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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Jungle Shuffle 2D / 3D Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
It’s a jungle out there… Manu (Drake Bell) and Sacha (Alicia Silverstone) are two young raccoons living in the Mexican rainforest. They are deeply in love with each other! The only problem is that Sacha is the daughter of the raccoon tribe’s king and Manu is a bit of a troublemaker. When Manu’s escapades leave the tribe’s most worshipped statue destroyed, the King (Tom Arnold) exiles Manu to live on his own in the jungle. A year later the fumbling youngster has turned into a strapping young male, but one thing hasn’t changed: Manu is still in love with Sacha. When human poachers capture Sacha, Manu sets out on a thrilling adventure to save the raccoon princess and redeem himself with the tribe. On Manu’s journey he teams up with Chuy (Rob Schneider), a lively and courageous spider monkey, and the chaotic duo face the many dangers of the tropical rainforest. Except to free Sacha out of the clutches of the mysterious Dr. Loco, Manu has to accept that even the bravest hero needs a helping hand… paw, claw or talon.
Film (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Jungle Shuffle takes place in the Mexican Rainforest and centers around a pack of coatis. Manu (voiced by Drake Bell) and Sacha (voiced by Alicia Silverstone) are two young coatis in love. Sacha is the daughter of the tribe’s King (Tom Arnold), who believes he should decide whom his daughter will marry. The animals make it clear that humans are the most dangerous of all the species.  For protection, they construct a great guardian statue. When Manu accidentally destroys the statue, he is banished into the jungle.

Exile is very tough for Manu at first. Foraging for food is hard and he is sad, wet and lonely.  Eventually he adapts and begins to thrive.  Gun shouts ring out in the jungle.  Even though a year has passed, Sacha immediately fears for Manu and rushes out to find him. Sacha gets captured by humans, along with some other animals that were unlucky enough to be tranquilized by the hunters. 
Manu sets out on an adventure to save the princess.  Along the way he frees a ninja monkey named Chuy (Rob Schneider) who becomes a companion on the journey. There’s a mad scientist, an evil corporation and many close calls.

Neither the 3D nor the 2D versions are particularly impressive visually. The 3D film relies on gimmicks like birds flying directly at the screen.  This isn’t the type of 3D film that immerses you in the environment, this is the type that tries to make the viewer duck when things are headed straight for them. The lack of realism and texture in all formats was a big problem for me.  The voice acting was overdone and the story was weird and confusing.  While the silliness, fart jokes, and the idea of a project super chicken did appeal to my second grader, Jungle Shuffle missed the mark all together for the adults in the room. I was honestly hoping for a cute rip off of Madagascar. Jungle Shuffle is more weird than cute and I spent far too much time trying to guess what the animals were.
Video (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Jungle Shuffle is presented on 2D and 3D Blu ray with a widescreen ratio.  The animation fails to offer any realism with odd color choices and flat fur.  Shadows are distracting and even the 3D version does not enhance the experience.
Audio (2 out of 5 stars)
Jungle Shuffle’s 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack was also underwhelming overall.  Most of the dialogue is intelligible but the music isn’t well timed or placed.  Gun shots lack authenticity and the listener never feels immersed by the sounds of the jungle as expected.
Extras (0 out of 5 stars)
The Jungle Shuffle Blu-ray lacks any special features on the disc other than a handful of trailers. The Blu-ray offers both 2D and 3D version on a single disc with a separate DVD disc included and the package includes a page of stickers.
Summary (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Jungle Shuffle’s animation, voice acting and story-line was a disappointment.  Although my seven year old did stay interested until the end, he pointed out that they copied the rolling boulder from Indiana Jones.  I was hoping for a fun animal movie to add to the rotation of family films watched over and over in our house but even my son doesn’t want to see Jungle Shuffle again.  The film is not recommended in 2D or 3D.

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