Disney has produced another live-action adaptation of their beloved animated classics, this time ‘The Jungle Book’ gets the treatment. Currently, Disney’s track record with live-action adaptations recently have been harder to predict if they will be any good or not, with the misfires of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Maleficent’, and the solid work being last year’s entertaining ‘Cinderella’, will ‘The Jungle Book’ be a faithful, yet different take on the story like ‘Cinderella’, or will be an original take on a well-known world like ‘Maleficent’ or ‘Alice’? Let’s discuss.
The film follows the smallest wolf, and man cub, Mowgli as he is raised by a pack of wolves who have adopted him as one of their children. However, during one of the jungle’s driest periods ever, the animals follow a water truce to have access to the watery hole for all animals to enjoy. Although, this is short-lived with the disturbance of a tiger named Shere Khan who has had a troubling past with humans and wants to hunt down Mowgli. It’s up to Bagheera to take Mowgli back to the man village. It’s basically like the animated film, with a few differences here and there.
‘The Jungle Book’ is a very eye pleasing and gorgeous movie to behold. The visual effects are top-notch, making the animals look very believable and natural, despite being artificial thanks to being computer generated imagery. I thought I was watching a movie that the filmmakers trained the animals to behave. It is that real, and getting to point of what’s real (sets) and what isn’t (the animals). This may go down as the best visuals for a film of the year. It’s hard to even compete against it.
Mowgli is perfectly cast, and while there is some slight over acting, you know what, Neel Sethi has done an impeccable job bringing Mowgli to life, as he offered some of the humour, but because he is the only human present in the film, he gives the audience some emotional weight and someone you care for and want to succeed. Although, the animals around him are computer generated, Neel Sethi did an incredible job interacting with the animals, and even brings some chemistry when Baloo is introduced in the film. The voice cast is mostly perfect, with a few odd choices like Scarlett Johansson as Kaa. However, while the cast did a good job voicing their respectable animal role, Bill Murray and Idris Elba stole the show as they brought the right amount of humour and fun (Baloo) and the right balance of tension and frights (Shere Khan).
While the film is really entertaining and has a lot of fun, there are claws present. While “The Bare Necessities” was a good fit, being a song that two friends are happily singing together, “I Wan’na Be Like You” was a very odd inclusion, being a real musical number, and doesn’t mesh with the film’s tone. Also, the film is very slow paced at times.
‘The Jungle Book’ is faithful enough, but yet also adding something new to the table, being a well-crafted film with some nice direction, a good cast, a tremendous score and beautiful visual effects.
‘The Jungle Book’ is a perfect film for the whole family to enjoy.