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Jeri Jacquin

Now on Bluray from director Jon Favreau and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the story of a boy and the animals who love him in THE JUNGLE BOOK.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a very young boy who was rescued by Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and raised by the jungle wolves led by Akela (Giancarlo Esposito). Learning all he can from the jungle animals, he is a happy man-cub.

That is until the appearance of Shere Khan (Idris Elba) who wants the jungle animals to turn over Mowgli. Bagheera knows that the only way to help Mowgli is to return him to the man-village where he will be safe with his own kind.

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Doing what Bagheera wants, it takes a flash before Mowgli decides that he wants to be with his animal family. That’s when the boy meets Baloo (Bill Murray) who befriends Mowgli and tries to teach him the carefree part of life.

On his journeys Mowgli meets unsavory types including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and King Louie the Orangutan (Christopher Walken). When King Louie tells Mowgli the truth about what Shere Khan has done, he knows what he must do. That is to return to Shere Khan with the Red Flower [fire].

The cub is about to become a man!

Sethi as Mowgli looks exactly how I’d expect him to. Of course there is the memory of the 1967 THE JUNGLE BOOK to base that statement off of. He is a strong and spindly legged character who has the same agility as the animals he has been raised by. This is a very big role for a young actor but Sethi seems to embrace it and jumps Mowgli from animation to flesh and man-cub.

Kingsley as Bagheera can read a phone book and I’d be happy. In his voice of this beautiful leopard is the care and concern for a boy he sees as one of the jungles very own. Murray as Baloo is his usual vocally funny self. Like Kingsley, the voice of Bill Murray will always win over movie goers whether it’s animation or character voices.

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Elba as Shere Khan allows his voice to make this tiger as angry as he wants to be. This tiger lives for the joy of causing pain in every man-cub or creature he comes into contact with. Elba’s voice projects that from start to finish.

Walken as King Louie cracked me up. Yes, I realize the end result is a gigantic orangutan out of control but before that moment Walken sweet talks the audience and the man-cub. Johannson as Kaa is sultry and slithery and if you’re going to hang around a snake you could do worse than have it speak like Johannson.

Cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Garry Shandling as Ikki, Brighton Rose as Gray, Russell Peters as Rocky the Rhino, Madeleine Favreau as Raquel the Rhino, Sara Arrington as Neelgai Deer, and Sam Raimi as the voice of the Giant Squirrel.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is a recognized leader in the home entertainment industry. Their titles represent the highest level of picture and sound, featuring groundbreaking and state-of-the-art animation with unprecedented levels of interactivity made possible by Bluray technology.

THE JUNGLE BOOK had a lot to live up to as fans were holding their breath while protecting the animated version of this film. It is colorful, thoughtful and gives Disney another feather in its cap for bringing animation to live action. Bringing the Mowgli/Baloo Bare Necessities song brings people my age a shout out and ode to the animated film that many still hold dear. I know that my granddaughter loved the film being captivated by the characters and the soundtrack.

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The Bluray-DVD-Digital HD is filled with so many extras including THE JUNGLE BOOK Reimagined: Discover how the filmmakers reenvisioned this classic tale, I Am Mowgli: Follow the extraordinary journey of Neel Sethi who joins some of the biggest names in movies to bring this story to life, King Louie’s Temple Layer By Layer: Take a fast, engaging look at how the “I Wan’na Be Like You” sequence was created and Audio Commentary with Director Jon Favreau.

In the end – the legend will never be the same!

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