Film Review: The Jungle Book

April 16th, 2016 | by Jordan Samuel
Review of: The Jungle Book
Price:
Exotic

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 16, 2016
Last modified:April 18, 2016

Summary:

The Jungle Book is not only an immaculate adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book, but a delicious cinematic adventure.

The live-action retelling of a classic Disney tale The Jungle Book releases this week, and our Lead Film Critic Jordan Samuel brings us the official ComiConverse review.

Believe it or not Disney’s original Jungle Book was the first animated movie I saw in the cinema. The movie blended musical numbers into the magical story and it literally blew me away at the age of 8, starting my love for the animated studio. I vividly remember my Baloo soft toy that was with me for many years.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Sadly the DVD sequels never delved into the world enough for me to relive the feeling the original gave me. When it was announced in 2013 that Walt Disney was going to reboot the series in as live action films, my face lit up. 2016 is a big year for Disney because with Captain America: Civil War and Star Wars prequels releasing, the time is right for the studio to revive a classic story.

Many people have been wondering why Disney would reboot a classical movie. In the case of The Jungle Book it is mainly due to the original being so high-regarded.

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don’t have his best interests at heart.

IMDB

Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken

Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directs the live-action reboot, which could set up future installments. This is a massive task because modernizing a classic is hard business – you can end up alienating previous generations for a new fan base. Favreau does well with this grand reimagining of the animated original. It feels like a perfect mix of old and new with modern day CGI effects taking over from the 2D animation used in the original.

Story continues below

Featuring some masterful CGI, the film takes the world from Rudyard Kipling’s book and transforms it into a Hollywood blockbuster. Jon Favreau’s action chops from Iron Man translate here with the finale of the film taking everything up a notch. The cinematography used is quite gorgeous.

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

Mowgli feels right at home with the wolves, and tigers. Ten-year-old Neel Sethi plays this films updated version Mowgli the “man-cub” lost in the Indian jungle, and raised by a wolf pack. Sethi is in his element here, and provides the best on screen adaptation of the character – he is confused and venerable.

Jon Favreau does a brilliant job making Sethi comfortable interacting with the other cast members, which elevates the performances. It is hard to believe that Sethi was isolated from most of the cast while filming. This only proves how committed Favreau was to getting the animals interactions with Mowgli right. The young man-cub steals the show throughout the entire movie, with each sequence that revolves around him hitting the heartstrings.

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

What is the Jungle Book without Baloo? In this adaptation he is voiced by Bill Murray, and he nails the role. He represents what Baloo is: cute, cuddly and charming perfectly.

For a totally vocal role, Bill Murray does an amazing job at bringing the classical character to the big screen. The booming voice he holds lends itself to young Sethi feeling more like a brotherly relationship which is a nice spin on things. I also thought his singing of “The Bare Necessities” with Mwogli, was done right for the adaptation. Hopefully Murray will return for the proposed sequel, because I enjoyed his portrayal on Baloo immensely

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

Bagheera is played by the famous Ben Kingsley, and he was just what I expected. Wise, cunning, and bold and mostly there to protect Mwogli from everything. Ben yet again kills the role. The posh English accent works in his favor here.

Ben is another strong casting choice, who pays off embodying the all knowing father figure.

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

Lupita Nyong’o is Rekesha, a wolf who swears to protect Mowgli, but her character is sidelined through much of the film. Lupita’s voice works in the role but it is unfortunate that we hardly see her in the 2 hour run time. Her voice has a nice tint to it similar to what she did with her role as Maz Katana in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She makes Rekesha feel the oldest in the pack. I hope in the sequel that we see more off the character, because the potential is there for some great moments.

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

Scarlett Johansson, plays Kaa the snake, who mentors the young cub. She delivers a very creepy performance that frightened and surprised. I can see kids being afraid of her character, but thankfully we do get some more reasonable scenes for the audience later in the movie.

Kaa is wise and strong which makes her teachings for Mowgli crucial to character development and will follow in the next outing.

Story continues below

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

Christopher Walken plays King Louie, who is a rare Gigantopithecus. The character is more toned down that the original version which mixed in many over the top racial stereotypes. He still preforms his iconic song with gusto. With him not being in the book, it was quite interesting to see how they injected him into the story. Growing up I always fond the King annoying and unnecessary to the plot but this movie actually made me like the character

Mainly this was due to Walken’s voice which felt very realistic for the King. I hope we see more of him in the sequel because he deserves more screen time.

Jungle Book

Credit: Disney Pictures

Idris Elba is the villainous Sheer Khan. The evil tiger is after Mowgli. This character always scared me growing up and little has changed with this reboot.

He is dark and brooding, and the voice of Elba suits him well. His performance is the main reason I feel this movie hit me so hard. Sheer Khan is a well realized antagonist and Favreau brings him to the highest level. The dialogue between him and Mowgli feels real, which makes him more threatening. With Elba’s voice sounding like an instrument the threat of the tiger is real.

The connection between the cast members is extraordinary and adds to the feeling of immersion. Favreau is known for making characters feel alive with emotionally driven storylines and that proves true in The Jungle Book – each animal has a different personality.

The Jungle Book is an experience like no other with the spirit from the books translated perfectly to screen. This adaptation might not be as child-friendly as the original, but times have changed and Favreau was the right choice to revisit the series.

Before Disney’s main action thriller Captain America: Civil War releases, take your kids to see this beautifully crafted adventure.

The Jungle Book is not only an immaculate adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book, but a delicious cinematic adventure.

Jordan Samuel is Lead Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanESamuel

The Jungle Book
  • 5

Exotic

The Jungle Book is not only an immaculate adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book, but a delicious cinematic adventure.

(Visited 221 times, 1 visits today)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This