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DVD Review The Jungle Bunch DVD Review

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Kevin EK, May 24, 2012.

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  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Well-Known Member
    Reviewer

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    The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe is a harmless animated family movie that tries very hard for what is ultimately a limited effect.   Made by French filmmakers and voiced by John Lithgow and a mostly unknown cast, the hour-long movie presents the tale of Maurice, a jungle penguin who must bring a team of misfits with him back to the ice floe to save his people from the evil walruses.  There are plenty of opportunities for silly animal antics and slapstick, but nothing that will stay with the viewer.   The movie is billed as “Madagascar meets Happy Feet”, which has some truth on a surface level.  The DVD presents the movie in anamorphic widescreen, along with 26 short vignettes as a bonus feature.



    THE JUNGLE BUNCH:

    BACK TO THE ICE FLOE


    Studio: Universal/Pgs Entertainment/Tat Productions/Master Films/Vanilla Seed

    Release Year:  2011

    Length:  58 mins

    Genre:  Animation/Family/Penguins/Funny Animals


    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic

    Audio:  English, French 5.1 Dolby Digital (@ 448 kbps)

    Subtitles:   English, Spanish


    Film Rating:  Unrated (Family Friendly, Some Comic Violence)




    Release Date: May 29, 2012 (Walmart Exclusive),  April 18, 2012 (All Stores)


    With the Voices of:  John Lithgow, Donald Leary, Stan Hanks, Chris Smith

    Written by:  David Alaux and Eric Tosti and Jean-Francois Tosti

    Directed by:  David Alaux and Eric Tosti


    Rating:  2     


    The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe is a family animation adventure clearly made with the best of intentions.  The co-directors are experienced with animation on French television and have made a computer-animated film that combines elements of some of the more popular big-ticket theatrical events today.  The basic plot follows Maurice, a penguin raised in the jungle after some evil walruses take over his home and toss his egg (he’s still unborn at the time) into the sea.  Years later, two penguins from home venture to the jungle to bring back Maurice, now known as “The Great Tiger Warrior” to save their people and restore justice to the ice floe.  Or something like that.  Maurice dutifully assembles a group including an ape, a warthog, a frog, and of course his “son”, a Tiger Fish who spends most of the movie in a convenient fishbowl.  The movie goes by fairly quickly, and is just under an hour in length.  This could probably work well for a family with pre-teen kids as an afternoon entertainment before dinner.


    I should note a few bits of information about the movie and its release.  At this time, there is no imdb listing for this movie and the only cast member with a listing there is John Lithgow, voicing the lead character.  There is some confusion about the title.  The packaging and PR materials advertise this as The Jungle Bunch: The Movie, but the movie itself has the title The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe, which I have used for this review.  There is the odd typo in the credits here and there, if you look in the cast section.  There was some confusion over the release date for this 2011 movie – initially we heard May 29, and then August 18.  The correct information is that the movie will be available exclusively at Walmart as of May 29, and will expand to other stores on August 18.  Looking at the movie itself, the computer animation here is fine, but nothing that will knock anyone’s socks off.  This, plus the other factors, lead me to believe this is a low-budget children’s animation film intended as an easy summer purchase for parents looking for an inexpensive new movie for the family.  As such, it works.  It’s certainly innocuous enough.  There are better family movies out there, but if this one is available at a low price point, it’s not a bad bet.


    The Jungle Bunch:  Back to the Ice Floe will be available exclusively at Walmart on May 29, and then at other stores on August 18.  It is available on DVD only, with 26 short vignettes included as a bonus feature.



    VIDEO QUALITY 3/5

    The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer that provides a good presentation for the computer animation in the movie.  There’s a good range of colors on display, even during the sequences on the ice floe.


    AUDIO QUALITY 3/5

    The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe is presented in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes which mostly live in the front channels.  (I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the French mix was the original one for the movie, and that the English mix with John Lithgow was added for this release.)  There’s a bit of music and atmospheric sound in the surrounds but most of the attention is up front.



    SPECIAL FEATURES 3/5

    The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe comes with 26 short vignettes included as a bonus feature.



    The Jungle Bunch: Newsbeat (41:31 Total, Anamorphic) – 26 short vignettes are included here as a bonus.  They feature all the jungle characters of the movie in short clips that spotlight each character’s particular features.  These range from the opening “Hunting Lesson” where Maurice teaches his son the Tiger Fish how to hunt (badly), to the closing Christmas song where Maurice leads the animals in a rendition of Jingle Bells.  The clips each run about 90 seconds long.  They can be viewed individually or via a “Play All” function.


     Subtitles are available in English and Spanish for the movie.   A standard chapter menu is also present.  When the disc is first put into the player, previews are presented for the Curious George DVD series, Barbie: The Princess and the Pop Star, Barbie: A Mermaid Tale 2, Big Miracle and Hop.



    IN THE END...


    The Jungle Bunch: Back to the Ice Floe is a decent family animation that should fill an hour of the afternoon without offending anyone.  It’s nothing that will stay with a viewer after the hour, but it does provide a nice, low-cost combination of themes seen in other animated movies like Happy Feet, Madagascar and The Jungle Book.


    Kevin Koster

    May 24, 2012

     

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