Review of 'The Jungle Book'

jungle_book.jpg This live action remake of the 1967 Walt Disney animation classic “The Jungle Book” tells the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a young boy raised by wolves in the jungle. When the menacing tiger Shere Kahn (voiced by Idris Elba) threatens Mowgli out of revenge for being attacked by humans Akela (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito), the wolf that raised Mowgli, and the rest of the wolf pack agree it would be best to send Mowgli to the man village to protect him from Kahn. The panther Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley), who rescued Mowgli as a child, agrees to take him to the humans but after an ambush they are separated. Mowgli makes his own way through the jungle encountering various animals who are either out to eat him or help him…

I was not quite sure what to expect of “The Jungle Book” but I was pleasantly surprised with this more adult take on the original movie with a lot more story and character development. Several of the musical numbers remain such as “Bear Necessities” (by Baloo the bear voiced by Bill Murray) and “King of the Jungle” (by ape King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken). Even though more immediate and serious there is still the warmth and humour of Baloo to lighten the mood. Sethi puts on an amazing show as Mowgli with the appropriate amount of innocence and charm. The character of Kahn here is truly terrifying and may likely scare small children (though with what they are used to now, perhaps not…?).

The digital animation here is outstanding and really brings all of the animals to life. With the exception of their talking (!) they truly look and act utterly real as they blend in with the human actor(s) around them. Their movement is incredibly nuanced and truly amazing.

This coming of age story is a classic by Rudyard Kipling given a more mature and modern make-over. The original 1967 animation plays fast and lose with the original story with this newer version a much truer retelling though retaining some of the more iconic songs and elements from the animation which helps to lighten the mood and, perhaps, make it more acceptable for younger viewers. If anything I can see this is a bit of a confusion on the part of the filmmakers - Whether this is an adult, serious film or whether it is intended for children. For me, it leans heavily towards the serious but with enough lightness to make it not too depressing…

An enjoyable and amazing looking film.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-07-05

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Studio: Fairview Entertainment

Year: 2015

Length: 106 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films by Jon Favreau: