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JUNGLE BOOK, THE (DVD/BLU-RAY/DIGITAL)

What to know: Definitley the best version of this Kipling class that we've seen.
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
Recommended age 8-18
106 minutes
DVD
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
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JUNGLE BOOK, THE (DVD/BLU-RAY/DIGITAL) cover image Click to play video trailer
I enjoyed watching the Blu-ray/DVD combo of The Jungle Book about Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who is the only man cub in the jungle. He wants to be a wolf, but in reality he's not. He is raised by wolves and he feels he has a nice life. Then one day Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens Mowgli's life. While the wolves argue about whether or not Mowgli should leave for the safety of the pack, Mowgli decides for them and leaves. He ventures out to find the man village. On his way to the man village, he meets many enemies and friends like King Louie (Christopher Walken), Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and Baloo (Bill Murray). What will happen next? Will he make it to the man village? Does Shere Khan catch him? You just have to watch the movie to find out.

What I liked about the bonus features on the Blu-ray disc is a feature called, The Jungle Book Reimagined which shows ideas for the remake of The Jungle Book and Neel Sethi's experience while acting on the set. This shows the relationship between Neel and the director. There is also a bonus audio commentary feature from the director, Jon Favreau, which is great because you get to hear what he was thinking when making the movie. Another added bonus allows you to go to the scene selection and select the scene you want, plus there is a setup feature so you can insert your own settings. There is also a DVD version included and a download code to download a digital copy if you would prefer to use that versus the discs.

What I like about this movie are the CGIs which are so realistic that you think the sets are real because they are so incredibly detailed. The animals look realistic as well and the backgrounds are very intricate. But, as I learned in the Blu-ray feature "I am Mowgli", it shows that it was all done on green screen, which makes this film more incredible because most of it isn't real! The voice acting is superb. Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and many others truly bring the animals to life with their outstanding voice over work. Speaking about Christopher Walken, another bonus feature is "King Louie's Temple Layer by Layer". It shows you how the "I Wan'na Be Like You" scene was created. It is very interesting to watch how the orchestra, Christopher Walken, the storyboard and green screens worked together to make that sequence. Finally, the music is superb and adds so much more energy and excitement to the movie. It just makes the scenes more interesting than they would be without such compelling music.

What you should know about this film is that there are many intense scenes. Even I jumped out of my seat a few times. This isn't a movie for children below age 9 and is definitely a "know your kid" type of movie. I also didn't like how King Louie doesn't look as friendly as in the original movie. Aside from that, this movie is truly outstanding entertainment.

I recommend this film to kids ages 9 to 18. People who like action, adventure and comedy movies will surely enjoy this. It does have intense scenes and will make you jump but I give it 4 out of 5 stars and love all the bonus features on the DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD which is available August 30, 2016.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

Having now see three versions of the Rudyard Kipling classic, I can honestly say that Jon Favreau's 2016 adaptation reigns supreme. I know that may come as a far-fetched opinion for the faithful fans of the 1967 animated classic, but open your mind to the possibility that this version is above the rest.

The darker, more realistic tone of this live-action adventure is a sharp contrast to the lighter tone of the 1967 musical comedy. That may be off-putting to some fans, but once you're swept up in the visual splendor of the movie, the story becomes ever more engaging. Speaking of which, don't be surprised if a few elements of the 1967 version's story aren't in this one or are rearranged.

Jon Favreau gives the story the proper grandeur it deserves. He uses lush art direction and sweeping cinematography to make the story look bigger. Visual effects aside, the aesthetic of the film gets across the monumental stature a family adventure should have. Combine the visuals with the score of John Debney and you'll find beauty and thrills that bring back a child like wonder.

One thing I really appreciate is the way the film treats the animals as characters, not denying them close-ups or treating them as spectacles. They are instead, portrayed as natural beings within the world of the screenplay. It enhances the brilliant voice acting of the cast. Speaking of which, I hope this film can rekindle the campaign to get voice acting a category with the major awards. Idris Elba is perfectly evil. Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray provide such natural and fitting voice work. And, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken steal the show. Their scenes are the highlights of the movie and are easily the most memorable.

This movie is an overall construction of perfect cinematic elements. Disney has hit a grand slam with The Jungle Book as it will be etched in the memories of audiences for decades. I say this film is one of the best films of this decade and maybe even the last ten years.

With that said, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

After analyzing this film, I really appreciated it because it is family oriented and explores the relationship of a young man. This film made me wonder if something happened to my parents who would take care of me. I love the fact that the animated jungle animals look so real and talk like human beings. This film blends adventure, drama, fantasy and family in an entertaining story. I enjoyed this film because of the way it takes a classic story and turns it into something amazing. Director Jon Favreau's fantastic adaptation of the story and his devotion to the animals cherish exceeded my expectations. The special effects and 3D portrayal of all the animals are breathtakingly awesome.

The story follows the man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who departs the jungle after a threat from the tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba). The panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) serves as his protector and keeps him out of harms way until Baloo the Bear (Bill Murray) comes on board and joins the team. Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery and meets creatures along the way who don't have his best interests at heart. The film shows his innocence and you have to respect and honor him.

I loved the scene when Baloo the Bear and Mowgli go to the lake with Mowgli sitting on Baloo's stomach as they float down the river. I really adored this moment because it is hilarious and it reminded me of a special time I spent with my friends in the pool. A bond is formed that you knew could not be broken.

The message of this film is do not ever hold a grudge against someone because of something that happened in the past. Try to make amends because life is too short and precious. Live each moment to the fullest. That is what Mowgli realizes and does. You should always give someone a chance to fit in.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18 because they will definitely be entertained. I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is child friendly, hilarious, exciting and enjoyable it even though some terrifying moments exist. This movie opens in theaters Friday, April 15, 2016 so go check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Tre'ana H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Disney steps it up in this reboot of the Rudyard Kipling classic tale. This live-action film with enhanced animated animals stays true to the original story while delivering a big Wow! factor with it's realistic animations. Had it not been for the animals talking, I would have sworn they were real.

A stunning voiceover cast combined with an outstanding score equate to, what I believe, is something that outshines the original class from the 60s. I would have loved to have been a fly inside Jon Favreau's mind as he was generating the concept for this film. The visual effects team also deserves a huge applaud for their incredible work. The casting was straight on. Newcomer Neel Sethi, for whom this is his first feature role delivers a lively and believable performance while charming us with his precociousness and adorable smile. You can hardly ask for better voice over work than what we get from Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as the formidable Shere Khan , Lupita Nyong'o as Raksha and Scarlett Johansson as the seductive Kaa. She and Christopher Walken as King Louis steal the show with their cameo roles. I love this! Can you tell. However, it does have some "scare the pants off you" scenes so, be cautious when determining which child to take with you. It is not for the faint of heart.

The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don't have his best interests at heart. Directed by Jon Favreau. Starring Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken
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