Back at it again, Disney
Sticking with their most recent trend, Disney has yet again remade another original animated classic into a live action feature – but I’m not complaining. The Jungle Book follows Mowgli, a “man-cub” that lives among the wolves in the jungle. After being threatened by the all-powerful tiger, Shere Khan, Mowgli is forced into leaving his founded home, and is pushed towards living within the human civilization. In an industry full of remakes, prequels, and sequels, it can be tiring to see the same story over and over again. But director Jon Favreau creates a world so captivating, that we forget Mowgli’s story has already been told.
Holy Animals, Mowgli
The biggest improvement from the 1967 original, and by far the most impressive part of the film, is The Jungle Book’s use of CGI. It is simply amazing to see the amount of detail and preciseness that went into bringing the animals to life and creating an authentic jungle setting. At certain points in the movie some of the animals, such as the wolves, looked real enough to reach out and touch. It is clear that a multitude of time was spent focusing on the various movements these animals make, creating the most authentic simulation possible. If you have the chance to see the film in IMAX 3D, I highly recommend paying the difference.
More than the Bare Necessities
In addition to the wildly realistic CGI, The Jungle Book features one of the most diverse and all-star cast. With big names like Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Lupita Nyong’o (Raksha), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), and Bill Murray (Baloo) it is hard to go wrong. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to hear Bill Murray sing ‘The Bare Necessities?’ But sometimes it’s nerve racking to have so many famous people being one movie, because often times they turn out to be complete rubbish. Thankfully, every performance in the movie delivers and lives up to our standards of each actor. However, I argue that the real star of the film is the only real human seen on screen – Neel Sethi. Only twelve years old, Sethi was made to act on a set that included nobody but himself, as all his costars were added in post-production. Although he stumbles on delivery a bit, it’s his first major role, so we’ll let this one slide, kid.
I can honestly say that I thoroughly liked this movie from start to finish. The Jungle Book is well acted, strongly voiced over, and magnificently animated, pulling all the elements together to create an enjoyable journey. While this movie is only rated PG, there were many times that I felt myself squirming in my seat, knowing that something is going to startle me (a feeling even recent horror movies fail to evoke). I’d say: go buy the ticket to this one, as it is best experienced on the big screen.
Words by Thomas DeVito