Jungle Book Review – A Visual Masterpiece
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Staring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o
Writers: Justin Marks (screenplay), Rudyard Kipling (book)
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Synopsis: The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don’t have his best interests at heart.
When I heard that a Jungle Book remake was happening all I could think of was the racist, goofy, 1960’s Disney cartoon movie. When I walked out the theater all I could think of was Disney is not playing fair anymore. This remake took you through a journey of a man-cub who was left in the jungle as an infant and raised by a wolf pac. This film had some of the best visual effects I have ever seen on the big screen and the acting was powerful and real. If there is anyone out there that thinks this is “just a kids film” you are mistaken, the great “kids” movies are both good for kids and adults alike. This film is entertaining for people 4-80. You will walk out the theater mesmerized by the visuals and inspired by the story.
The Jungle Was Real
As great as the acting is (and its great) as you watch this film you will be distracted by how beautiful and real this world looks. The depth perception, the insects, the leaves blowing in the wind, the waterfalls and especially the animals all look amazing. This film was mostly CG and it must have took years to develop this. The last time the standard was set on visual perfection was Avatar and this film will set a new level of excellence.
Even more than the jungle itself was the animals. In the cartoon, the animals looked human like in an animals body. This film the animals looked and acted like real animals, but somehow showed human emotion in animal faces. Shere Khan and Kaa were terrifying, Baloo was carefree and happy, Bagheera was wise and regal and all these traits not only came through the voiceovers from the actors but the facial expressions and body language sucked you into the moment and makes you think at least for 100 or so minutes that you are in this jungle and its all real.
Neel Sethi is a Star in the Making
Neel Sethi’s portrayal of Mowgli was inspiring and amazing especially given the fact that he essentially filmed this entire movie by himself. He was really the only human in this movie and most of the parts of the animals were recored off set. In the original Jungle Book animated film Mowgli was a buffoon, a jungle boy stereotype that had no exceptional skills and even less common sense and courage. This version was a self sufficient survivor, who overcomes his fears and goes against the grain to live in the jungle amongst the animals as appose to man. Sethi was able to convey these emotions while keeping the innocence of a young boy whose only life he knows is the one in the jungle. The screenplay was set around his strengths and he is poised to become a star and I expect to see him in many more films including a Jungle Book sequel.