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Ghost Canyon

'The Jungle Book And Friends'
(DVD / NR / 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Beloved stories are lovingly retold in this delightful animation collection!

Tales as old as time come to life in this enchanting assortment of animated feature films.

'The Jungle Book', 'Cinderella', 'The Legend of Snow White' and Simba The King Lion - The Last Battle' are all assembled on one fun-filled DVD.

DVD Verdict: First up is 'The Jungle Book' (2000). Based on the famous book by Rudyard Kipling, 'The Jungle Book' tells the story of a lost boy named Mowgli, who is adopted and raised by a family of wolves and Baloo the bear.

Running at an incredible 97 minutes, this standalone animated title is really not all that bad. Sure some of the character designs are rather stiff and the dialogue does have moments of corniness, but in the whole it pans out rather nicely for the viewers.

With some of the story being rushed to me and Shere Khan's voice seeming slightly over done, the backgrounds make up for that ten-fold. All suitably colorful, the dialogue also has moments of wit and the story will appeal more to the main target audience of the little ones.

The music is catchy enough as well, if not as much as Disney's well known version, and the characters are quite likable. Overall, the voice work from the main leads is good too.

All in all, nothing great and nowhere near the best version but a decent enough animation on its own terms.

'Cinderella' (2005) is up next and runs at a lovely 90 minutes. Cinderella, an orphan, is now under the control of her evil stepmother and stepsisters. With the help of her friends, she is able to fall in love with the Prince, while helping him win over his own obstacles.

I have always loved the story of Cinderella and so whilst not my absolute favorite version, this 2005 animated version is still a very good one.

Indeed it is closer to the story than Disney's overall, with Cinderella's mother dying of an illness and the business with the lentils in the ashes, but still as enchanting; which in my mind is more important.

The animation is not perfect, lacking the color and fluency of Disney's more glamorous version, but at least the character designs are less forced than even the Mouses' Alice in Wonderland.

The script has a lot of nice humor with the stepsisters while never feeling over-simplified and overall the story is sweet and moves along swiftly.

'Cinderella' is just so warm-hearted and the stepsisters in their appearance contrasts nicely and so with the additional bouts of humor you simply cannot go wrong with this animated tale.

Next up is 'The Legend of Snow White' (2005) that runs for a wickedly brilliant 94 minutes. We join Snow White in this high-quality animated feature for your kids and family and watch as she escapes her evil stepmother, finds comfort in a cottage with seven dwarfs, and finds her Prince Charming with the help of her friends.

In some respects the plot of 'The Legend of Snow White' develops scenes that are productive of an intense emotional sort. There are some beautiful snow scenes, also home scenes that remind one of bygone days.

These is a double visualization that is very beautiful, but which is ruined in the finale (due to obvious "reveals", shall we say and leave it at that!).

Regardless, this 2005 version will definitely still please the wee ones that sit in front of it, of that you have my word.

Lastly we get 'Simba The King Lion: The Final Battle' (2005) which itself runs for an incredible 118 minutes! Here we join in the adventures of Simba and his jungle animal friends in this high quality entertaining animated feature for your kids and family.

When I first saw the original 'The Lion King' in cinemas at the age of four, I'd been hooked. Ever since then, my favorite movie has always been the Disney classic.

The sequel came out when I was seven, and for a cheaply made direct-to-video movie, was quite enjoyable to watch. Subsequently they mined the whole Lion King / Simba vault thereafter, bringing this direct-to-DVD one out in 2005.

Basically, the story follows on from the original film and thus is nicely tied in with the original film. With the concept of Scar, the antagonist of the first film having a family bent on revenge over Simba, the protagonist is seen here now within some very moving moments going toe-to-tow with young Simba; in what will be their final battle! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

DIGITAL BONUS: This new DVD includes Digital Streaming Access to 6 additional adventures via redemption insert including: Welcome Back Pinocchio, Pocahontas I: Princess of American Indians, The Thief of Baghdad, The Three Musketeers, Hercules, and Robin Hood.