The Jungle Book (2016) review

Marcus Gutierrez, Film Reviewer

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  • Rated PG: for sequences of scary action and peril
  • Running time: 1 hour and 51 minutes
  • Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o, and Neel Sethi as Mowgli
  • Directed by: Jon Favreau

 

 

After the critical flop of Maleficent, and the mixed reviews of Cinderella, Disney has yet to put out anything thing from their animated department into live action. Until the director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau, steps into the shoes of Disney Company and took his shot at a live action version of Rudyard Kipling’s classic story, The Jungle Book.

While this movie is bent on making money for Disney to hold people over until Captain America: Civil War, Disney’s live action Jungle Book was also a competition with another studios. With Warner Brothers studios still against Disney in proving their superior superheroes with D.C. comics against their Marvel comic, Warner Brothers also plans to copy Disney and release their own darker version of the Jungle Book—that has been said to be closer to the Rudyard Kipling’s book—called The Jungle Book: Origins, set to star Andy Serkis.

 

The story centers on the man-cub, Mowgli (Sethi), who is ordered to be sent to the man-village where he would be safe from the clutches of a menacing tiger, Shere Khan (Elba). Escorted along with a black panther named Bagheera (Kingsley), the race is on to get Mowgli home safe. Along the way, they are met with a Kaa, the snake (Johansson), Baloo, the bear (Murray) and King Louis (Walken).

 

While filmed entirely in CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), the sets and location of the jungle look very real. Even the animals were animated pretty well, perfect even. There is attention to detail in the jungle to make it feel like nowhere anyone has ever been to before or ever.

The voice acting is especially superb. With a star studded cast of colorful characters, the movie keeps audiences from being bored by their performance, the actions they give, as well as their movement are very animal-like. Special criticism goes to Neel Sethi who plays an impressive Mowgli. Where child actors today aren’t that perfect, and are few and far between exceptional, Neel Sethi comes close, his emotions and voice are real, every action he has on screen is real, and he takes his role very seriously, especially when he’s the only human who has to act in front of nothing, and use his imagination.

The action in the movie is outstanding. While it is a Disney movie, they don’t attempt to sugar coat the imagery. When time gets tough, they show how tough they are. And when someone dies or gets hurt, you feel how hard that pain they feel is. Some of the humor, as well, is subtle, enough to warrant a chuckle out of any audience who sees it.

All in all, Disney’s live-action Jungle Book is fun, imaginative, and suspenseful. It knows when to take advantages of its surroundings, its humor, and it characters. It may not be perfect, but it’s not supposed to be, it’s supposed to be a fun, thrill ride of imagination and excitement. Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book is rated 8/10: Amazing.

 

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