Visually arresting and far superior than it’s 1967 original
This movie truly is one of “The Bare Necessities” of 2016. It’s a movie that boasts the visual dazzle and emotional endurance, finally bringing life to Rudyard Kipling’s beloved novel. The film breaks new ground for live-action Disney features and breaks away from the fairy-princess stories with which young children have been inundated, even though children may get unnerved by the haunting CG effects.
An all-star cast joins forces to bring this classic adaptation to life. Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a man-cub that has lived in the jungle all his life amongst a pack of wolves and is mentored by his panther friend Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) is suddenly given a rude awakening when the treacherous Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who threatens to kill the out-of-place man-cub, for fear that he will grow older and threaten the tiger’s existence and, not to mention, Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) the gigantic python who also tries to kill Mowgli and King Louie (Christopher Walken), a gigantopithecus who offers protection to Mowgli from Shere Khan in exchange for the mystifying “red flower” and who could forget about the perfectly cast Bill Murray as Baloo the bear that brings new life to the song “The Bear Necessities”.
It’s hard not to enjoy this movie from its stunning CGI to its wonderful voice cast. However, that does not make it bereft of errors. The kids that grew up with “The Jungle Book” of 1967 might have thought the script would be more closely related to that animated version and less scary for younger audiences, but that was not the case. For example, Kaa’s role was dramatically shortened from secondary antagonist to making a brief appearance in one scene. King Louie, the massive, gargantuan ape is miscast and played by the old and less-than-lively Christopher Walken. If Jon Favreau wanted to make the creature more intimidating on screen, he should have paired the bandar-log beast with someone whose voice screams intimidation.
Overall, it has more energy than it’s 1967 animated counterpart and is surrounded by convincing CGI that frightens and dazzles at the same time. Children and adults, alike will enjoy this mammoth-sized thrill-ride. Trusssssst in me.
4 out of 5 stars