Cert: PG Runtime: 105 mins Director: Jon Favreau Cast: Neel Sethi, Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken
I am Mowgli, and this is my home!
First of all I will admit the first trailer for The Jungle Book didn’t catch my eye. Once reviews and general feedback came out The Jungle Book had to be watched. Jon Favreau is a great film director off the back of Chef I did have hopes for The Jungle Book. With a stellar cast behind it what is this re-telling about? Orphaned ‘man cub’ Mowgli (Neel Sethi) has been raised by wolves Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) and Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) deep within the Indian jungle. However, Mowgli’s life is threatened by ferocious, man-eating tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba). With the help of jaguar mentor Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and loyal bear Baloo (Bill Murray), Mowgli must discover the strength to embrace his destiny and stand up to the fearsome Khan once and for all.
As dear the 1976 version is to me Jon Favreau’s version is just heart-warming and fantastic. Favreau can work the camera in ways that many directors can barely dream of, and his work with CG is wonderful. He does such a great job with The Jungle Book, and really lets the audience know that he poured his heart and soul into his work with this film. The CG is as great as Gravity and far more superior to Avatar. When filming this movie, the only real actor was Neel Sethi, a little child actor that was in a green room the entire time, reciting his lines to tennis balls on sticks, and there isn’t a single shot where it doesn’t pay off.
Neel Sethi. Now, this kid could’ve been a silly and ridiculous edition to the film, and could’ve done really bad, especially when delivering his performance in a green room. Neel Sethi delivered a great performance, his eyes do move a lot sometimes. Obviously that is a minor flaw! Especially taking into consideration that every character he interacted with in the movie wasn’t really there. Bill Murray as Baloo was a perfect casting choice, and he played the character flawlessly. Ben Kingsley as Bagheera was another amazing casting choice, and he exceeded all expectations I had for his character. Idris Elba as Shere Khan was great, and he brought a tone of intimidation to the character that not many actors couldn’t have done. Christopher Walken as King Louie was an excellent choice, and he played the character with a darkness to him, which I really enjoyed.
There were more than a few suspenseful scenes, and they were all written with a lot of tension building them up. The banter between the characters, particularly involving Baloo’s conversations, was fantastic. All of the actors’ lines were written and delivered excellently. The dark tone to the movie was a great addition, bringing the film slightly away from the original tone of the 1967 animated version, which was a great contrast to see on the big screen. Although The Jungle Book jumps right into the action, which I loved, there was a particular scene, the one involving Kaa hypnotizing Mowgli, that was one of the most exposition heavy scenes in the past couple of years. Rather than slowly giving the audience exposition, the script shoves it down your throat in that single scene. However, it was just in that one scene, which was a very lucky save.Overall, The Jungle Book was fantastic. Anybody should see it, because both adults and children will enjoy it. It’s one of, if not the, best live action adaptations of an older Disney movie.