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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Slapstick > Satire > Action > Drama > Family > Jungle Cruise 4K (2021/Disney 4K Ultra HD w/Blu-ray)/National Velvet (1944/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Jungle Cruise 4K (2021/Disney 4K Ultra HD w/Blu-ray)/National Velvet (1944/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B Sound: A/B- Extras: B/C- Films: C/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The National Velvet Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are two films that show how family-aimed features have changed over the decades....

Following the same cinematic formula as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Jungle Cruise 4K (2021) is based on a Disney theme park ride and is a whimsical action/adventure that channels the Indiana Jones films in terms of its rousing spirit that mixes supernatural elements with classic adventure story tropes.

Delayed a year due to the pandemic, the Disney tentpole film stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Emily Blunt. It really wants to be a franchise starter, and the high budget and the money is clearly on the screen, but I don't think it really connected with audiences like the studio hoped that it would. However, this movie looks and sounds fantastic on 4K UHD disc, in fact, I would call it demo disc worthy in terms of presentation even if the film itself is all over the place, silly, and pure popcorn munching fare.

Jungle Cruise also stars Edgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, and Andy Nyman. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) and the heroic skipper Frank Wolff (The Rock) team up for a high stakes adventure set against a ravenous jungle full of danger. They set out to uncover a supernatural secret that has laid dormant for centuries and thanks to Wolff's friendly tiger and trustworthy steamboat, the ragtag team risk life itself on this jungle cruise.

Jungle Cruise is presented in 2160p Ultra High Definition on 4K UHD disc with an HEVC / H.265 codec with HDR, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and a lossless Dolby Atmos mix, all of which are simply stunning. There is also a lossless English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix on the disc as well. As mentioned this is demo disc worthy. The image is exceptionally clear and just looks fantastic through and through and shows off the capability of this new format.

Special Features:

Jungle Cruise Expedition Mode

It's A Jungle Out There: Making Jungle Cruise

Dwayne And Emily: Undoubtedly Funny

Creating The Amazon

Once A Skip, Always A Skip

Outtakes and Deleted Scenes.

Jungle Cruise is a fine movie to turn your brain off to and watch, but it's nearly cartoonish in its overall execution and spends too much time trying to be like a Pirates or Indiana Jones film, that it never really finds its own identity. In terms of its overall presentation on 4K UHD disc, however, this is a home run.

Decades ago, when studios seemed more interested in entertaining audiences with more honest, smart, warm fare that did rang more true than not, you would get a film like Clarence Brown's National Velvet (1944) and it was an event film. MGM had Mickey Rooney as the lead, but along with the beautiful horse used as a character, the film is easily stolen by and helped make an even bigger international star out of Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet, who steals the show, film and everything else in the midst of a grade-A production of what was then the biggest studio in the world, the Disney of its time.

She wins the horse in a raffle and wants to run it, but gals are not allowed to race horses (at the time) so she decides to forget that and disguise herself as a male jockey to do so. The film is shot beautifully in a way we would not see for such a film again until the Coppola-produced Black Stallion and has a smooth pace and solid supporting cast that includes Angela Lansbury, Donald Crisp, Anne Revere, Jackie Jenkins and the irrepressible Arthur Treacher.

But the cinematography, locations, superior use of full Technicolor and Taylor put this one over the top as it exceeds its demographic aim and melodrama. It is simply a beautiful film all the way and even when it gets predictable and overly melodramatic, is hard not to watch. The studio knew what they were doing and now, we have this restored edition that is simply stunning.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer rarely shows the age of the materials used, capturing the amazing, superior look of the dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor that even the best Ultra HD cameras in the world could not begin to match! Warner Archive has once again turned out a restoration that is amazing and often jaw-dropping, with a few demo shots that even exceed my rating. Imagine this in 4K!

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is an impressive remaster from the original monophonic sound elements for the film that sound really good for their age, especially for a film over three-quarters of a century old, but that is what we get and I doubt this could ever sound better. Nice!

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra, but some other extra would have been nice.

To order either the Warner Archive National Velvet Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Velvet) and James Lockhart



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