After a busy day at work, last Friday my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of going to watch the new Jungle Book and it was fantastic.
I was impressed with all the trailers and clips that were shown in the lead up to its release but there was always something in the back of my mind that made me worry it was going to be below par but I was wrong, completely wrong.
The 1967 original played a pretty big part in my life growing up as I’m sure it did for a lot of you guys. The songs and the characters are so memorable and the relationships that man and animal formed were great to watch, even though it was a cartoon.
First off, a quick recap of the story. A young boy, Mowgli is raised by animals and wanted dead by Shere Khan, king of the jungle. So in order to avoid becoming dinner, Mowgli sets off to find a village and live with his own kind, until he meets Baloo.
There has been some amazing CGI over the past few years but none come close to this. I have never seen anything on this scale and it is beyond impressive. I found it hard to believe that those were not real animals as the detail of them were out of this world. Even if you don’t like The Jungle Book, the animation alone is worth the price of admission.
It had a pretty impressive voice cast. Giancarlo Esposito and Lupita Nyong’o as Akela and Raksha, are the wolves who raised Mowgli as one of their own. Akela was a hard but loving wolf who lead the pack. The mother, Raksha loved Mowgli as one of her own, maybe even more so because he was so different.
Ben Kingsley as Bagheera was a great choice. His soft but stern voice fitted perfectly for the black panther who volunteers to take Mowgli to the man village.
Bill Murray voiced everyone’s favourite bear Baloo. I don’t feel like he was the fun loving Baloo from the cartoon, but he still won everyone over and was great comic relief as things were getting darker.
One of the best Disney villains villains, Shere Khan voiced by one of my favourite actors, Idris Elba. If I’m honest, it wasn’t the best pairing and I thought that whenever he spoke, I could tell Idris was in a recording booth and not in the jungle but maybe that’s just me being picky.
Another legend, Christopher Walken was the voice of larger than life King Louie. This is a vastly different Louie compared to the film and I’d go as far to say that he was rather scary but still awesome to see.
Scarlett Johansson voiced Kaa, the hypnotising snake, which was a much smaller part than I anticipated and also fell into the same bracket of Idris in that I could tell she was in a booth.
The only on-screen human, Mowgli, is played by Neel Sethi. You’d think this being his first major movie would show but he was a huge success. Having to film the majority of the film in front of a green screen would take its toll on most actors but he made it look simple.
Jon Favreau directed and has added another fine film to his CV. One of the cool things about the film is how he made certain aspects of it seem bigger (the perfect example being King Louie) because we’re seeing it from a child’s point of view. He is becoming one of my favourites both on and off screen and everything of his which I’ve seen is brilliant. I highly recommend the film Chef as one of his other hits.
Out of all Disney’s ever increasing list of remakes this is by far the best. It has so much heart and as I mentioned at the beginning, the animation is breath-taking. The story is slightly different than the one from the cartoon but only just. It will make you laugh, cry, dance in your seat and stare in amazement at what you see on screen.
This gets a 4 out of 5 from me. I loved everything about it but I just felt that an inclusion of a song didn’t quite fit the bill and also a couple of the voices didn’t sound of the highest quality for my liking. That being said, you should definitely all go and watch it and it will bring back great memories of the original as a child and I can guarantee you will be walking out humming or possibly singing along to one certain song.
Thanks for reading.