on October 2, 2007
I picked this DVD up today and got it home to find that Disney had altered the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 to make the movie "fit" on widescreen TVs. They did this by chopping off the top and bottom of the image. This results in the loss of a good deal of character animation (at least the tops of their heads and their feet). Trust me, I own the original Limited Issue DVD of this film and I did a side-by-side comparison as soon as I got the new Platinum Edition home. If you are a purist about original aspect ratios, please avoid this release and petition Disney to start a free disc replacement program. We should at least have the option of watching the original unaltered film the way that it was meant to be seen.
***NOTE: There are now user images that can be viewed for this product that illustrate the cropping discussed in my review.
on April 29, 2000
This movie is more than just another Disney masterpiece. The Jungle Book is a great tale of friendship and adventure. Although almost every animated feature that was created during Walt Disney's life is a classic, this one in particular holds a special place in the heart of many men (and now thanks to video and DVD, boys) who saw it while growing up. There isn't a boy alive who can see this movie and not want to be Mowgli. What a life it would be to live in the jungle, with friends like Baloo and Bagheera. It is every young boys dream to be so free.
That is not to say that only boys will love this movie. As with all Disney films, this one will be enjoyed by all members of the family, young and old. I saw it growing up, and never forgot my memories of the movie, and the days afterward, singing the songs and dreaming of adventure.
The music in The Jungle Book is some of the best in any Disney movie. "The Bare Necessities" is simply one of the best songs ever. Add in the fantastic animation and the characters that come to life (who wouldn't believe a bear could sing after seeing this?), and you have one of the many classic Disney stories.
Starring the voices of Disney regulars Phil Harris and Sterling Holloway, as well as Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French, to those of my generation) and many others, this movie is too good to not buy.
Get a copy of this DVD before Disney removes it for another generation. It is the best that Disney has to offer.
on August 18, 2001
When it comes to DVDs, I would probably be the first in line to complain about releases that have mediocre supplements. But I felt like I had to make an exception when it came to Disney. All of their "Limited Issues" seem to have little or no extras at all, but the actual animated classic that the disc holds, for me anyway, more then makes up for it.
"The Jungle Book" is one of the first Disney Movies that I watched as a kid. I bought the DVD, and I saw the movie today for the first time in around 12 years. The entertainment value is suprisingly still there, and more over, as a grown up movie fan, I can appreciate the film more as a classic in animated films from Disney & not just a 'cartoon' to pass the time, like I considered it to be as an adolecent.
The picture and sound is satisfying for the film's age and genre; the Spanish Dubbing is an excellent addition, for some of my family anyway. But it pales in comparison to the English vocals; The animation is terrific, too bad it wasn't created in a widescreen aspect ratio, it would have been a great visual to have looked at (The film is presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio, 1.33:1).
Now that the announcment of Disney's 10 "Platinum Editions" have been made (The first of the 10 being "Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs", but "Jungle Book" will be one of the other 9), this "Jungle Book - Limited Issue" is a fine way to have the film until the full-fleged "Jungle Book - Platinum Edition" is released sometime in the next decade. Thanks to this DVD, I am now looking foward to add more of Disney's hard-core classics to my DVD collection.
on October 19, 2007
They cropped (or left out) the top and bottom of the picture to accommodate the new wide screen Tvs. Not good! This makes the earlier release on DVD an instant collectors item. It's a shame too because the rest of the restoration is beautiful. Walt Disney would be rolling over in his grave to see how they mangled one of his masterpieces. Give us the movie as it was originally intended please.
on March 26, 2007
It cant get any better than this. Disney beloved animated classic "The Jungle Book" finally gets the long overdue Platinum treatment. This new 40th Anniversary release will include an all-new digital restoration of the film and for the very first time ever, this release will feature the movie in 1.75:1 widescreen aspect ratio (Please be aware that "Jungle Book" was 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 fullscreen 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 will also appear on the disc. According to dvdtimes, extras on this platinum edition will include:
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
Still Frame Art Gallery
Like all other Platinum editions, even this one will 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!
on May 25, 2000
The feature-length cartoons Disney continues to produce are fine films, but nowhere near as good as classics like The Jungle Book. Unburdened by the modern-day Disney habit of giving every film a heavy family-friendly moral message, the Jungle Book is just 100% pure fun, with a cool hero (Mowgli), entertaining friends (especially the bear Baloo) and some great villainous characters (most memorably Shere Khan the tiger). This movie was made years before Phil Collins or Elton John were drafted in as cartoon soundtrack composers, and the songs are just awesome - "The Bare Necessities", "I Wanna Be Like You" and Kaa the snake's hissed encouragement to "Trust in Me". Get this DVD while you can!
on October 4, 2007
I had anticipated this for many months, and am now disappointed. I noted the cropping to make it "widescreen" -- even though I understand that it was "masked" to be shown that way in theatres, as many theatres did. Both versions should be included -- is Disney ignoring today's media trends?
