The Jungle Book : 4 of 5
It feels strange to be writing about the last Disney Platinum Edition DVD when a new one is already out, but I'm happy to say that this is a great presentation of the last Disney animated feature with Walt's involvement. There's a nice 45-minute documentary included (which is nice since so many recent DVDs barely squeeze out 15 minutes of information), and I learned a lot about the development of this movie! I never knew about the former "dark version" (closer to Kipling's original) written by Bill Peet, or the subsequent argument with Walt that made him leave the studio, after which Walt changed the story into what we all love today, including the girl from the man village at the end, which was originally controversial among the animators. There's plenty of animation discussion with Andreas Deja looking over some original drawings (I love that stuff!), plus conversation about the first use of "star voices" and the replacement of the original set of songs - The Bare Necessities was almost dropped! There's even footage of Louie Prima's band going nuts in their recording session, which is great stuff. Of course, the movie itself is wonderful, and has some of the best character animation on film. I always cringe a little when they repeat gags to save money (such as Ka's accordion joke which is in twice, cel for cel), but they definitely make up for it with scenes like Baloo tucking Mowgli into bed with leaves, and of course King Louie's dance is pretty awesome! The Jungle Book is really an enjoyable movie, and learning about its history and rocky development makes me appreciate it even more.