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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Animals > Children > Musical > The Jungle Book - Diamond Edition (1967/Disney Blu-ray + DVD)

The Jungle Book - Diamond Edition (1967/Disney Blu-ray + DVD)

Picture: B/B- Sound: A-/B Extras: B- Film: B-

I once again watched Disney's The Jungle Book almost forgetting that I had reviewed the film several years earlier when the Platinum DVD version was released. For that reason I went into this viewing with a fresh mind, but concurrently reinforced the fact that I simply find The Jungle Book forgettable. Blasphemous for sure that a Disney aficionado as myself would suggest that a Disney classic like The Jungle Book is not as good as most would suggest; but sadly it is true. So why would The Jungle Book be so fondly remembered (by most) if it is not that great?

The fact of the matter, however, is that the tale constructed for the purposes of the 1967 Disney classic feels rushed and all too short; dismissing much of the emotion and insight the Rudyard Kipling novel had originally created. Would the film been better if Walt Disney had not passed away midway through production, we will never know. But what is clear is that the film does not live up to other films like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or modern classics like The Lion King. So why all the fanfare? My feeling is that it is in the art and characters themselves. That is to say, Baloo, Bagheera, Shere Kahn, and even Mowgli are all wonderfully and imaginatively animated with a style and charm unlike any others. Their appeal would go far beyond The Jungle Book itself to inspire other animated series (such as Talespin) and be an integral part of the Disney Universe.

So with amazing characters, brilliant artistry, and an imaginative world that only Disney could create; it is no wonder why The Jungle Book has stood the test of time in hearts and minds of fans across the world. From this reviewer's point of view it is far from the greatest Disney venture to date, but that is one man lost in a jungle of much more ferocious fans.

For a more detailed look into The Jungle Book, please refer to my Platinum release review:


From a technical standpoint this Diamond Edition release is much improved over the previous Platinum release; though still not as perfect as some of the other Diamond releases. The picture is presented in a 1.75 X 1, 1080p AVC encoded MPEG-4 that boasts of bright colors, but overall appears to have been digitally scrubbed clean. Whereas Disney purists would like to see some of the natural grain and sketch lines of the original art; it is not unimaginable that Disney would want to give the 50 year old film a fresher look. The problem is they cleaned the image so much it can be distracting at times as the characters almost float across the backdrop, as there is some disconnect between the hand painted landscapes and the cartoon characters. With that said the image is crisp, clean, and clear with inky blacks and bright colors (if not up to a three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor copy of the film so valuable these days); I just don't think the restoration work was meticulous as it should have been. The sound is much improved in its 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless track that utilizes the entire soundscape and brings the jungle to life. The best sound comes during the musical numbers, but concurrently dialogue and ambient noise is also well done throughout.

The DVD disc included here is a mere downgrade more akin to the Platinum release with slight improvements.

The extras are nice and plentiful; many ported over from the Platinum release. Extras are as follows:

  • Audio Commentary

  • Special Introductions

  • Alternate Ending

  • @Disney Animation: Sparking Creativity

  • Bear-E-Oke

  • Music, Memories, and Mowgli

  • Disney intermission

  • I Wanna Be Like You (behind the scenes at Animal Kingdom)

  • The Bare Necessities: The Making of the Jungle Book

  • Disney's Kipling: Walt's Magical Touch on a Literary Classic

  • Mowgli's Return to the Wild

  • Frank and Ollie

  • The Lost Character: Rocky the Rhino

  • Song Selection

  • Disneypedia

  • Music Video by The Jonas Brothers: I Wanna Be Like You

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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