The Jungle Book appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the image seemed positive.
At virtually all times, the movie gave us a good sense of definition. The elements came across with nice clarity and accuracy. I saw no moiré effects or jagged edges, and I also detected no print flaws.
Book opted for somewhat desaturated hues that varied based on setting. These mixed blues and tans for the most part – with more vivid orange/red when fire appeared - to create a limited but satisfactory presentation of colors.
Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows offered appropriate thickness. This turned into a solid image.
Just as pleasing, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack soared. This mix used the channels in an active and engulfing manner, particularly during the many action sequences.
With all the jungle elements, the mix used the speakers to provide nice movement and localization. Animals and natural components featured in appropriate spots and blended together well, with active, engulfing use of the surround channels.
Audio quality also satisfied. Shere Khan’s lines could sound a little metallic, but speech otherwise remained natural and concise.
Music showed warm, lively tones, while effects came across as vibrant and dynamic, with excellent low-end response. The audio added a lot of zest to the film.
This “Collector’s Edition” of Book presents both 2D and 3D versions of the film. The picture comments above reflect the 2D image – how did the 3D compare?
In terms of quality, the 3D looked just as good – and maybe better. To my surprise, it seemed a bit sharper and more precise than the 2D, while everything else – colors, black, shadows – stayed the same.
The stereo version really excelled when it came to 3D imaging, as Book provided a demo-worthy visual package. I can’t pick one scene that fared better than others, as the whole movie delivered a gorgeous 3D experience.
Don’t expect a ton of “pop-out” moments, though. Those existed – especially during our time with Kaa – but they didn’t arrive with frequency.
The image did boast an amazing sense of depth and dimensionality, elements that soared given the setting. With characters who bounded around trees and cliffs, the movie delivered a slew of moments that demonstrated a real sense of height and impact.
Okay, maybe I will choose a standout scene: the one in which Mowgli attacks the bee hive. The insects buzzed out of the screen, and the impression of depth when the camera looked below Mowgli seemed astounding. Book offered one of the absolute best 3D experiences I’ve encountered.
The package includes a mix of extras, and these start with an audio commentary from director Jon Favreau. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and comparisons with prior versions of the tale, cast and performances, animation and effects, music, editing, cinematography and related areas.
Overall, Favreau brings us a nice look at his film. On occasion, he tends to narrate the movie a bit, but those moments don’t dominate. Much of the track focuses on production insights, and those make it worthwhile.
Three featurettes follow, and The Jungle Book Reimagined runs 35 minutes, two seconds. It offers notes from Favreau, producer Brigham Taylor, visual effects supervisor Robert Legato, production designer Christopher Glass, virtual camera layout operator John Brennan, virtual camera layout TD Girish Balakrishan, property master James L. Kroning, composer John Debney, songwriter Richard Sherman,
and actors Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Giancarlo Esposito, Scarlett Johansson, and Christopher Walken.
“Reimagined” discusses sources and adaptation, story/characters, visual and set design, visual effects and the depiction of animals, cinematography and working on soundstages, animation, cast and performances, and music.
Inevitably some material repeats from Favreau’s commentary, but “Reimagined” still develops into a good overview. It gives us a broad look at the production, and the ample use of behind the scenes footage helps turn this into an informative program.
Next comes the eight-minute, 18-second I Am Mowgli. It involves remarks from Favreau, Sethi, Murray and costume designer Laura Jean Shannon as it covers Sethi’s casting and aspects of his performance. Once again, the shots from the set become the major attraction here, as they let us see the challenges involved in this CG-heavy production.
King Louie’s Temple: Layer By Layer lasts three minutes, 14 seconds and shows us aspects of that scene’s creation. It mixes live performances, storyboards/pre-vis, and recording studios. This turns into an enjoyable way to see the elements needed to bring together the sequence.
The remaining five featurettes are new to this “Collector’s Edition” and not on the original Blu-ray. The Bare Necessities: From the Jungle to the Bayou lasts three minutes, 30 seconds and includes short notes from Favreau.
Most of “Bayou” features a recording session in which Bill Murray goes to New Orleans to record “Bare Necessities”. It offers a minor diversion but nothing memorable.
With The Return of a Legend, we find a three-minute, 41-second reel that lets us see songwriter Richard Sherman’s collaboration for the 2016 Book. He and Favreau work on updated lyrics for “I Wan'na Be Like You” in this short but fun piece.
The Jungle Effect runs three minutes, 20 seconds and features quick thoughts from Favreau. Mostly we see examples of how visual effects expanded the original photography. I like that side of the featurette and we get some interesting before/after images.
Next comes The Jungle Book Around the World, a one-minute, 56-second piece that shows on scene with lines in a variety of languages. It seems mildly interesting at best.
Finally, Developing Kaa goes for two minutes, 51 seconds and shows an animatic used to influence the scene in question. It provides an interesting glimpse of concept art.
The 2D disc opens with ads for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Beauty and the Beast (2017). No trailer for Book appears here.
A second disc presents a DVD copy of Book. It provides the “Temple” featurette but it lacks all the other extras.
Essentially a remake of the 1967 animated version, 2016’s The Jungle Book delivers a moderately entertaining experience. However, it doesn’t make its own name for itself, as it copies the prior Disney flick too much. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture and audio along with some useful supplements. I find this to be a decent movie but not one that enchants – though the 3D version adds definite life to the proceedings.
To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of THE JUNGLE BOOK