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</script></div>{/googleAds}At 78 minutes, The Jungle Book is a pitch perfect Disney film. There have certainly been better films in the company's catalogue over the years, both before and after this one, but none that seem to so effortlessly breeze through adults and children's imaginations for an hour and change. The story being told doesn't warrant a longer running time, the songs and voice characterizations are distinctly memorable, and the company has done a sterling job on this 40th anniversary DVD.

So, what's the bad news? Actually, there isn't any. Go figure. This is about as ideal a classic Disney film, and inevitable anniversary DVD, as one could hope for.

After Mowgli is left stranded in the jungle and befriended by Bagheera, the black panther, he is taken into the thick of the foliage to live with the wolf cubs and along the way meets an assorted cast of nice, and not so nice characters, including the elephant Colonel Hathie, the orangutan King Louie (voiced by the incomparable Louis Prima), the mischievous snake Kaa, and the nasty and villainous tiger, Shere Khan.

Of course, the most important secondary character in the film is lovable old Baloo, a friendly bear who teaches Mowgli the â"Bare (or Bear?) Necessities of Life".

The Jungle Book is notable for being the last film that Walt Disney oversaw before his death. In fact, the film was still in production at the time of his passing.

But, what a swan song.

This animated classic serves as a shining example of what Walt was capable of, and what sometimes seems to be absent in the company's more modern features. There is a simplicity and innocence at play in The Jungle Book that was missing from later features.

And that is ultimately the beauty of this Disney classic. It doesn't strive to be anything more than it is. The story is just sparse enough to leave plenty of room for characterization, singable tunes, and plain old fun, and the sterling animation holds up against any animated film released since.


DVD Details:

You'll find more here than you or your kids will know what to do with, including a 15 minute featurette on the influence of The Jungle Book over the years, and a 46 minute featurette that sheds some light on the creation process, including Walt Disney's final days supervising the film.

There are features devoted to Kipling and the story's origin, deleted songs, and even a deleted character that never made it into the final feature, Rocky the Rhino. The DVD offers the standard crossovers typical of these Platinum Editions, like current Disney stars (in this case, The Jonas Bros.) performing a classic song from the film.

Add to that some activities, interactive games, and trivia, and you have yourself one swingin' good DVD that should enjoy a permanent place in your collection.

Note This review and the below specs are based on the single disc edition. A two disc extended edition is also available on DVD and Blue-Ray DVD.

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.75:1

Subtitles: None

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; music videos; deleted songs; games.

* Commentary -
o feature-length audio commentary with Richard Sherman (half of the songwriting team), Andreas Deja (current Disney animator), and Bruce Reitherman (voice of Mowgli and son of the director)
* Featurettes -
o The Lost Character: Rocky the Rhino (07:00)
* Music Video -
o I Wan'na Be Like You (03:00) - by The Jonas Brothers.
o Disney Song Selection (13:00)
+ Colonel Hathi's March
+ Bare Necessities
+ I Wan'na Be Like You
+ That's What Friends Are For
* Deleted Songs (21:00)
+ Brothers All
+ The Song of the Seeonee
+ The Bare Necessities" (a demo version of the lone song that wasn't discarded)
+ Monkey See, Monkey Do
+ I Knew I Belonged To Her
+ In A Day's Work
+ The Mighty Hunters
* Promotional - Insuring a Future for Wildlife and Wild Places (04:00)
* Sneak Peeks
o Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
o Santa Clause 3
o High School Musical 2: Extended Edition
o The Aristocats: Special Edition
o Enchanted
o Meet the Robinsons
o Ratatouille
o Commercial for the "Adventures by Disney" travel company.

Number of discs: - 1- Keepcase Packaging