The Jungle Book


Classic Disney animation

Enchanting story line

Great characters




None for me

Full Review

On my Christmas list to Santa, along with The Simpsons movie and Snow White, was the 40th Anniversary edition, DVD of Walt Disney's The Jungle Book. Now, I must have been a good girl last year because, I got all of these, and other treats. The jungle Book is a classic Disney production which has long been a favourite of mine, and has only appeared on DVD in the last few years.

If any of you are new to this charming tale I will just give you a few brief details.

This film was adapted from the Rudyard Kipling book. There is an earlier film, with a young Sabu in the lead role which dates from 1942. This Jungle Book however, is an animated version which was originally released back in 1967.

This DVD version has been restored and is a special anniversary edition. It has a great musical score to run alongside the film, which can be played via fast play or you can select various options from the main menu.

Before the credits it is claimed that the DVD has pure digital magic and enhanced home theatre mix. I only have a straight forward wide screen television, but the picture, for me, was perfect. The colours are a little less bright than they usually are these days but seem to fit well with the whole film. I guess it was the way animation was made back then.

This animation was the 19th from the Walt Disney Studios and the last that Walt Disney was personally involved with.

The tale revolves around Mowgli, a baby boy, who is brought up by a family of wolves in the jungle. Shere Khan the tiger is determined to kill Mowgli when he becomes a young boy and so it is decided to try and return him to his own kind, man, in the nearby village.

The journey to this village has some hilarious moments, some sad ones and a couple of scary ones. However I do not think it would be too frightening for children. It is rated a U after all.

When this film was released over 40 years ago now, I was a teenager and a little too old for Disney really. However, I remember seeing this movie at the cinema with a friend and loving it. The Double DVD released a little before Christmas 2007 has the film digitally remastered. The colour and the sound are spot on.

The musical score has many classics such as, The Bear Necessities and I Wanna be like You. They are from that jazzy, swing genre of music and King Louis, the orangutan is the swinginest of them all. It is a tale of friendship, albeit with somewhat strange companions and a man cub's journey to his real family.

The Cast of course is huge, as is often the case with animated films. There are many names of the animators and some of the voice overs in the cast listing. George Sanders drolling, threatening voice is perfect for the tiger Shere Khan. Most of the other names mean nothing to me but yet the voices sound so familiar.

My Favourite bits include:

Kaa the snake with his hypnotic 'Trust in me' song.

Baloo telling Mowgli all about the 'Bear necessities'.

The bored vultures who cannot decide what to do. Their Liverpudlian accents reminiscent of The Beatles.

King Louis capturing Mowgli, to acquire the secret of how to make fire and proclaiming his desire to be a man and 'Be like you oo oo'

The double-disc set has extras which include:

Conversations with songwriter Richard Sherman and Andreas Deja, who is a present day Disney animator, and Bruce Reitherman, who was the voice of Mowgli when he was a man cub. There are also archive contributions from fans who share their information.

Footage is included of a character who was dropped from the film, Rocky the Rhino. He is shown through storyboards and voice-over. This character was not in the actual film but we can see what was planned.

There are songs which never made the big screen, including strange versions of ones that did. Most of these are not the happy go lucky affairs they were on the big screen and this DVD. There is a new version of 'I Wanna be Like You' by the Jonas Brothers, but I am not keen on this.

The Making of The Jungle Book is quite good and gives lots of details of the filming and difficulties that were encountered. There is an interesting section about the man, as he is now, who was the voice of Mowgli, when he was a boy himself.

Although there are no trailers there are plenty of photographs and lots of games and activities for the younger audience. There is a little more but I am never one for the extras I'm afraid. I tend to only view them for review purposes.

Disc one has the film, sneak peeks, bonus features, scene selection and more. Disc Two has a visit to the man village and one to the jungle. There is a variety of clips on this disc which will appeal to those who like the extras on DVDs. As I said I rarely watch them and just concentrate on the film.

In Closing


This is a great classic, Disney, family film which will appeal to those who have seen it a million times and to those who have never seen it before. The characters are fun and the story soon sucks you in. At around £7-£16 from many stores, more or less, it is great value and a timeless classic from Disney's better years.

However, please remember that this film, though digitally remastered, has not got the all singing, all dancing animation of today. Mind you I feel that adds to its nostalgic charm and, let's face it the oldies and the little ones will not mind one bit.