Disney's 'Jungle Book' reboot is on Blu-ray and DVD this week
Posted September 4
The new Disney reboot of “The Jungle Book” is the year’s third-biggest box-office hit so far, and now it’s on Blu-ray and DVD. It headlines this week's list of new movies on DVD and Blu-ray.
“The Jungle Book” (Disney, 2016, PG, audio commentary, featurettes). Disney’s reinterpretation of the oft-filmed Rudyard Kipling “Jungle Book” stories is a delightful family film that, surprisingly, retains some of the songs and sensibilities of the 1967 animated version.
The familiar story has young Mowgli (Neel Sethi) being rescued by black panther Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and raised by wolves in the jungles of India, later to be confronted by hypnotic python Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and befriended by sloth bear Baloo (Bill Murray) before he is attacked by Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba).
I’ve asked the question before: When does excessive CGI make a live-action movie more of an animated feature? Here’s a perfect example. It all looks pretty real — but, except for young Mowgli, almost everything here is computer animation. And it’s really quite astonishing.
“Genius” (Summit, 2016, PG-13, featurettes). Does the title refer to tortured writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) or his book editor, Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth), who, at the expense of his own family, worked tirelessly to make Wolfe’s work better (as well as the scribblings of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald)? It's an interesting character study that is worth a look, although it never quite catches fire. Laura Linney, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce and Dominic West co-star.
“Me Before You” (Warner, 2016, PG-13, deleted scenes, featurette, bloopers). Emilia Clarke shines in a star-making turn as the ditsy and lovable caregiver for the cynical victim (Sam Claflin) of a motorcycle accident, who is confined to a wheelchair. But this comedy-drama is an uneven effort, saddled with a “Million Dollar Baby” ending. With Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Brendan Coyle and Joanna Lumley.
“Fishes ‘n Loaves: Heaven Sent” (Lionsgate, 2016, PG). The pastor (Patrick Muldoon) of a failing Los Angeles church is sent to interview potential ministers for a rural Arizona congregation, which doesn’t sit will with his city-bred wife (Dina Meyer) and kids. But they soon fit in, and guess who the new reverend winds up being? This is a cute faith-film comedy that should please its target audience. Bruce Davison, Dominique Swain and William McNamara co-star.
“Equals” (Lionsgate, 2016, PG-13, audio commentary, featurettes). The latest variation on George Orwell’s seminal futuristic novel “1984” has Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart living in a sterile society where emotions have been outlawed. Then a “disease” infects Hoult and Stewart and they find themselves drawn to each other. The visuals here owe something to “THX 1138” and “Gattaca,” among others. Co-stars include Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.