The Jungle Book is the next instalment in the growing list of Disney live action remakes that have so far turned out to be relatively alright at best. This is by far the best of the bunch as it gives us something that adopts a slightly more serious and modern tone but still sticks to some of the qualities that made the Disney Classic so beloved. Going into the film, the most impressive aspect that i was looking forward to the most was seeing, or hearing the fantastic cast in action. Having Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlet Johannson, and Christopher Walken cast as the characters we love is enough to get me looking forward to the film. Some fit more than others but overall, the talent paid off. Even though it is a ‘live action’ adaptation, only like 5% of the film at the most is real, the rest is all done through some of the most impressive CGI i have ever seen. That is a testament to young Neil Sethi’s ability to act, as it was essentially him in a green room talking and interacting with nothing.
The overall plot of the film stays very faithful to the original film with changes here and there that are both better and worse, but it’s what you expect from these adaptations. The action scenes are great and really get you more and more excited to see what happens next. They got you invested into these completely CGI animals and you understand their emotions and relationships with each other as if it is done with performance capture. They conveyed themes of love and fear in the characters really well, and it really is those two themes that drive the plot and character development of the film forward.
HOLD ON – ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Trailer just dropped, ill be back in 15 to finish this off….. priorities.
In terms of the characters, i thought the film captured their personalities and attitudes almost perfectly. Bill Murray as Baloo was perfect, he was just as fun and entertaining to watch as his animated counterpart, and completely stole all scenes he was in. Idris Elba as Shere Khan was menacing and was a real force to be reckoned with in this film, you felt that he was the most feared tiger in the jungle. Ben Kingsley was also the best fit for Bagheera as he nailed the very wise and intelligent personality, and was just a really cool character. Neil Sethi as Mowgli was fantastic, especially for his first acting role, the way he managed to show chemistry between him and those non-existent characters so well is something many experienced actors still struggle to do, so i can see him improving and getting more roles in the future. Just the chemistry and relationships between Mowgli and Baloo, Mowgli and Bagheera, and Mowgli and Raksha made many moments of the film so much more entertaining and impactful.
Christopher Walken as King Louie was overall pretty good, i didn’t mind hearing his voice as the famous Orangutang/Gigantopithecus. There are some issues with his scene that ill get into in a bit. But by far the most underused character was Scarlet Johansson’s Kaa, who to be honest may as well have not been in the film at all. She shows up for 5 minutes max and makes no impact on the main plot, it was a disappointing use of a great character. The film did delve into some humorous exchanges between the characters especially with Mowgli and Baloo, and it helped to lighten the mood at times which helped me stay interested.
A very minor issue i had was that there were some early moments where the film i felt could have been moving along a little quicker, it only lasted like 5 minutes max each time, but it could have been handled better. And my major gripe with the film was notably the scene with Mowgli and King Louie. The film tried to throw ‘I wanna be like you’ into this scene and it really didn’t work, like at all, kinda ruined the entire sequence for me. It was almost as bad as characters in 2015’s ‘Pan’ singing Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’ out of fucking no-where. It took me out of the film completely and should have been left out.
But overall i had a lot of fun with this film. It was exciting, emotional, adventurous and it had a solid plot, great characters and performances, and unbelievably perfect use of CGI. It really is a lot of fun and you should go see it this weekend, well worth it.