The Jungle Book: Film Review

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I groaned when The Jungle Book was announced and didn’t feel any hype when the trailer came out. I just didn’t want this beloved tale to be rebooted and I am very against an overreliance on CGI. But I was wrong. The effects capabilities here are beyond anything I have ever seen before – the animals and locations are so realistic and this is the first film since Avatar were 3D actually made a difference. I loved it wholeheartedly.

The film is slightly different to the 1967 animated original but it still follows man cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) and his exploits in the jungle. He is raised by wolves and looked after by panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) after Shere Khan (Idris Elba) kills his father. The villainous tiger now wants Mowgli dead so Bagheera takes the boy on a journey to the Man Village, but on the way he bumps into Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), Baloo (Bill Murray) and King Louie (Christopher Walken).

The Jungle Book is perfectly cast. Newcomer Sethi is brilliant – cheeky, fearless , and with a captivating onscreen presence. He is the only actual human being in the film and to think he was acting against different objects entirely is impressive. All the other voice actors embodied their characters so well, although my personal favourite was Bill Murray but that’s cos I bloody love Bill Murray. I must also mention Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha – she is the emotional heart of film (besides Mowgli) as his wolf mother.

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It is also stunning. I couldn’t identify one flaw with the CGI. All the animals are CGI and the whole of jungle was recreated digitally – I want to watch a making of documentary to see what Sethi actually had to work with. I couldn’t tell if portions of the jungle were sets or CG – and that is a testament to how amazing the effects are. Every little detail, down to animal fur and to animal movement is so realistic – the technology was mindblowing. The 3D was well used for the depth of the jungle. It is the best digital world since Avatar and I was so impressed by it.

This is definitely darker than I remember the original being. I haven’t seen it in years but there is certainly more death and Kaa is actually terrifying. Seeing the snake come at you from Mowgli’s point of view was scary even for me! It also has a different ending and something to say about men bringing fire into the jungle. It is also no longer a musical but some of the songs are included in a natural way, while the others are used in an incredible credits sequence, which I urged you to stay for. It is very different but recreating the same thing in the exact same way would be silly and I don’t think modern young audiences would appreciate it.

I found no faults with The Jungle Book. Sethi was incredible, the voice actors were perfectly cast and the setting was extraordinary. I’m not afraid to admit I had tears in my eyes at points because I was feeling so nostalgic and happy that director Jon Favreau didn’t mess it up.

In cinemas Friday 15th May

Trackbacks

  1. […] just a shame that everything is so obviously CGI. I do have an issue with this but the recent Jungle Book movie changed my mind because it was done so well. Here, they are aiming for fantastical, not […]

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