I went and bought the old 1999 version from a used seller instead, and I recommend that if you're a true Disney animation fan, then you do the same. Cutting off characters' heads for the sake of our HD TVs is not an improvement, and this isn't the 1970s or 1980s anymore. We have choices now, and Disney should be following suit.
on December 24, 2007
While the Jungle Book remain one of my Disney favourites from my childhood days, watching this cropped version virtually killed all the magic that was in the movie. I was so distracted by all the cropped heads and feet there was no way I could concentrate on the plot. So much of the background and scenery was lost that it just threw the scenes off balance. Why even call this a platinum edition when the original 1.37.1 aspect ration was not preserved? Isn't that what a platinum edition is all about? Ever see a cropped Picasso or Van Gogh? This is the worst Disney release to date and I would hesitate buying another Disney release if they are all going to turn out this way. A total waste of money. Disney should refund or offer to replace all discs from dissatisfied customers.
Disney Studios has become infamous for repeatedly revamping and re-releasing its most celebrated titles. THE JUNGLE BOOK is the current title on this marketing merry-go-round, and the question inevitably arises: should you replace your earlier DVD with this the new "Platinum Edition?" The answer is a firm "maybe."
Certainly there's no question about the film itself. Released in 1967, THE JUNGLE BOOK really is one Disney's finest, a very free adaptation of the Kipling tale of a child who is raised by wolves and must break with the jungle in order to enter human society. Beautifully animated in the classic hand-rendered style and brilliantly voiced by the likes of Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, and George Sanders, this is a film certain to charm children and adults alike--and it is among the handful of Disney films that I have gone out of my way to keep in my library.
But do I really need all the bells and whistles of the current edition? The re-master is nice, but I have to note that THE JUNGLE BOOK was never actually in need of a major restoration in the same way that SNOW WHITE, FANTASIA, or PETER PAN were. It looks great, yes, but you may not notice much difference in picture and sound between the earlier DVD release and the current one. As for the special features--I enjoyed the audio commentary and the "making of" feature; I was also amused by the "lost scene." But I could not care less about the rest of the content, which ranges from the kiddie-silly to the uninspired.
Ultimately, your decision to purchase the Platinum Edition of THE JUNGLE BOOK rests on how much of a Disney fan you actually are. If you can't bear to let a single item go buy, or if you are particular fan of this title, by all means purchase it--you'll find it worth the money. And if you don't own it at all, or if you're still making do with an old VHS copy, obviously this is the way to go. But if you do own the earlier DVD edition and you are happy with it, don't feel you have to make this "Platinum Edition" a priority.
Five stars for the film in and of itself!
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
on March 28, 2008
Well, yes, that's true. This is one of the great classics ever produced. I already own the original version in full frame on DVD. The reason that I gave this 4 stars is simply because they cropped the movie from top and bottom to make it widescreen. It's not true that you won't see the characters heads. Yes, you lose a little from the picture, but then so you do if you play the full frame version on a widescreen TV and you set the TV to "widezoom" instead of 16:9, because if you set the TV to 16:9 you will see everything "flat". So you need to set it to a more normal aspect ratio, which in the Sony case it's called "widezoom", Philips has the "Zoom 16:9" and "Zoom 14:9", others have other names for that setting. When you watch the movie like that, in order to fill the entire screen, you will lose from top and bottom on a full frame movie.
However, with this movie, they didn't simply just cut the movie from top and bottom. They did an entire re-working of the film, where they take it frame by frame and they cut from top and bottom where there's unimportant stuff on the screen. In other words, if you have a scene where the character is shown more on the top of the screen, and you have a rock or grass, or something else on the bottom, then they will cut only from the bottom enough so that it fits on a widescreen frame. In other scenes, they will cut accordingly, so that you won't lose essential stuff that must be seen.
Therefore, if you're trying to make a decision whether or not you should replace your original, full-frame DVD of this movie with this new widescreen version, I guess it all comes down to how much of a movie buff you are. If you really really love a classic, an original, then you will stick to the original full frame if you already have it. If you just want to own a copy of this movie, and you own a widescreen TV and you adore new technology, then I suggest that you buy this new version. They made it to fit just that profile.
Me - I already own the original full-frame DVD. I've watched it on my widescreen TV and it looks fine.
For more info and an outstanding review before you buy this version, check out: