Friday, April 18, 2014


by Al Kessel 

Think Disney's Up meets the world of music, and that's what you'll find when you listen to this one of a kind adventure in tune! Ok, I know, you're confused, but stick with me here.

A few weeks ago, we received an email asking if we'd be interested in reviewing a pre-release of the latest mix from Joe Pardo (aka djRom). The title of this mix intrigued me: Adventurtorium! What attracted my attention even more was that this mix consists of Disney movie and Theme Park music, mixed with various instrumentals from the soundtrack of Disney Pixar's Up! Hmm, well, I do LOVE the movie Up. And, I do like music. So, I told Joe SURE! Shortly after I replied, Joe sent me the link to all the songs and let me tell you, I wasn't ready for what I heard.

Now, before I go any further, let me describe the music djRom has created. He's taken some audio dialogue and instrumental music from Up, and mixed it with some very interesting stuff: some hip/hop style music; some electronic beats; songs from Theme Park attractions like Splash Mountain and The Enchanted Tiki Room (YAH!!); some mainstream music like Gangsta's Paradise, Stop, Look and Listen, The Real Slim Shady. Without listening, my first thought was 'huh?!'. I thought this just can't be any good. BUT...BOY was I wrong! You'd think that this mix of the instrumentals from Up and songs like Gangsta's Paradise just doesn't work, but it really does. Joe Pardo works his DJ magic and makes this eclectic mix of mis-matched music (wow, lot's of M's there!) work! I've never really been a fan of 'mix' music, but when created this way, yeah, it really makes me happy.  Joe mixed this album live on two turntables, a mixer and something called Serato (have NO clue what that is but it sounds COOL!)  Through this project, Joe has created a completely new way of enjoying this awesome Disney Pixar classic movie, and trust me, it does create a whole new level of emotion and adventure. You really are treated to the entire story of UP in a uniquely different and wonderfully imagined way!

What makes Adventurtorium! an even better project is the genesis of the project. Joe Pardo's goal is to help raise money for Give Kids The World, a wonderful 70 acre nonprofit storybook resort, located in Central Florida, where children with life threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost free vacations. Each CD set consists of 2 hand colored Discs (original artwork by Matt Lewis), 4 panel hand drawn CD wallet, 35 awesome songs, all for $10.00! And 25% of each album is donated to Give Kids The World! 

If you love Disney, Pixar, Disney Theme Parks, Disney Movies, Music or ANYTHING, this really is a must have to add to your Disney music collection. Be sure to tune in to Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast episode 91 to hear our chat with Joe Pardo and artist Matt Lewis! (yeah, shameless plug for the show). 

All in all, Adventurtorium! is really a terrific album and a one you truly must add to your collection. Plus, you'd be aiding a wonderful cause in Give Kids The World.  - Al 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Jungle Book 2

by Al Kessel

So...Mowgli returns! Right? Well...yeah. Sort of. 

In 1967, Walt Disney Productions introduced us to the adventures of the young orphan boy Mowgli in their 19th animated feature The Jungle Book, inspired by the Rudyard Kipling classic of the same name. In this wonderful Disney animated feature, we watched as Mowglis jungle friends Baloo (the fun loving laid back bear, voice by Phil Harris), and Bagheera (the wise and determined black panther, voiced by Sebastian Cabot) set out to return him to the 'man-village' after the evil man eating tiger Shere Khan (voiced by George Sanders) is said to have returned to the jungle and out to eat Mowgli. Of course, in true Disney fashion, the trio encounter all sorts of fun on their way to deliver Mowgli. But...this isn't a review of the original The Jungle Book. This is about the 2003 sequel, The Jungle Book 2. 
John Goodman voices Baloo

In this follow-up animated musical film, produced by DisneyToon Studios, it's been a little while since the little orphan boy returned to the 'man-village', and he's settled in quite well, with Shanti (the little girl from the original who 'lured' him back to civilization), her brother Ranjan and their parents. But, Mowgli misses the fun he used to have in the jungle with Baloo and all their friends. Of course, Shere Khan has returned looking for revenge on Mowgli. Meanwhile, Baloo sneaks into the 'man-village' and gets Mowgli to return to the jungle to live with him. Finding out that their adopted brother has left, Shanti and Ranjan go off into the jungle to retrieve Mowgli, and then...well, remember, no spoilers here! You'll have to see the movie to find out what happens next!

 Now, it's of course obvious that nearly 40 years after the original, none of the original voice actors have returned to voice their roles. Replacing Phil Harris is John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.) as Baloo, and I have to admit, he does a really good job filling in as the fun loving bear. Haley Joel Osment voices Mowgli, and, although I do appreciate Haley in many of his roles, didn't quite get the same feeling as the original. Kaa, an Indian python who also seeks out Mowgli, to, uh, have him over for 'dinner', was played by Sterling Holloway in the original, and in the sequel, voiced by the incomparable Jim Cummings quite well. 
Haley Joel Osment voices Mowgli

As in the first The Jungle Book, the sequel does have several musical numbers throughout. Some originals to the sequel, many remakes of songs from the first movie, such as The Bare Necessities and I Wan'na Be Like You (performed by Smash Mouth). Now...although I like the group Smash Mouth, I wasn't very fond of their rendition of this classic King Louie tune! 

Originally released in theaters, The Jungle Book 2, although considered a box office success (the film budget was only $20 million and it grossed $135 million world wide at the box office), the film is considered by many Disney fans to be a bit of a flop. Perhaps one of the reasons was that instead of the lead character voices performing off of each other in the same studio, John Goodman and Haley Joel Osment were in different states recording at separate times! 
Mowgli and Shanti

All in all, although no where as good as the first movie, The Jungle Book 2 is still a decent and fun animated adventure, and a must have for Disney Animated Film collectors.