I had the pleasure of reviewing The Jungle Book on Blu-Ray that is set to be released on February 11th. This is my favorite Disney animated movie, so I was ecstatic to watch it once again and review the bonus features that are included in this release. The color and sharpness of the movie were incredible, so different from the VHS quality that I remember as a kid. If you’re a fan of The Jungle Book or Disney history, you will absolutely love the bonus features included. I have to say, I’m not really someone who likes to sit down for an hour or more to watch bonus features, but I can say with 100% certainty that these were hands down, the best bonus features I’ve seen on any DVD! So, they are definitely something you don’t want to miss. You can check out my reviews of each bonus feature below.
- Alternate Ending: I honestly didn’t like the alternate ending and am glad they went with the ending they chose. The current ending leaves room for a sequel whereas the alternate one didn’t. Without giving too much away, the alternate ending just had a different tone – it was darker, a bit scarier, and not as playful as the rest of the movie. Upon watching the original DVD special features (also included in the Blu-Ray version), I realize that this alternate ending is the original ending that Bill Pete, the original animator on the project, had created for the movie.
- Music, Memories & Mowgli: A Conversation with Richard M. Sherman, Diane Disney Miller and Floyd Norman: I really enjoyed watching this, as I learned a lot about how the movie was made and a lot about Walt’s personality. The Jungle Book was the first Disney movie to use celebrity voices. Walt had refrained from doing so before The Jungle Book. As evident by Walt nixing the alternate ending, Walt wanted to make the scariest scenes in The Jungle Book novel fun and playful and that can be seen in the King Louie scenes. In this bonus feature, you also get a glimpse into how Walt acted and interacted with employees and family members, so be sure to take the time to watch this bonus feature content.
- I Wanna Be Like You – Hangin’ Out At Disney’s Animal Kingdom: This was my favorite part of the bonus features, not only because it made me want to make a trip back to Walt Disney World ASAP, but because it really made me want to be an animal trainer and work at Animal Kingdom (or at least in that moment it did). You’ll learn a lot about how they take care of all the animals at Animal Kingdom, which kids and adults alike will love to watch, especially since some of your favorite Disney Channel personalities take you through a day in the life of an Animal Kingdom cast member. At the Animal Nutrition Center, they prepare over 1000 diets a day, a whopping 4.5 tons of food a day! You’ll see how they make and place enrichment items throughout habitats for the animals, how they use scents on enrichment items for animals like tigers and how they call in each animal at the end of the day.
- @DisneyAnimation: Sparking Creativity: It’s always neat to get an inside look at what it’s like to work as an animator. I loved this part because it showed that Disney really does encourage creativity and collaboration among all animators, both young and old. The Spark Program/Showcase allows little-known animators to ‘pitch’ their ideas to other animators – so they get a large audience and feedback on their ideas. Some of these animators have produced technology and ideas that are being featured in Disney movies today.
- Bear-E-Oke Sing A Long: The best part about The Jungle Book in my opinion is the songs. So, if you love the songs, you’ll love this sing-a-long.
- DVD Bonus Features: You’ll get to see all of the bonus features that were included in the original DVD, including “The Making of The Jungle Book.” For example, you’ll learn the story of Bill Pete, who was Walt’s go-to man for animation. He proposed The Jungle Book movie to Walt, but Walt didn’t like the way things were going with the story (too dark), so Pete left and was replaced by the animators who made the movie we know today. Another interesting fact that I learned from these original bonus features was that “The Bare Necessities” almost didn’t make the movie – it was the only song the Sherman Brothers didn’t write. Can you imagine The Jungle Book without this song???
Be sure to check the photos below for some behind the scenes photos, concept art and stills from the movie. The Jungle Book releases February 11th on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital. Be sure to go pick up the last movie that Walt worked on before it goes back into the vault.