and musical challenges, but keep an eye out because there's no telling what's on the other side of the river bend! English Learning Feature and a Still Frame Art Gallery!

Like all other Platinum editions, even this one is only going to be available for a limited time only. So bring home Mowgli, Baghira, Baloo and Shere khan and all the lovable characters we've all grown up with, before they go back to Disney vault again! This is a Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.