Blu-ray Review “The Jungle Book (2016)”

junglebook-2016Actors: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o
Directors: Jon Favreau
Rated: PG
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Run Time: 106 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit right off that I didn’t love this film. Before you jump, the visuals were amazing and at times it was almost difficult to see the line between real and CGI with the characters but I wasn’t grabbed in. I have the fonded appreciation for director Jon Favreau and his work. He updated this 50+ year old film with some outstanding technology but overall, the film feels too dark for me and doesn’t have that cheer of the original.
The voice cast is extremely strong here including Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Scarlet Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Garry Shandling and Giancarlo Esposito. These are some A-list names here and they all do a great job especially with Murray and Walken singing there respective tunes. So once again, I didn’t love this film but I did like it. I just was hoping to leave with more of a smile.

Official Premise: Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.

Despite my opinions on the film itself, the Blu-ray is nearly perfect. Since the visuals in the film are so outstanding it is only expected that the 1080p transfer would deliver it perfectly. From the CG characters to the landscapes there is so much detail through this film. From the water to the hair on the characters, it is all beautiful done and shows up amazing on Blu-ray. I would be curious to see how this looks on 3D Blu-ray. The same goes for the film’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 which delivers a wonderful experience with from the subtlest sounds to the massive battles. Kudos to John Debney’s score for delivering a very well-rounded score.

“The Jungle Book” doesn’t come jam-packed with extras but there is a solid making-of extra, two featurettes, and an audio commentary from director Favreau. Also a DVD copy of the film and a Digital HD code are included. The commentary track is very insightful. Favreau goes into depth on the production and delivers a highly recommended track, I appreciated the film a little more after listening to this track. “The Jungle Book Reimagined” runs just over 30 minutes and looks into the making-of the film from the visual effects to the voice casting etc. Lastly there are two quick featurettes included. The first is “I Am Mowgli” which focuses on casting Neel Sethi and the second is “King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer”, which break down the film’s key scene.

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